On 16 September, Johnson was due to give a press conference with Luxembourg’s prime minister Xavier Bettel. But Johnson failed to show up. He claimed the no-show was because:
there was clearly going to be a lot of noise and our points would have been drowned out.
Reportedly, a crowd had gathered shouting and booing the UK prime minister. Earlier in the day, Johnson was also jeered following a meeting with EU president Jean-Claude Juncker.
Unfazed by this, as the EU Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt wryly noted, Bettel still showed up:
From Incredible Hulk to Incredible Sulk pic.twitter.com/15x1Kd9FX7
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— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) September 16, 2019
But Kuenssberg stepped in to defend Johnson:
Whatever side you are on, having been outside the presser that never happened, it would have been total pandemonium if it had gone ahead – protesters were shouting and chanting as loudly as they could within metres of the podiums
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) September 16, 2019
So people swiftly challenged Kuenssberg’s defence:
He could have led laura.
He could have listened laura.
He could by strength of personality quietened the crowd.
You could have filtered the audio.
He could be brave.
— Far Centre Watch 🎪#FPHD #FBPE #FSFA (@Moogthurso) September 17, 2019
Yet the right-wing press wasn’t far behind in defending Johnson:
The state of these.
— I Am Incorrigible FCA MAAT (@ImIncorrigible) September 16, 2019
And as another BBC journalist noted, protests didn’t stop other Conservative prime ministers:
Boris Johnson skips a press conference because of a demo. I once watched Margaret Thatcher land in Zambia, charge down the aircraft steps in the dark into the middle of a hostile crowd & give an impromptu presser even though she'd been told people might throw acid at her.
— John Simpson (@JohnSimpsonNews) September 16, 2019
“Brave sir Boris ran away”
Elsewhere, people’s response to Johnson’s no-show has been quite simply delicious. In his short time in office, the PM’s set himself up for some perfect takedowns.
In July, crowds in Scotland shouted “wanker” as Johnson met SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon. Instead of facing them again, he snuck out of Bute House via the back door. In a recent interview with the Mail on Sunday, Johnson referred to himself as the ‘Incredible Hulk‘. Meanwhile, right-wing papers labelled Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn a “chicken“.
So Twitter turned on Johnson and the hashtags #BackDoorBoris #IncredibleSulk and #ChickenJohnson started trending:
From ‘The Incredible Hulk’ to ‘The Invisible Man’ . . . Boris Johnson hiding from reality yet again!
More like where is #Sulk
Regardless he can't take the heat
Remember Bute House
Don't forget the #BackDoorBoris Stunt
— Facebook.com/groups/4575411 be uncensored scotl (@cookiris14) September 16, 2019
People defending the Prime Minister today don't believe their own words.
You can see it in their eyes.
You can hear it in their voices.
You and read it in their tone.
They are embarrassed too.
— Political Motivation ⚫ (@Margin4Error) September 16, 2019
Brave Sir Boris ran away
Bravely ran away away
Protestors shouted for his head
He bravely turned his tail and fled
Yes Brave Sir Boris turned about
And gallantly he chickened out
Swiftly taking to his feet
He beat a very brave retreat
Bravest of the Brave Sir Boris #BackDoorBoris pic.twitter.com/wxpqbMwUQR
— FemShep (@carleyd79) September 16, 2019
As some noted, Johnson also failed to show up to debates during the Conservative leadership contest:
Are you proud Conservative Party members? You were warned.
— Gayle Letherby 🌹 #JC4PM2019 (@gletherby) September 17, 2019
Others, meanwhile, took aim at his Conservative cronies:
— HOOP #ElectChris4NatSec (@HOOP_hawns_aff) September 16, 2019
Johnson’s behaviour creates perfect fodder for satire and full-scale piss-taking. But behind this, let’s not forget that he’s appointed a terrifyingly right-wing government, closed parliament at a crucial time and is marching the UK ever closer to a disastrous no-deal Brexit. So when the supposedly impartial Kuenssberg steps up to defend Johnson’s inability to attend a simple press conference, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. Because it simply reflects the state we’re in.
Featured image via YouTube – Guardian News
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