Boris Johnson celebrates his 60th birthday: is he planning a comeback?

Boris Johnson celebrates his 60th birthday: is he planning a comeback?
Boris Johnson celebrates his 60th birthday: is he planning a comeback?

Boris Johnson has repeatedly caused scandals throughout his career. Today, June 19, the former Prime Minister of Great Britain turns 60.

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (60) is considered one of the most dazzling and polarizing figures in the international political landscape. While his supporters see him as an exceptionally unconventional and humorous talent who takes matters into his own hands with targeted pragmatism, his opponents condemn him as a ruthless populist who made it to the top with deliberate untruths.

The fact that Johnson had to vacate his post as Prime Minister on September 6, 2022, following a vote of no confidence from his own party in the wake of the so-called “Partygate” affair, which involved secretly held parties in his official residence during the Corona lockdown, fits the picture perfectly for his critics.

Populist warm-up phase in journalism

Even before his career took him to the highest political office, the politician and publicist, born Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson in New York City on June 19, 1964, repeatedly caused controversy and scandals. According to reports, Johnson was fired at his first job as a journalist, during an internship at the “Times”, because he falsified a quote.

During his time as Brussels correspondent for the British Daily Telegraph from 1989 to 1994, he is said to have fabricated reports about absurd EU regulations in order to stir up the mood among the conservative paper’s readers, according to rumors. Even as the later editor of the conservative weekly The Spectator, he repeatedly caused scandals with his sensationalist columns. For example, in 2004 he accused Liverpool football fans of being partly to blame for the Hillsborough disaster of 1989, a serious spectator accident at Sheffield’s Hillsborough Stadium that left 97 people dead, or in 2006 he claimed that the people of Papua New Guinea were known for cannibalism.

Rise to political stardom as London’s mayor

Boris Johnson held his first major political position as Mayor of London between 2008 and 2016. During this time, the Tory politician, now affectionately known as “BoJo” by the tabloid press, gained considerable popular support with his down-to-earth projects, such as the modernization of public transport with new double-decker buses, electronic ticketing systems and programs to promote cycling.

But even in this position, he did not seem to be able to completely shake off his tendency to twist facts in his favor. He caused a scandal, for example, when he claimed that the number of police officers had increased under his leadership, when in fact it had decreased.

Brexit supporter Boris Johnson

Johnson’s most serious lies occurred in the context of the “Vote Leave” campaign in the run-up to the EU referendum in 2016. As one of the most prominent supporters of leaving the EU, he drove around the country for weeks in a red bus to drum up support for the so-called “Brexit”. The sides of the bus were emblazoned with the claim – which newspaper reports later proved to be completely fabricated – that Great Britain was paying 350 million pounds to the EU every week, which would be much better used to finance the ailing health system.

Even after his resignation as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, who according to media reports is currently devoting himself to book projects and is said to be a speaker for large sums of money, seems to have lost none of his populist bite. Shortly before the British general election on July 4, 2024, in which the incumbent Tory government led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (44) faces a devastating defeat according to current polls, he is firing on all cylinders against the social democratic Labour Party of Keir Starmer (61) on Platform X and in his weekly column for the “Daily Mail”.

Is Johnson planning a political comeback?

While the former Prime Minister is predicting nothing less than the end of the world (“Starmergeddon”) if the Labour Party wins, he is using unconventional language to stoke fears about the consequences of a Tories election defeat. He writes: “Sir Keir Schnorrer plans to sneak into No. 10 as quietly as Larry the Cat – and then lock us back up in the Brussels dungeon like an egg-chewing cripple.”

It is still unclear whether Boris Johnson could attempt a comeback if his party were to lose the election. In any case, the voices within the Conservative Party, which are committed to reviving their former star under the slogan “Bring back Boris”, are becoming louder and louder.

Source: Stern

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