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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Rule-breaker Boris Johnson meets his opponent at the Patigate?

LONDON. For Boris Johnson, facts have always been flexible.

The career of the British Prime Minister is replete with fake quotes, tall tales, exaggerations and untruths. When called out to him, he usually shrugs or grins apologetically and moves on. Many were ready to forgive him.

At least until now. Revelations that the prime minister and his staff were partying while the UK was under coronavirus lockdown sparked public outrage and prompted many in the Conservative Party to consider firing their leader.

Johnson was chosen by the Conservatives because his image as a buoyant rule-breaker—a rebellious schoolboy in British politics—gave him a rare ability to connect with voters. Now many have changed their minds.

“His fans would say he’s a force of nature – he doesn’t let things get in his way,” said Stephen Fielding, professor of political history at the University of Nottingham.

“Sometimes he got caught, but mostly he got away with it,” Fielding added. “Now the reality is becoming more and more obvious to more and more people.”

Johnson often managed to find a way out of the crisis. The Oxford-educated politician used words to create an image of a disheveled prankster with a shock of blond hair who doesn’t take himself too seriously. Wits and jokes burst out of him, sometimes in Latin or ancient Greek.

This image made Johnson a popular guest on the comedy TV show I’ve Got News for You from the late 1990s and brought him worldwide fame as an avid mayor of London between 2008 and 2016.

Many people thought he was too lightweight to be prime minister, and Johnson didn’t mind. He masked his ambitions with jokes, saying that he had as much chance of becoming prime minister as of “finding Elvis on Mars” or “reincarnating as an olive tree.”

In fact, he had long dreamed of power. His sister Rachel Johnson said that as a child he dreamed of becoming “the king of the world”. But his path to the top was accidental.

As a young journalist for The Times of London, he fabricated a quote about King Edward II from a historian who also happens to be his godfather. He was fired, but that didn’t stop him from becoming the Brussels correspondent for the Daily Telegraph in the early 1990s, publishing exaggerated stories about EU extravagance and bureaucracy. These “Euromyths” about universal condoms and plans to ban “flexible bananas” helped turn British opinion against the bloc and ultimately led to Johnson becoming the Brexit champion that would take the UK out of the EU years later.

Brexit was won in the 2016 referendum campaign, which contained many dubious allegations, notably the allegation often repeated by Johnson that the UK was giving £350m a week to the EU, which could have been spent on British health care instead.

Johnson suffered an early political setback when then Conservative leader Michael Howard fired him in 2004 for lying about an extramarital affair. A month earlier, Howard forced him to apologize to the city of Liverpool for accusing its residents of being “mired” in the guise of a victim.

Opponents have long argued that Johnson’s casual grasp of facts – and a history of outright offensive comments – made him unfit for office. Over the years, Johnson has called Papua New Guineans cannibals, argued that Barack Obama’s “half-Kenyan” has a hereditary dislike of Britain, and compared veil-wearing Muslim women to “mailboxes.”

Johnson usually dismissed offensive comments as jokes or accused journalists of manipulating long-standing remarks. Attacking the media – along with “left London lawyers” – has been Johnson’s longtime populist tactic. His biographer Andrew Gimson called him “the prime minister of merry England” who portrays his opponents as joyless puritans.

Now, however, Johnson’s allies fear the tide has changed. Johnson apologized for the quarantine-breaking parties in uncharacteristically restrained and carefully worded statements. He did not admit to personal wrongdoing, stating that he believed he acted within the rules.

But many Britons who adhered to the government’s quarantine rules – cut off from friends and family, unable to visit relatives in nursing homes and hospitals – ridiculed Johnson’s “party” excuses, including his claim that he thought he “brought own”. the garden party was a work event.

Chris Curtis, head of political polling at Opinium Research, said public confidence in the prime minister had plummeted and Johnson’s personal approval ratings were now “pretty terrible.”

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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