I SEE that senior EU official Jean-Claude Juncker has accused Boris Johnson of feeding British people unreal stories about the EU. This is true but demands an important qualification. Boris Johnson himself is an unreal story.
Nothing about him, from that intentionally mussed-up hair to the ‘characterful’ bumbling, is real. It’s all a made-up story to charm us into thinking that scheming, plotting and inconstant man is the cheery avuncular figure we so love from his occasional TV appearances and faux-clumsy publicity stunts on the television news.
And he gets away with it. The reason for this is that most politicians are boring beyond words. Or if they’re not they pretend to be. Being a politician is like trying to talk while carrying a tray of eggs across a minefield. Put one foot wrong and you’ve had it. And got egg on your face.
As it happens, Jean-Claude Juncker sounds like the action hero of a second-rate Hollywood movie. Maybe that’s because his name sounds a little like Jean-Claude Van Damme. That’s where the resemblance ends by the way.
Jean-Claude (the boring EU one, not the hammy Belgian beefcake one) thinks Boris Johnson should return to Brussels and see how it all works nowadays.
But why would be do that? The pretend Brussels suits him far too well. Making up all sorts of nonsense about Europe has been his knockabout trade since his days as a journalist in the city. When his imaginative reporting gave birth to assorted EU myths that squirreled into the British brain and have ever since refused to leave.
Many of his fellow Tories don’t even believe Boris really wants to quit Europe at all. It’s all a bit of an act. What he really wants is to lead his party. And if Remain wins by a squeak, David Cameron will be victorious but weak. Giving Boris a chance to put No 10 Downing Street on his sat-nav. That’s if he knows how to use one.
Jean-Claude Juncker also Tweeted to suggest that Boris Johnson ending up as prime minister would be a “horror scenario”. And Jean-Claude doesn’t even live here. Imagine how the rest of us feel.
But is it only Boris who is all made up? David Cameron’s old advisor Steve Hilton says Cameron would be all for Brexit if he weren’t prime minister. To which a prime ministerial spokes-lackey almost said: “This is nonsense – Mr Cameron is far too busy going round the country stirring up panic like a door-to-door gloom salesman.”
These prime ministerial set-pieces are laughably tailored to each audience. The latest one was to the offices of Saga, where funnily enough Cameron said pensions would be hit if we left Europe. Earlier he visited an airline and said holidays would be more expensive if we left.
Next he’ll be popping into an undertakers and saying that bodies will be walking the streets if we leave Europe.
At which juncture let’s turn to Nigel Farage. Can’t stand the sight of the man myself. Or a single thing he says. But at least you feel he believes all the rubbish he spouts. All that genuine UKIP claptrap comes right from his nicotine-stained heart.
As for the referendum, the chatter and splatter has been going on for weeks now. Many ordinary voters will probably still not have made up their minds. And more than a few will be thinking they’d like to be done with the whole quarrelsome business.
For rarely has such an important decision been beset by so much blather and bickering. It’s like one big advert for why people go off politics.