Until last fall, Boris Johnson, just like Trump, was also accused of helping destroy his country’s position and status in the world. He was chided for prioritising his narrow political ambition over sacred national interest and the welfare of his constituents . . . The coronavirus pandemic started a race to the bottom among the world’s populist leaders. A little over six months into that race, the partial results are out. And Britain’s Johnson has fared better than most of his fellow populists. After initial blunders, Johnson got his act together, and unlike Trump in the US, he has actually managed to bring the pandemic under control in the UK.
It’s hardly surprising to hear that Farage is interested in helping out. Along with the Denmark, Poland, the Netherlands and – risibly – Ireland, Italy is a country he’s mentioned repeatedly as being prime for the ‘next Brexit’. Until recently, the polls were firmly against him, with the Italian research institute Censis reporting late last year that only 25% believed leaving the EU was a good idea against 62% who thought it a bad idea. But the union’s muddled response has been another silver lining from coronavirus for Farage; in April a Tecnè poll put the numbers at an uncomfortable 51%-49% in favour of Remain.