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Inside politics

The insult that went viral

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After a Nascar race in Alabama in October, a crowd could be heard on TV chanting in the background, “F*** Joe Biden.” The reporter, “mistakenly or deliberately”, assured the audience it was actually “Let’s go Brandon”, referring to the race’s winner. A meme was born, says Jonah Goldberg in the Los Angeles Times: Republican politicians started making merch emblazoned with the phrase and one pilot used it in his address to passengers. Now liberals are comparing “Let’s go Brandon” to “Long live Isis” and the sieg heil salute. They need to lighten up: there’s a long, patriotic tradition of American citizens insulting their politicians. Besides, “Let’s go Brandon” hasn’t caught on because Republicans are Nazis – “it has caught on because lots of Americans, including many who voted for him, think Biden is doing badly”.

Time to go back to the history books, PM?

While at the G20 in Rome, Boris Johnson said that climate change could cause modern civilisation to break down. He likened it to the Roman Empire falling apart “largely as a result of uncontrolled immigration”. As any classics undergrad could tell you, that comparison is “bollocks”, says Rachel Cunliffe in The New Statesman. Corruption, economic instability and religious tension all played their part.

This isn’t the first of Johnson’s shaky classical analogies. In 2012, “he was caught out by none other than Ken Livingstone” for confusing Pericles, the great statesman of Athens, with the unrelated but similarly named Shakespearean ruler of Tyre. In 2019, he reportedly compared his purge of anti-Brexit Tory MPs to the rule of the Roman emperor Augustus. The “years of bloody civil war” that left Rome “essentially lawless” didn’t get a mention.

Guess who’s coming to dinner (by private jet)

Rather than schmooze “celebrity swampies” like Leonardo DiCaprio in Glasgow, on Tuesday Boris Johnson took a private jet back down to London for a rather different bash, says Guido Fawkes: a reunion dinner for Telegraph writers held at the men-only Garrick Club. Johnson’s spokesman insists the PM travelled on “one of the most carbon efficient planes of its size in the world”.