I Am Not Boris
Leading Brexiteers, starting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, have sought to portray Greece's former finance minister as one of their own. And while they clearly know better, they must be delighted that many Remainers have embraced the same lazy analogy.
ATHENS – Ever since Boris Johnson moved into 10 Downing Street vowing to renegotiate the United Kingdom’s withdrawal agreement with the European Union, the conventional wisdom among many Brexit opponents has been that the UK’s new prime minister is “doing a Varoufakis” and will be crushed in similar fashion.
The BBC’s Katya Adler reported from Brussels that EU officials spoke of “Varoufakis the sequel” – namely, “‘lots of pointless meetings’ with Prime Minister Johnson – as they believe was the case with Greece’s controversial finance minister at the height of the Greek debt crisis.” Lord Adonis, a former Labour transport secretary and schools minister, added to the comparison his admiration for Germany’s Chancellor: “[Angela] Merkel is treating Britain like Greece and Johnson like Varoufakis,” he tweeted.
Johnson must be greatly amused by all this. He knows that in the run-up to the June 2016 Brexit referendum, we were in opposing camps. While he was touring Britain in his infamous bus leading the Leave campaign, I was running up and down the UK alongside politicians like Labour’s John McDonnell and the Greens’ Caroline Lucas, calling on voters to resist the Brexit sirens.
We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.
To continue reading, subscribe now.
Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.
Already have an account or want to create one to read two commentaries for free? Log in