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Johnson does not seem to grasp that it takes a mind with a rare degree of finesse to be able to combine humour and diplomacy.’ [Image: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images].

Johnson does not seem to grasp that it takes a mind with a rare degree of finesse to be able to combine humour and diplomacy.’ [Image: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images].


It’s a serious question, even though the article that has prompted it deserves quoting in depth for the amusement it provides in assassinating the character of Mr Johnson.

He was appointed as Foreign Secretary by Theresa May, even though we all knew he would make a spectacular dog’s breakfast of negotiating Brexit with the other EU countries.

If we knew it, Mrs May must have known it. So why did she appoint him to the job?

Did she secretly want him to fail, and the UK to suffer as a result?

Or is she simply incompetent?

Find someone who supports the Conservative Party and get them to choose.

Britain can be proud of itself. Once again, it had already shown the world the way. In propelling Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage to triumph on 23 June, it demonstrated well before 8 November that Donald Trump was nothing new.

In fact foolishness, vulgarity, inconsistency and irresponsibility seem actually to be British inventions that have been painstakingly copied – once more – by the Americans.

The age of such drab characters as Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron is over. No more, it appears, must we suffer leaders equipped with a brain and a sense of the common interest. The hour of the political clown has come.

In a few short weeks, Boris Johnson… has succeeded in squandering what little sympathy and understanding was left in Europe for a Great Britain embroiled in the mess of this referendum.

It is quite some diplomatic achievement to have succeeded in uniting, as never before, the 27 remaining members of the European Union – including Germany and the Netherlands – who are all now firmly together in deciding to do the UK no favours whatsoever.

Johnson has deeply annoyed his continental partners by displaying, firstly, his complete ignorance of the union (perhaps not altogether surprising if you knew him as a “journalist” in Brussels, as I did). According to his very personal interpretation of the European treaties, it is “bollocks” to say that the four fundamental freedoms (free movement of people, goods, services and capital) are inseparable.

Nevertheless, Johnson repeats his mantra ad infinitum: he is right, and the others are all wrong. The problem, however, is that at the end of the day it is the others who will decide. And if you want something from someone, it is generally wiser to avoid telling them they are an idiot.

But the foreign secretary adds clumsiness to ignorance. Johnson … does not seem to grasp that it takes a mind with a rare degree of finesse to be able to combine humour and diplomacy.

His quip that the Italians would sell less prosecco to Britain if the UK was not able to stay in the single market not only created a diplomatic incident, but underlined the obvious weakness of the British argument: if the EU risks losing access to a market of 64 million Brits, Britain will lose access to a market of 440 million Europeans.

A famous French screenwriter Michel Audiard coined a phrase in the early 1960s that applies perfectly to Johnson: “Les cons, ça ose tout, c’est même à ça qu’on les reconnaît.” This means, roughly: “Fools” (to choose a relatively inoffensive rendering) “will try anything – that’s how you know they’re fools.”

Source: Boris Johnson is a clown who has united the EU against Britain | Jean Quatremer | Opinion | The Guardian

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