Gordon Brown could knock out Boris Johnson in a Brexit bout

A vintage performance by the former PM on the EU referendum was in marked contrast to that of his buffoonish rival

Extraordinary, is it not? The political, financial and media worlds are obsessed by a referendum we could do without, called to sort out problems of Conservative party management that will almost certainly not be resolved, and masterminded by a prime minister who is desperately dependent on the support of the Labour party to avoid humiliation.

On a typical day last week we had the menacingly mendacious Alexander (Boris) Johnson being taken far more seriously than he should – what do you make of a man who tells his close friends we must stay in the European Union and then, for nakedly ambitious reasons, goes back on his word?

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