Even we Germans think Boris Johnson is a spiffing winner… if anyone is entitled to a lengthy stay in Downing Street, it’s him, writes ALEXANDER VON SCHOENBURG
Please forgive me, a foreigner, for weighing in on the heated debate over your Prime Minister but – Donner und Blitz! – what are you thinking?
In Boris Johnson, you have a man who has done your country an enormous service.
Not only did he pull off the historic achievement of Brexit but – free of the shackles of Brussels – had your doctors and healthcare workers delivering Covid jabs to the population weeks before the rest of Europe.
And having won the war on the virus, he’s now winning the peace, with Britain’s economy pulling ahead of its European competitors as we begin to shake off this dreadful pandemic.
In the circumstances, if anyone is entitled to a lengthy stay in Downing Street, it’s Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.
In Boris Johnson, you have a man who has done your country an enormous service. Not only did he pull off the historic achievement of Brexit but – free of the shackles of Brussels – had your doctors and healthcare workers delivering Covid jabs to the population weeks before the rest of Europe
But instead of erecting statues to him, renaming boulevards in his honour and generally celebrating his all-round spiffingness, you appear to be about to depose him.
I wouldn’t mind if he had nullified his earlier triumphs by throwing babies from the top of tall buildings or boasting about his love of the Bee Gees.
But he hasn’t; he’s merely admitted to spending 25 minutes in his garden when some of his thirstier colleagues had decided it was a shame to waste such a lovely day slaving over their files inside.
I think it is about time for you – and especially those whingeing infants who only got their Red Wall seats thanks to Boris – to let go of petty debates over who had a drink and nibbles where, and who paid for what wallpaper, and turn your attention to real politics.
Boris is an entertainer with a can-do attitude. He may not be able to afford a comb, but cometh the hour, cometh the man and when it matters, as a statesman, he is unrivalled. The approach Boris took to Brussels was a far cry from the wet-blanket strategies employed by Theresa May and her team of nobodies.
Alongside his formidable Brexit negotiator David Frost, he wiped the floor with Michel Barnier, the EU’s smarmy chief negotiator, with a little help – it has to be said – from his German friends.
We Krauts were very keen on a Brexit deal, for two main reasons. First, we stood to lose a lot more than you, as our business sector, particularly the automobile industry, relies heavily on exports to the UK. Second, we didn’t want the EU to sever its ties with the second-biggest economy in Europe.
Yes, yes, he broke the rules while the rest of you were obeying them. I understand. I know you Brits are obsessed with fairness. It’s a very likeable character trait
Luckily, your people did an excellent job and we all walked away from the potential nightmare scenario with a sigh of relief.
So, from an outsider’s point of view, I’ll say it again: it is inconceivable to me that Boris is at risk of being kicked out.
Yes, yes, he broke the rules while the rest of you were obeying them. I understand. I know you Brits are obsessed with fairness. It’s a very likeable character trait.
But you should not blame Boris for his apparent breaches of strict rules imposed at the height of lockdown. After all, they were forced on him by the peculiar circumstances of the time and the box-ticking mandarins and stern-faced scientists who surrounded him.
But in my world at least, it’s not a hanging offence to break a rule here and there. Maybe it was the absurdly strict nature of the edicts that persuaded so many in No 10 to defy them.
Having a drink outdoors for 25 minutes is not something worth destroying anyone’s career over – let alone that of a political leader who has achieved so much.
So, from an outsider’s point of view, I’ll say it again: it is inconceivable to me that Boris is at risk of being kicked out
The gravest threat posed by the Covid crisis is no longer the virus itself but the danger of all of us turning into deputy sheriffs, ever eager to oversee the next person’s behaviour and actions.
Can you please go back to talking about policies, about ideas, about visions of the future of your great country. And be a little more lenient with the more eccentric types among you.
I don’t want to make a direct comparison with Churchill, but think how long someone like Winston – with his brandies at breakfast, champagne sharpeners and non-stop cigar-smoking – would have survived in this deplorably unforgiving day and age.
As the 13th-century Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas said: ‘Justice without mercy is cruelty.’ Have mercy on Boris, I beg of you.