In the 20th century, “Boris” signified the vodka-powered Yeltsin — “100 proof, 100 per cent in control”, as a cartoon of the era defined the bad-tempered child of perestroika. Exactly two decades after Yeltsin bowed out of office with approval ratings much lower than lunar gravity, allowing Vladimir Putin to become Russian president and prime minister (alternately) for life, “Boris” means Johnson. Of the persistently blond Johnson family, Britain’s answer to the clan Kardashian.
Tory and Whig, Unionist and Green, the gamut of the UK political leadership is secretly of one compact — that Boris grasping the sceptre of the Sceptred Isle at this juncture is simply dreadful. It is so bad that people are wistfully recalling Theresa May, who was being derided just weeks ago. So very bad that if Johnson persists in pushing through a painful no-deal Brexit when the deadline expires in October, his colleagues may pray QEII, to whom the sceptre actually belongs, requests Brussels for another extension. And in the melee, the Scots could finally make a successful bid for freedom.
Johnson’s track record is fairly awful. He was sacked within months of being hired by the London Times, for misquoting and getting his history wrong. His stint as Brussels correspondent of the Daily Telegraph was remarkable only for sparking off a wave of nastily jocular Euroscepticism. The European commissioners he left behind in Brussels hold him in low esteem. But in an age of dangerous comedians (like the other blond across the Big Water) this is not a disqualification. Even his adversaries admit he has an innate capacity for lightening the air. And even his hordes of supporters admit that he fibs a lot. Boris is a fib too. Boris is not his first name. It’s Alexander.