Boris incites NO ‘Fear’….
But a LOT of noise….
The headline on the cover of Germany’s Stern magazine this week under a photograph of a surprised-looking Boris Johnson captured the sentiment across the European Union that the new prime minister has built his career on seeking to undermine…
While Americans seem unsure what to make of the new British prime minister (“He’s known for making very funny, highly literate, very smart speeches,” a correspondent for U.S. National Public Radio explained to listeners Tuesday, adding that he went to Eton and Oxford and is “absolutely one of Britain’s elite”), Europeans have no illusions about who Johnson really is.
Across the Continent, the reaction to his ascension to the U.K.’s highest political office has been marked more by gallows humor than genuine concern about what his tenure might bring. From Brussels to Berlin, everyone seems to have a personal “best of Boris” list.
There was that time he got fired from the Times for making up a quote about Edward II’s purported pubescent lover. And how about the piece he wrote in the Telegraph a few years later (“Italy fails to measure up on condoms”) in which he falsely claimed that Rome had tried to convince the EU to revise its rules on condoms to accommodate smaller penises? Remember that video of Johnson lunging headlong into the privates of former German national football player Maurizio Gaudino during a charity match?
Even in a political landscape accustomed to the likes of Silvio Berlusconi and Viktor Orbán, Johnson’s outrageous style and Conwayesque relationship with facts make him stick out like his trademark cowlick. But as he showed during his campaign to become prime minister, whether by using a vacuum-packed “kipper” as a stage prop or guzzling beer, Johnson is more than happy to be seen as a clown.
His biggest challenge in dealing with the EU in the coming weeks and months will be to prove there’s more in his repertoire….