Jean Quatremer in The Guardian:
Nevertheless, Johnson repeats his mantra ad infinitum: he is right, and the others are all wrong. The problem, however, is that at the end of the day it is the others who will decide. And if you want something from someone, it is generally wiser to avoid telling them they are an idiot.
But the foreign secretary adds clumsiness to ignorance. Johnson – who has, remember, written a biography of Winston Churchill – does not seem to grasp that it takes a mind with a rare degree of finesse to be able to combine humour and diplomacy.
His quip that the Italians would sell less prosecco to Britain if the UK was not able to stay in the single market not only created a diplomatic incident, but underlined the obvious weakness of the British argument: if the EU risks losing access to a market of 64 million Brits, Britain will lose access to a market of 440 million Europeans.
And last but not least, Johnson, who himself raised the spectre of hordes of Turkish citizens arriving in the UK if it stayed in the union, now steps up as as the most ardent defender there is of Ankara joining the EU – even if it reintroduces the death penalty.
“I can no longer respect this,” raged the normally placid Manfred Weber, leader of the conservative EPP group in the European parliament. “When you want to leave a club, you have no say anymore in the long-term future of this club.”
A famous French screenwriter Michel Audiard coined a phrase in the early 1960s that applies perfectly to Johnson: “Les cons, ça ose tout, c’est même à ça qu’on les reconnaît.” This means, roughly: “Fools” (to choose a relatively inoffensive rendering) “will try anything – that’s how you know they’re fools.”
It seems someone else has rumbled the ex-journalist and magical cake eater.