France, where people still take Boris Johnson seriously

Boris Johnson’s party conference speech on Monday has had the British press in stitches these past 24 hours, but with so many jokes to choose from, they seem to have overlooked a jibe targeting French President François Hollande, who was labelled France’s “biggest tyrant since the revolution”.

 

Not so in France, where the comment was taken very seriously indeed. Remember when Johnson first appeared on the political scene and we didn’t know whether to laugh or cry? Well, it's still the case in France. Only there’s no British sense of humour here, so most people are forced to settle for the crying option.

 

Dismissed as a Francophobe who didn’t know his history in the French press, the tubby bikeophile received an even nastier drubbing on the message boards and the Twittersphere.

 

Johnson made the remark during members’ talks at the annual Tory (Conservative) party conference in Birmingham. The subject of David Cameron’s open invitation to French citizens came up. (In June, Cameron said he would “lay out the red carpet” for talented French people wishing to escape newly elected Hollande’s tax-happy government.) Johnson, who is not only a skilled lefty-basher but also a seasoned France-basher, willingly obliged. ‘Allons enfants de la patrie’, he began – the opening lines of the French national anthem – “We say to the people, not since 1789 has there been such tyranny in France. I am very keen to welcome talented French people to London.

 

For those who have never heard of Johnson or his infamous funny-man acts, they might have thought he was unfairly picking on Hollande. Well, he was. But he had just come from a speech when he picked on his own party leader, David Cameron, by calling him a broom. He also picked on fellow Tories George Osborne “the dustpan”, Michael Gove “the J-cloth” and William Hague “the sponge” (the chancellor of the exchequer, education minister and foreign secretary, respectively). And that’s not to mention opposition leader Ed Miliband and his shadow chancellor Ed Balls (“the two Eds”), who received a far gruffer rubbing-down.

 

Johnson is like the school bully that laughs everyone into submission. Unfortunately, standing up to him only makes the French look over-sensitive. Instead, they should learn from David Cameron. Even when your colleague/ rival/ potential successor is making a fool out of you, the only way to retain some dignity, is to laugh along.

 

Watch and learn, Mr Hollande…
 

 

 

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18 Comments
the world expects the president like George W Bush. of USA
He cannot afford to criticize Holland but he could learn a great deal from him but it cannot ever happen because he lacks any sense of value. He owes no responsibility to those aspiring idealists who voted him into power. He is an "out of control" self publicist who manipulates the media. However, in keeping with the evolving conservative leadership history, just look at it, he is very likely to succeed. God help you all ! As for British humour, he sadly only represents "England" do not ever mistake him for British !
The comments on this blog only serve to remind us all how thin-skinned so many French are. This is a blog, and the tone of the posting is totally appropriate. If your media people were not in bed (literally!) with those in power, you may even have a free press!
Whilst I agree that Boris doesn't even get taken seriously in his own home, his words go against the British sense of decency - he represents neither me nor the vast majority of the thinking public over here.
Who is this fat tub of sh_t? Tell him to lay off the fish and chips.
BJ is an educated idiot and a product of a greed ridden, priveleged bubble known as london, a city which has very little in common with the rest of the uk. As an Englishman he embarasses me more than a football hooligan, it scares me to think that the same priveged people he represents could make him PM-
@Vikram "Everything he says is done in a manner that makes him sound like he's quoting Homer - but with a twinkle in his eye." Thank you Vikram, for an elegant repost.
To 1moregeorge - what a naive idea that your richest citizens are your most productive. Not at all the case that they are the meanest, most mercenary, open to exploiting underlings? Funny that all the most successful businessmen are also the best educated and most privileged. How productive of them to have come from the womb of a rich and privileged lady!
Why can't France see reality. A 75 percent tax rate on your most productive citizens is tyranny . Here in the U.S. we are fighting the same kind of tyrant now we call him Ovomit . We love our freedom and will fight to the death to protect it.
Rayallot, your comment just shows how little you understand les Rosbifs. Getting upset is really counter productive and perhaps it would be better to consider what your man of the people is doing for the People of France. The speech was full of digs at all and sundry and in these dark days one needs something to laugrm?3h about
How ridiculous the conservative party in the UK is. Their austerity program has failed in every way but they are too stupid to learn from their mistakes. It will be years before they return to prosperity because they refuse to give up their ideological beliefs which have proven to be false in the face of reality. Fairy tales in the UK.
rayallott - you really need to read the article - especially the last paragraph. Getting in a huff over comments made by Boris reflects badly on you rather than Boris. You need to find another approach. Everything he says is done in a manner that makes him sound like he's quoting Homer - but with a twinkle in his eye.
The man is an idiot. The sad thing is - he will probably be the next Conservative leader and possibly even Prime Minister. We're doomed
Ms. Pilgrim, after reading several of your articles you come across as a true Francophobe. It is bizarre isn't it, given your position as a journalist of France24. You are always sarcastic, bordering on impolite, implying various imagined malices the French people possess. In all, a very British point of view, that of narrow-minded stereotype-loaded, all-for-laughs irreverent person. I don't mean to attack you personally but this style just seems to me improper on France 24. You'd be better suited in Daily Mail. Pity that you don't find anything positive and even in a positive situation you tend to emphasize negative points. What is your objective, one might ask...
While I agree there's not a lot of point taking umbrage at comments from a self-styled oaf like Boris, I think you're being a little hard on the French in general and French socialists in particular. If I were French, I would be pissed off, in particular if I were a socialist. The matey, back-slapping Boris taking a gentle swipe at the PM at his own party conference in mock retaliation for the PM calling him a "blond-haired mop" and then Boris saying in the same breath what a wonderful job the PM in his role as the "broom" is doing of clearing up the mess left by the Labour government is nothing like his attack on Hollande whose tax policy he compares to "la tyrannie" and "la terreur" of the French revolution. Just because he's a big buffoon who's sometimes funny, it doesn't mean he's always funny or always right (even though he's always very much on the right).
It's certainly good advice to laugh along with Johnson because to take offence is simply to expose your quite serious misunderstanding of English humour. The analogies of mop, dust pan, etc are metaphors for the cleanup after the left had made such an astonishing shambles of the economy and by association the same can (he feels) be laid at the door of Hollande who is in the process of making a similar shambles of France's economy and, as during the revolution, taking actions that will contribute to a brain drain at best and a disaster at worst You need to remember that on top of all this Hollande's word is suspect in the UK too. He publicly gave Cameron a commitment that his taxation proposals would not affect British owners of property in France yet he is (currently) being seen to have reneged on that. Not the sort of action that will ever endear a person to the British. On every front Hollande appears duplicitous - something that was very evident during the revolution. Is it any wonder that Boris says what he does?
Hilarious video clip:) Boris always brings near tears to my eyes, the twat he it.
What an arrogant buffoon this joke of a man is. How dare he make such comments about someone who cares for the welfare of the French people. All Johnson is concerned about is being in line with his greedy profiteering partners in welfare crime Cameron and Clegg et al.