Breaking Brexit

Jun 27, 2016

"I'm just an American observer in all this, but... Boris 'lolnothingmatters' Johnson," tweets Financial Times social media editor Jake Grovum after reading prominent Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson's Telegraph editorial stating "I cannot stress too much that Britain is part of Europe - and always will be" (at 24,000+ confused shares so far).  "Apparently #BorisJohnson actually loves the EU. Who’s advising on single market access? Confusion, mixed messages," reacts writer Philippe Sands at UCL Laws

And they weren't the only ones not picking up what Johnson's putting down. "Boris: people didn't vote Leave because of immigration. They voted to take control of our democracy from EU. True?" wonders Chris Ship with ITV News. "Hard not to conclude from Boris column that he's frightened by what electorate think they've voted for," observes Jenni Russell for The Times, The Sunday Times and the Evening Standard. At Al Jazeera EnglishImtiaz Tyab calls Johnson's first post-Brexit column "So much B.S. written here you'll need to hold your nose while reading." Byline's Peter Jukes calls it, "Fake Churchillian bombast from wannabe PM @BorisJohnson Purple prose. Hollow rhetoric. And absolutely no plan. The Interpreter's Emma Connors introduces us to a new fun nickname in tweeting that it's "Bojo protesting too much." The Wall Street Journal's Yaroslav Trofimov similarly sums it up: "Do not panic, the pound remains higher than in 2013 or 2014, Boris writes. Yes, and 2+2=[unicorn emoji]." And Tina Brown goes so far as to call him a cunning clownAllegra Stratton at ITV News, however, finds some value in it: "Boris emphasises work on living wage + life chances. Which is smart. He needs to run as liberal lefty-ish Brexiteer."

In no uncertain terms, Brussels summarily rejected Johnson's "pipe dream" of single market access: "You cannot have your cake and eat it," retorts one EU diplomat, deliberating invoking an idiomatic expression often used by the former mayor of London. Echoing that, European officials told BuzzFeed News Johnson's post-Brexit wishlist was "delusional." "Boris Johnson promises access to EU's single market with none of its obligations," explains Mark Schoofs there. The fallout is widespread in a variety of ways, too -- from the economic (the UK has lost its top credit rating from ratings agency S&P) to the practical (EU just bid ‘au revoir" and ‘tschüss’ to the English language as Europe’s lingua franca). But FT's Gideon Rachman insists we don't really have to worry about all of this. "Here's @gideonrachman on why Brexit won't happen - or rather, will kind of happen, kind of not," historian Tom Holland tries to elaborate.

About the author

Writes the @MuckRackDaily & runs #muckedup chat. Creator of #100helpfuldays. I can haz media tips?

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