Boris Johnson blusters and squirms as he’s asked whether Joe Biden is ‘woke’

Boris Johnson squirms in a suit

British prime minister Boris Johnson blustered Wednesday (21 January) as he said there’s “nothing wrong with being woke” but it is “important to stick up for your history”.

In a rambling interview that came in parallel to Joe Biden‘s slick-speaking swearing-in speech, the Conservative Party leader declined to comment on whether the US president is “woke”.

He told Sky News‘ Sam Coates: “What I know is that he’s a firm believer in the transatlantic alliance and that’s a great thing.

“There’s nothing wrong with being woke but what I can tell you is that I think it’s very, very important for everybody to…

“I certainly put myself in the category of people who believe that it’s important to stick up for your history, your traditions and your values, the things you believe in.”

Boris Johnson says ‘there’s nothing wrong with being woke’. His own party may disagree

The premier’s remarks came after a senior politician in the opposition party described US president Joe Biden as a “woke guy” in a recent interview.

Speaking to The Guardian, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy suggested that Biden’s progressive stances could offer the party an electoral blueprint to success in the 2024 general election.

“Joe Biden, he’s a woke guy,” she said, “he appointed an amazingly strong woman of colour who is also pro-choice as his running mate.

“He mentioned the trans community in his victory speech, he stood up for the Black Lives Matter protesters, he spoke out about the policing of that movement, and he’s never shied away from standing up for his values.

US president Joe Biden, who has aligned himself with movements such as Black Lives Matter and trans rights, was dubbed a ‘woke guy’ by a senior British politician. (Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images)

“People know exactly who he is. And he equally won’t be diverted off course when he wants to talk about the economy, when he wants to talk about COVID.”

While the Labour Party’s own relationship with trans rights remains roiled, Nandy accused Johnson of “managing to trash” Britain’s reputation as a values-driven nation.

Indeed, the ruling party’s relationship to the term “woke” is one defined by ministers often hurling it in efforts to drive a wedge between people and ignite culture wars. While Johnson himself is very much un-woke, with his troubling track record of racist and homophobic remarks in his writing.

Only days ago did communities secretary Robert Jenrick take aim at “town hall militants and woke worthies”, the London Economic reported, after the Tories proposed new legislation to safeguard, er, inanimate statues in the middle of a pandemic killing thousands daily.

As Britain continues to grapple with its brutal, lucrative history of slavery in Africa, tensions have flared among those such as Jenrick who describe acknowledging the wrongdoings of certain historical figures, such as by removing statues in their honour, as an attempt to edit and censor history itself.

Meanwhile, Johnson weathered seething criticism during the 2019 general election for his long list of barbed comments made in his journalistic career, which included the phrase “tank-topped bum boys”. A comment he refused to apologise for when pressed by PinkNews.