Boris Johnson has become the new prime minister of the UK. Standing outside Downing Street, he gave a speech filled with patriotic pronouncements and promised to defy “the doubters, the doomsters and the gloomsters” by completing the Brexit by 31 October. He also criticised Theresa May for failing to deliver the Brexit, stating that there had been “three years of unfounded self-doubt”.
As a Brexit supporter, the incoming PM of Britain had often used the example of Greece to argue that the UK could not accept the proposed Brexit deal offered by Theresa May and leave Britain as subservient to the EU while allowing Brussels to trash the British economy.
“The Greeks were forced, mainly by Angela Merkel of Germany, to accept an austerity regime of draconian budget cuts” which led to a “downwards cycle of economic decay”, he had said, adding that the situation would likely implode. “And in the meantime, the experience of Greece alone is a lesson in the absolute insanity of any country allowing itself to be bullied by EU negotiators.”
His sympathy for Greece extends to a love of Ancient Greek culture.
Johnson studied the Classics at university, brought Melina Mercouri to Oxford to address the Union on the subject of the Parthenon Marbles in 1986, and has boasted that he could recite from the heart the first hundred lines of Homer’s Iliad in ancient Greek.
His love affair with Greece has been well documented and his studies have ensured that his speeches are filled with references to ancient Greek figures.
In a feature in the Daily Mail in 2011, he praised ten Greek figures who he believed help form western civilisation (Homer, Hesiod, Archilochus, Sappho, Simonides, Pindar, Sophocles, Pericles, Plato and Aristotle). In 2015, he expressed awe for the Parthenon Marbles, stating: “When you go through the mind-blowing suite of the galleries in the British Museum, you can see humanity working its way up.”
He loves Greece and was spotted in Pelion in January 2019, and again last year. Nonetheless, despite his love for Greece and awe of the country’s culture, it is unlikely that he will work towards the reunification of the Parthenon sculptures, and in his usual contradictory style has said that the marbles were “rescued quite rightly” by Lord Elgin.