By Tim Graham ~
The new July 11 edition of People magazine set a side a page for “The Man Behind Brexit,” former London mayor Boris Johnson, the “Donald Trump doppelganger.” The photo makes Boris look like a boozy bumpkin (or Trumpkin).
According to People writer Simon Perry, his Trumpesque tactic is fear-mongering: “Johnson, 52, shares more than just a hairstyle with America’s presumptive Republican nominee. Like Trump he stokes nationalist sentiment and fear of open immigration.”
Like Trump, “he’s angling to run things” as Prime Minister. (Since the magazine’s press time, he withdrew from the race on Thursday.)
“He wants the very, very top job,” says biographer Sonia Purnell. Johnson has always been more calculating and striving than his rumpled exterior suggests. Born in New York to English parents — a Conservative pol father and a painter mother — he went to Eton and studied classics at Oxford. It was as a Brussels-based journalist that he began mocking the EU — with its open borders and free trade — arguing later as a member of Parliament that Britain should puts Brits first.
This means he’s striking a pose when he advocates for the common man. Some people call that a politician. This is terrific when you’re a socialist like a Roosevelt or a Rockefeller, but when you’re conservative, it’s cynical and calculating. Having intellectual capabilities is seen as something you have to hide for the “working class.” The article concluded with a metaphor of Boris as glass-breaking political vandal:
The father of four with second wife Marina Wheeler crafted a colorful man-of-the-people image — from pedaling a bike around town (rentals were called Boris Bikes) to leading a gay-pride march in a pink Stetson. Says Purnell: “Boris is from a posh background and can recite Latin tracts, but that can be threatening. So he disguised it with messing up his hair and wearing scruffy suits.”
Whether his embrace of disorder will propel him to greater power is anyone’s guess. “He has said he likes throwing rocks into the greenhouse and seeing the glass shatter,” says Purnell. “That’s happened now — big time.”
That’s not exactly an accurate quote. As New York Times reporter Sarah Lyall presented it in a sneering editorial disguised as a “memo,” he was describing his time in Belgium as a Euro-skeptical journalist: “Everything I wrote from Brussels, I found was sort of chucking these rocks over the garden wall and I listened to this amazing crash from the greenhouse next door over in England as everything I wrote from Brussels was having this amazing, explosive effect on the Tory party, and it really gave me this I suppose rather weird sense of power.”
People implies Purnell is an objective expert they found, even if her quotes give her away. Here’s her new slashing attack in the leftist Guardian newspaper: “Boris Johnson peddled lies, half-truths and evasions. Now he’s paid the price. It’s not surprising Johnson hasn’t entered the race for No 10. But until now he’s covered his tracks with bluster and buffoonery.”