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Putin has saved Boris Johnson - by Peter Franklin for Unherd

Updated: Mar 10, 2022

For one who seemed incapable of walking even a few yards without tripping himself up, the Prime Minister has handled the current crisis with surprising assurance, according to Peter Franklin in today’s Unherd.

From face-to-face meetings with Zelensky in Kyiv in the days before invasion to the strategic build-up of military co-operation between the UK and Ukraine since 2014, this is one foreign policy area the PM and his predecessors seem to have anticipated correctly.


“The idea that this country has fallen behind the EU in our response to the invasion does not bear scrutiny. In respect to military cooperation, energy security and financial sanctions, the UK has been ahead of the curve. This needn’t be a matter for debate between British Leavers and Remainers. We only need to ask the Ukrainians whether the UK has been a true ally or a false friend. And on that question they’ve made their answer abundantly clear.”

It hasn’t been Britain asleep at the wheel on this one:

“That would be the Germans. Since the invasion, Olaf Scholz hasn’t just u-turned on the first few weeks of his own Chancellorship, but the 16 year legacy of Angela Merkel. It’s suddenly dawned upon the German establishment that relying on Nato for their protection while cosying up to Russia might have been a tad irresponsible.”

And it’s not only in Germany where attitudes are changing:

“I reckon we might hear a lot less disrespect for Nato from Emmanuel Macron — who once called the alliance “brain dead”. And maybe, just maybe, there’ll be some fundamental questioning of the EU itself. The stated goal of “ever closer union” has led Europe to look inwards when the focus should have been on Russia.

On Ukraine, it’s becoming clearer that the course charted by Boris Johnson is more right than wrong. At least, we must hope so — because on this issue it is the EU that is drawing closer to Britain, not the other way round.”

Perhaps there is hope for a post-Brexit entente after all.

The full article can be read here with a link to the original beneath it:

Article for Unherd by Peter Franklin - Putin has saved Boris Johnson - 09.03.22
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