Linden Kemkaran

What is it about Boris Johnson that makes his critics so angry?

When I posted on Facebook a picture of me standing next to Boris Johnson, I expected a few likes and probably a few more harsh comments. What I didn’t anticipate were the hundreds of words of ranting vitriol posted by friends, some of whom I had known since school. My picture was harmless enough: a selfie, quickly snapped when Boris visited my hometown of Sevenoaks on Monday. It wasn’t a ringing endorsement, or even an approval of him. And it offered no comment on what he stands for. It was simply a picture of us squinting at the camera with the caption: “kicked off the week with this guy, our next PM to be?” The first few comments were along the lines of “Well, let’s hope your week improves!” and “Oh no, not you as well?”; people expressing that they didn’t think much of my choice of Monday morning companion, but with a laughing eye-roll attached to show no hard feelings were intended. But within a few hours, the Boris bashers moved in. These people questioned why an “intelligent person” like me would support someone like Boris. They said how “saddened beyond words” they were to see me “happily posting” pictures like this. Soon, the floodgates opened. More ‘friends’ – and I use the word cautiously, as some of them have since ‘unfriended’ me on Facebook, and have even cancelled future socials that were in the diary – piled in to tell me just how dreadful Boris is. Nothing they posted about Boris’s shortcomings was news to me, and I didn’t feel that I owed anyone an explanation or an apology. So I kept schtum. The same can’t be said for my mum, who is not a natural Tory voter. She logged on and waded into the argument, laying into my detractors and demanding evidence for their accusations of Boris as a bigot, charlatan and journalist-threatener, and challenging them on why they were attacking me just because I held different views to theirs.

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