‘Vain, fickle, hypocritical’: how Europe sees Boris Johnson after the party | Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson’s appearance at a Downing Street party during lockdown could spell his downfall, European media have concluded, painting a devastating picture of a ‘conceited, fickle and hypocritical opportunist’ with an ‘elastic relationship to the truth’ who has never “played at being”. Prime Minister”.
Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung said in a blunt editorial that it was “never only a matter of time” before the British prime minister was on public display as an emperor without clothes.
“Boris Johnson never really changed,” the newspaper said. “He has always been a seducer and a loudmouth. Always lied when it’s in his interest. He is the great illusionist of British politics. Johnson’s “remorseful confession” and “submissive contrition” would do little to change things, according to the newspaper.
He may have ‘passed himself off as Churchill’ and looked like the ‘savior of the kingdom’ after his election victory in 2019, but unlike his historical hero, ‘Johnson himself led Britain into crisis existential, for which he bears full responsibility.
“He has not renounced his frivolous and unserious nature. His inconstancy is revealed in the lack of strategy of his government. Snobbery explains his disinterest in the state of the country. Boris Johnson does not govern, he plays at Prime Minister.
Another German newspaper, Die Welt, said few options remained open. With polls showing 66% of voters want him to quit, Johnson “could resign voluntarily and immediately, as the three opposition leaders have urged him to do. But that has never happened in the British parliamentary history.
He intended to await the outcome of the official inquiry, the newspaper said, and assured the Commons on Wednesday that he would accept its conclusion. If Sue Gray’s verdict allowed, however, the Prime Minister would likely try to hang on.
“But it won’t be easy,” the newspaper said. “The public opinion that there is ‘one rule for those up there and another for everyone else’ has taken hold.” Johnson may even have to run before local elections: ‘Partygate has made the Joker a burden’.
Handelsblatt, another German publication, agreed. “Johnson has weathered many storms,” he said. “But this time, it looks bad. Even if the investigation exonerates him, he has difficult weeks ahead of him: galloping inflation, crisis in the cost of living… His overthrow seems likely before May.
For Le Monde, the past few months have proven “calamitous” for a “clumsy politician” whose faults – “opportunism, lack of thoroughness, elastic relationship to the truth” – that everyone seemed ready to forgive, until now .
The Prime Minister’s fall in popularity has been “so brutal that his immediate future appears threatened”, according to the newspaper, with many Tory MPs “now doubting his ability to lead the party to a fourth consecutive victory” and the right-wing press turning on him.
“Johnson should not be underestimated: he has political flair, charisma and, so far, he has been very lucky,” the newspaper said. But if he survives partygate, he still has to act on the cost of living, and “satisfy impatient Brexiters with more than pipe dreams”.
After ousting the party’s ‘most reasonable members’, Johnson, caught between ‘a young guard demanding more public spending on the underprivileged and Thatcher supporters avoiding state intervention’, no longer has conservative support. moderate, he said.
For Liberation too, “the time of arrogant victories, electoral landslides and spicy slogans is over. Two and a half years after his election, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is up against the wall. The party is over – and so are the jokes.
After multiple previous revelations, the “spring aperitif” in full confinement could prove fatal, according to the French newspaper. During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Tory MPs said little about the scandal – ‘but behind the thick curtains of tea rooms things are moving’.
Spain’s El País said the prime minister’s ability to surprise “has a lot to do with how he eschews conventional thinking. He does what no one would expect and acts as if he is exempt from the rules that apply to other mortals,” the newspaper said.
“Until Wednesday, when he had no choice but to take the obvious course and apologize.” Typically, however, even his apology was “an attempt to cover his back”, the newspaper said: “He admitted his presence – but said he thought it was a business meeting.”
In the Netherlands, NRC Handelsblad said the scandal was “just one of many difficult developments Johnson has to deal with”, citing soaring costs of living due to “inflation, high prices of energy and the negative consequences of Brexit”.
Add to that the upcoming tax and Social Security hike in April and despite Johnson’s “proven ability to get out of a tough spot like no one else,” his prospects for survival look slim, “especially when 65 % of the electorate consider him incompetent”.
De Volksrant said that “Johnson’s clownish appearance belies a man long engaged in a ruthless race to the top – but who needs to be loved. That may explain why he couldn’t say no to a drink with his staff.
It is not the voters or the opposition who could unseat Johnson this time, the Dutch newspaper said, but his own party. “Very popular at the time of his electoral victory, he has since made enemies in his own circle. This disgust becomes dangerous when the Prime Minister’s popularity with voters drops.