Britain and France get along so badly because “at heart, Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron are too alike”, says Marie Le Conte in The Independent. Both had early careers away from politics and “the drive to make tremendous amounts of money”. (Macron was an investment banker.) Both have turned on their former leaders and both rose to the top without bothering to build alliances and cliques. They both destroyed old electoral coalitions to form their own – Macron even founded a party – and in doing so they polarised their nations. “They stand victorious but alone.”
Crucially, they have the same weakness: “an inability to reckon with the reality of the countries they rule”. Macron and Johnson adore the ideas of France and Britain; they love waxing lyrical about the literature and history. Both prefer the elevated “poetry” of leadership to the “tedious prose” of day-to-day administration. It means there will always be a reason for the two nations to clash, whether it’s about fishing or Aukus or Brexit. Macron and Johnson see France and Britain as “platonic ideals”, and therefore view the two nations as perpetual opponents. It is what the countries “were born to do”, and therefore what they must continue to do.