Boris Johnson has his Gubu moment on Ukraine

Populist PM still framing politics as spurious battle with EU highlights UK’s insular nature

What is there to say about Boris Johnson’s latest comments comparing Ukraine’s resistance to Brexit? That they were idiotic? Offensive? That they reflect a mindset that hasn’t moved beyond the insular confines of Brexit? That the “Global Britain” mantra is just a slogan that encases the opposite values? Or that Johnson is just a populist leader framing politics as a spurious battle between virtue and corruption? And that few things, even the sensitivities of the Ukrainian people fighting and fleeing a brutal Russian assault, are off limits?

Ironically, many in Ukraine now see membership of the EU as the route to independence and freedom. After speaking with the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, last week, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he expects progress to be made on the country's application to join the European Union in the coming months.

The other fact is that Britain has dragged its heels in terms of helping Ukrainians fleeing the fighting, initially sand-bagging them in paperwork. Unlike other European countries, Britain is not waiving visas for refugees. Only 8,600 visas have been granted, according to the latest figures.

And UK home secretary Priti Patel justifies the tough stance on the grounds that incoming refugees represent a security threat as they may include Russian infiltrators sent by president Vladimir Putin to attack Britain. This when London has been a veritable playground for Kremlin-linked oligarchs.

But these inconsistencies were always part of the Brexit bilge spouted by Johnson and his ministers. Think of the £350 million NHS pledge; the no border in the Irish Sea promise, swallowed whole by the DUP; and the US trade deal that was supposed to make up for the fall-off in trade with the EU.

So light on detail are Brexiteers that even the minister for Brexit opportunities, Jacob Rees-Mogg, recently solicited Sun readers to flag possible Brexit benefits to him. The minister in charge of the process looking for ideas on how to make it work via a poll in a tabloid newspaper. You really couldn’t make this up.