When passing a TV screen with BBC News reporting on the Cameron and Boris Johnson speeches on security, I asked a German friend last Monday, whether he believes that there will be a Brexit. He was convinced, that there will one. ‘How can Cameron put that there will be a WWIII?’ he asked. The fact was that Boris J.’s implied, that Cameron predicted this. In truth, the prime minister warned that peace was at risk. He never mentioned WWIII, but Johnson’s catchy phrase was in the headlines and Cameron’s rather nebulous argumentation lost out.
In the same speech, Boris did also show how much he loves Europe. He started to sing Beethoven’s ‘Ode and die Freude’ in German. I felt reminded that Europe’s history was full of politicians and aristocrats, who could communicate perfectly in the same language without interpreter (mostly French) and still it didn’t hinder them to let their armies fight against each other when it suited them.
It is well known that Boris J. decided to support leaving the EU to pursue his ambition to become the next prime minister. It is said, he had written two letters. One for remaining in Europe and one for leaving. His rhetorical antics are much loved. His jokes help him to pass half-truths. According to surveys, he is more trusted than Cameron. For years, he has tried to create an aura, where comparisons are made between him and Churchill. He has written a book about Churchill and yesterday he has taken it even further.
He’s compared the European Union with Napoleon’s and Hitler’s ambitions. At least he conceded that there are other methods of the EU, but then he implied (and he is a master in implying things) that this only helps Germany. In his own words: “The Italians, who used to be a great motor-manufacturing power, have been absolutely destroyed by the euro – as was intended by the Germans.” Apart from the fact that the Euro was not the big master plan initiated by the Germans, rather by France and Germany was by far not so healthy in the first years of the Euro, but undertook reforms to be competitive again, the anti-German sentiment behind the words is really concerning. This is even more worrying when he urges the British people to be “the heroes of Europe” again, set the country free and save the EU from itself by voting to leave in the referendum next month (www.telegraph.co.uk)
There can be only one lesson: Never trust a British politician who suddenly starts to sing in German.