Is Boris’ Name Really Mud?

The Twitter-headline roughly translates to “Piss off, Boris!” and the lead to this piece reads:

Boris Johnson, the face of the Brexit Campaign, develops into the most-hated man on the Island – since it is only now dawning on many Britons what he has made crumble away for them.

Boris Johnson is certainly the flamboyant target for hate among those on the Continent – most of us, in fact – for whom Brexit is an unalloyed blunder. But this piece by Thomas Hüetlin tries to make the case that his popularity is plummeting among UK voters as well.

It’s well-known that one voter whom he has lost is the famed chef/restaurant entrepreneur Jamie Oliver, who in a widely-shared Instagram post (scroll down to read), begged his fellow countrymen not to make Johnson the new Prime Minister. What is more:

London, the city that he ruled for eight years as Mayor, he can now only enter under strong police-protection. His bicycle, with which he used to love to ride to Town Hall, he now has to keep in the garage. “If we see him, we’ll knock him from that silly bicycle,” worked-up citizens said last weekend.

All that very well may be. You can check here the latest odds offered by the UK betting establishments as to whether he is to be the next Prime Minister or not; taking a look right now (i.e. around 13.30 hours CET on this date), some show him ahead, while others show Home Secretary Theresa May ahead. Hüetlin’s piece also does a rather good job of skewring the outright untruths in Johnson’s column yesterday for the Daily Telegraph, but that’s rather easy prey.

Yes, that “£350 million/week to the NHS rather than to Europe” pledge has turned out to be a lie – but people associate that much more with Nigel Farage, who pushed it more publicly during the Leave campaign. And yes, it seems some Leave voters are now regretting their decision, but so far those have occupied only the realm of anecdote, not data.

We’ve seen the TV reports about how Boris Johnson is currently unpopular in the city whose Mayor he used to be, but there are no doubt plenty of Leave fans out there in the English hinterland, and in Wales, who still think pretty well of him. You can’t help but think that this Spiegel piece falls into the same old trap of assuming that London is but a microcosm of the rest of the country – a delusion into which many analysts clearly fell during the whole Referendum campaign, and one which arose out of the political divide existing in Britain which the Referendum result did so much to reveal.

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