The Maastricht Diplomat

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The Three Faces of Today’s Politics

Two-faced What a week UK’s Boris Johnson is having. BoJo’s no-show featured heavily in a prop comedy skit skilfully put on by Luxembourg’s PM Xavier Bettel during what was supposed to be a joint press conference following bilateral talks. The Hulk had turned into the Invisible Man. If his career dies on live air in a Luxembourg presser and the PM’s not around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Johnson didn’t have much time to dwell on this slap to the face however, as his government was already mobilizing to deal with the next potentially career-ending train wreck, this time in the form of a charge of abuse of power being argued in front of the Supreme Court. Asked if he’d respect the judgement should it not go his way, Johnson said he would respect the law seconds before his surrogates started laying the groundwork for him riding roughshod over it. This week is truly classic BoJo. Sometimes the bumbling oaf producing mildly embarrassing international news, other times the calculated careerist who will do and say anything to get ahead. Those two faces were on full display this week, and less than two months into his premiership people are already tiring of both. Bare-faced As synonymous as Johnson has become with scandal, he’s still a novice compared to Donald Trump, who has been grappling with the fall-out of this week’s episode of “How to be a dollar store dictator”. In the aftermath of an internal whistle-blower skewering Trump for pestering a foreign leader for dirt to smear a political opponent with, Trump dissolved into a puddle of inane tweets while making the rest of us wonder if we’d returned to 2016. Asked later if he phoned the president of Ukraine to fish for a corruption story on former Vice-president Joe Biden’s son, he furiously denied, saying the call was “largely congratulatory” before going full Donald and as good as confirming most of the allegations. Never go full Donald, folks. Of course, it is hardly surprising at this point that Trump only rarely dons the costume of a respectable president, treating the guise of statesman as a Halloween outfit to be put on just for the night only to disappear again until next year.

Black-face On the subject of Halloween, guess which head of state does not mind a costume party or two? Canada’s Justin Trudeau has been taking heavy fire after images of him wearing “brownface” emerged. Having styled himself as a progressive social media darling throughout his time in office, the Aladdin-look did not go down well with his electorate, which is due to go to the polls in five weeks’ time. Fun fact: the first picture that emerged was taken at a school party in 2001. When he was a teacher. Yikes. To make matters worse, after a second and third image came out showing him breaking out the ole’ shoe polish once again, Trudeau had to go on record stating that he couldn’t assure voters there weren’t more images of him sporting blackface out there. You know what’s a worse look than blackface? Not remembering how many times you’ve done it. Now, does this scandal make Justin Trudeau racist? I’ll leave that up to readers to decide, but it undoubtedly shows staggering tone-deafness from a leader who many had hoped would be a new era for Canadian politics. What Trudeau must now do is show Canadians his true face and show that he is indeed fit to lead his diverse nation.

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