Johnson wants to be Biden’s buddy. But thanks to Brexit he’ll never be seen as a true ally | Jonathan Freedland

The US president believes in global cooperation. Britain’s prime minister has always pushed in the opposite direction

Optics, meet reality. The visuals emanating from Cornwall are just what Boris Johnson wanted: a warm encounter with the new US president, followed by a summit of world leaders with himself in the chair. The “special relationship” renewed, “Global Britain” in action, him at the centre: job done. Trouble is, the photo-ops and reality don’t match.

I’m not referring to the gulf that separates the personal styles of Joe Biden and the British prime minister. One former diplomat with experience of both men notes that, while Biden “asks for briefing folders and does his homework, Boris’s instinct is to wing it and play the clown”.

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Johnson wants to be Biden’s buddy. But thanks to Brexit he’ll never be seen as a true ally | Jonathan Freedland