https://www.spiegel.de/international/eu ... 78073.htmlMad in Britain
How Boris Johnson Turned the British against Europe
Boris Johnson has always wanted to make it to the top, and he's almost there. The man who helped Brexit pass will now likely have the job of delivering it. But it's possible that even he doesn't know what he wants to do. Europe is in for a turbulent autumn.
Jörg Schindler, July 20, 2019
One day, Boris Johnson had the idea to build a luxuriant garden bridge in London. On another, he urgently pushed for an airport on an artificial island, mocked by detractors as "Boris Island." Once, he believed the time had come for a truly enormous construction that would connect England to Europe. And recently, he's been saying he would like to build a bridge connecting Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Johnson appears to dream of one day walking on water. For now, though, he simply wants to become Britain's next prime minister.
That's what brought him here to the seaside resort of Bournemouth in southern England. He ignores the thousands of Brits frolicking on the kilometer-long beach on this summer day, and instead marches straight into the Pavilion Theatre where the "Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club" regularly performs and the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar" will soon be staged. Around 600 members of the Conservative Party are sitting in the cream-colored theater and are currently in the process of electing a new leader -- who will also be Britain's next prime minister. There's not much excitement in the hall; the whole thing is more reminiscent of a funeral service than a coronation mass, though that probably has less to do with the desolate state of the Tories than with the advanced median age of the audience, which looks to be around 70.
The two top candidates each have one hour to charm their fellow party members in Bournemouth. Johnson gets to go first. Before the moderator has even finished speaking his name, the 55-year-old works his way around the stage set and marches forward with his bull-necked, compact posture, which always makes him look like a younger and blonder Winston Churchill. Then he rattles off witty remarks to the audience like volleys of gunfire. Are these dark times for the Tories? Yes, but "the night is darkest before dawn." Brexit? A piece of cake. All the doomsayers who warned of biblical droughts and skies without any airplanes didn't believe in the greatness of Great Britain. Boris Johnson says he will complete Britain's withdrawal from the EU "with style" and that he will no longer ask questions in Brussels, but instead dictate the way forward. "A little bit more resolve is necessary," he says. By this point, even the most elderly in the theater are cheering.
'Hunt Would Be More Competent, Boris More Amusing'
It's an entertaining and energetic performance, so very different from that of his challenger Jeremy Hunt, who has rolled his sleeves up to his elbow and memorized almost all the economic strongholds in southern England. But he manages only to gently lull his audience to sleep with facts and figures. Asked what his takeaway from Bournemouth is later, one conservative answers, "That Hunt would be the more competent prime minister, but that Boris would be more amusing." So, has Johnson's time finally come? Will this man who has had a role in shaping British politics for 30 years now be holding the keys to 10 Downing Street next Wednesday? It certainly seems so.
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson still has to keep his notorious penchant for self-destruction in check during the final dash. And he has to secure the majority of votes from the Tory Party, which has around 160,000 members. And if he does succeed, he will also have to convince Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II that more than half of the elected parliamentarians in the British House of Commons back him. Otherwise, she might refuse to appoint him. But even at this point, it's hard to imagine Johnson not becoming Britain's 77th prime minister. He's too far ahead in the polls not to win, with seven out of 10 Tories saying they want to vote for him. The man who loves writing about great Englishmen like Churchill and Shakespeare will soon have the chance to show whether he is built of the same stuff.