SENTENCE seen in “Der Spiegel” [German magazine] a few days ago: “Der neue britische Premierminister Boris Johnson macht seinem Ruf als Windmaschine alle Ehre.”

It means: “The new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson does his reputation as a wind machine proud/no harm.”

A few years ago it would have been unseemly and unthinkable for a German magazine like Der Spiegel to make fun of a British politician in this way. In Germany there had been a lot of respect for the British, and rightly so, for it is the British (Labour Party) that drew up the constitution of post-war West Germany. That “Der Englander” (the Germans mean the UK) has become the butt of German humour, such as it is, is of regret to many Germans, believe that or not.

And that is the point, that sentence shows the Germans losing respect after comments from Johnson, in particular, his well publicised belief that the EU is a German plot to continue the work of the Third Reich by other means, does not help Brexit matters at all and it reinforces the German notion that Johnson is a wind bag.

Henrick Hauptmann