Is Boris Johnson a sociopath

"Johnson is definitely a very smart man"


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ZEIT ONLINE: And then Britain would fly out of the EU without an agreement because there is no functioning government and no parliament?

O'Toole: Exactly. It would be some kind of sex pistols anarchy in Britain. In such a power vacuum, the result on October 31st is automatically an exit from the EU without a deal.

ZEIT ONLINE: Boris Johnson decided in 2016, just a few months before the referendum, that Leave- Support camp even though he thought it was going to lose. Now he is a tough Brexit proponent. What is his personal motivation as a politician? Does he have any principles?

O'Toole: Johnson was once asked if he had any belief. He replied: "Only one: step on the gas". He's very self-centered, almost a sociopath. All he thinks about is what could be beneficial for him and his ambitions. And like US President Donald Trump, he believes that he lives from chaos. From his point of view he is of course right: the chaos made him prime minister.

ZEIT ONLINE: What could the opposition oppose Johnson in Parliament?

O'Toole: She could pull herself together and say: That's enough now, we have to stop this now. Let's all work together and try a second referendum. She could wave the exit agreement that Theresa May negotiated through a majority in parliament and then put it to the vote of the British people. But I don't know whether the opposition has the nerve for it. In the past, she didn't have it.

ZEIT ONLINE: How should the rest of the EU deal with Boris Johnson?

O'Toole: Johnson is looking for the stage. Germany and Europe should be aware of this. He wants to be able to perform the drama that Britain was humiliated. According to the motto: "We are perfectly sensible and are rejected by everyone else. So we have no other choice." The EU is not allowed to play this game, it is not allowed to become an actor in his play. Stay cool, be nice, don't get drawn into it. When I was young there was a pacifist poster: "Imagine it's war and nobody goes." That is exactly how the EU should behave.

ZEIT ONLINE: You described Boris Johnson as a weird anti-politician. Many of his followers seem to love him precisely because he is so eccentric and at times clownish. What makes it so attractive?

O'Toole: Johnson is definitely a very smart man. He's not a fool, even though he comes across as that. Johnson combines two star qualities: One is his fame - for many Britons he is just Boris. He created a fictional character of himself by doing exactly the opposite of what is generally expected of a politician. At a time when politicians are becoming more and more boring, colorless and controlled, he is uncontrolled and eccentric. It's important to remember that Johnson deliberately tousled his hair before stepping in front of the cameras.