BoJo Compares Endless Brexit Delay to Eternal Torture of Classical Myth in UN Speech

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 24, 2019 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
Getty Images

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson compared the over-three year delay to Brexit by Britain’s remain establishment to the ancient myth of the punishment of Prometheus, possibly comparing himself to a Greek hero ready to set the nation free in consequence.

Mr Johnson made a simple retelling of a Classical legend while addressing the United Nations Wednesday morning where a Titan displeases the gods and is punished to eternal torment in revenge, and alluded to the grave offence made by the British people not following the instructions of the pro-Europe elite when they voted for Brexit in 2016. The Prime Minister said:

“…when Prometheus brought fire to mankind in a tube of fennel, as you may remember with his brother Epimetheus, Zeus punished him by chaining him to a Tartanian crag while his liver was pecked out… by an eagle. And each time his liver regrew, the eagle came back and pecked it again.

“And this went on forever — a bit like the experience of Brexit in the UK if some of our parliamentarians have their way.”

Greek mythological figure, Prometheus, chained to a rock in Caucasus where he is constantly preyed upon by an eagle. The god Zeus ordered this punishment for Prometheus after he stole fire from the gods to give to mankind. Original Artwork: Lithograph after drawing by Lavigne. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

It is not clear from his words whether Mr Johnson sees himself as the Titan Prometheus — doomed to be tortured for eternity by an invisible and unaccountable elite on Mount Olympus or whether Britain itself is the bringer of fire. In this case, Mr Johnson could self-identify as the Greek hero Heracles, who after several years slays the punishing eagle and saves Prometheus/Britain from the eternal torturous depths of Brexit-delay hell.

The remark — which given Mr Johnson’s well-known enthusiasm for the classics and frequent references to myths and legend in his speeches is not unusual — came in a speech that otherwise avoided the topic of Brexit and focussed on the importance of harnessing new technology for good rather than evil.

Name-checking Google as a corporation collecting vast amounts of data about citizens with little oversight, the Prime Minister warned of a new reality where maintaining privacy or even keeping secrets was all but impossible.

Mr Johnson is returning to the United Kingdom today, cutting his trip to the United Nations short after the UK Supreme Court ruled against his government, finding that he had acted unlawfully in suspending Parliament. Mr Johnson said Tuesday that while he respects the courts, he disagrees with the decision and hit out at remainers frustrating the Brexit process.

Parliament will resume sitting Wednesday morning following the ruling.

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 24: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks at the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations on September 24, 2019 in New York City. The United Nations General Assembly, or UNGA, is expected to attract over 90 heads of state in New York City for a week of speeches, talks and high-level diplomacy concerning global issues (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.