“Unfortunately, the U.K. is about to be completely fucked,” offered John Oliver.
The Last Week Tonight host was, of course, talking about Boris Johnson, the cartoonish, truth-averse new U.K. prime minister.
“Given that Britain’s new leader is a clownish figure with silly hair and a passing relationship with the truth, you may already be thinking of the person you’re almost always thinking about anyway,” said Oliver, comparing Johnson to U.S. President Donald Trump—a comparison that even Trump has acknowledged.
Oliver then ran a damning clip of Johnson explaining away his ability to feign knowledge of a given subject, and also his tendency to ruffle his hair on purpose before each BBC news hit.
“That has been the root of Boris’ appeal: a lovable mess weathering adversity with humor and good cheer. But the truth is, there may be a great deal more calculation behind that image than appears,” said Oliver.
Then there’s the racism and homophobia. According to Oliver, “He’s made repeated references to some immigrants as people who want to ‘leech off the state’; over the years, he’s made references to “piccaninnies’; he said the people of Congo had ‘watermelon smiles’; he’s called gay men ‘tank-topped bumboys’; and just last week, there was this,” the comic said, throwing to a clip of Johnson saying women in burqas “looked like letterboxes” before comparing them to “bank robbers.”
“That is an appalling comment that leaves a truly disgusting taste in your mouth,” Oliver said.
Most troubling of all, perhaps, is that as PM Johnson has now been tasked with overseeing Brexit negotiations with the E.U., which are already on the verge of falling apart. To illustrate his point, Oliver threw to an interview clip of Johnson admitting he doesn’t have the faintest clue what’s in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade—the very text he’s been using to justify his outlandish Brexit stance.
“That lack of attention to detail for a process that has the potential to impact millions of people is really alarming and there is no reason for much hope here, because all of the skills that have helped Johnson to become prime minister will not paper over all the deficits that are going to make him terrible at that job,” said Oliver.