After a month of Franco-British naval conflict, Brexit barbs and, most importantly, the release of Michael Barnier’s diaries, one might expect Boris Johnson’s stock in France to be low. For a certain kind of #FPBE bien-pensant, Johnson represents all that the continent should hate: British belligerence, slapdash scruff and Little Englander jingoism.
Yet polling reveals that 51 per cent of the French public hold a ‘positive opinion’ of Boris Johnson, making him more popular in France than he is in Britain — and 11 points ahead of Emmanuel Macron.
Perhaps this should come as no surprise in a country whose love of liberality is so prominent, where politicians’ infidelity is almost part of the job description and where the passions are thought to be what should drive politics. Johnson seems to represent the French joie de vivre far more intensely than any other world leader, let alone Macron.
As the French presidential election approaches and voters dread the sterility of another Macron vs Le Pen contest, perhaps our own Prime Minister could make a tilt for the Élysée Palace...