11:42 GMT +317 October 2019
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    Boris Johnson’s ‘Incredible Hulk’ Brexit Metaphor Turns Into an Eye-Roller on Social Media

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    Britain’s all-in-favour-of-Brexit prime minister, Boris Johnson, has used a pop culture reference to explain his way of handling the kingdom’s departure from the European Union. Plenty of reaction soon followed.

    British social media users haven’t been kind to Boris Johnson, who compared the country to superhero Bruce ‘the Hulk’ Banner in a recent interview, just one day ahead of a meeting with Brussels negotiators.

    “Banner might be bound in manacles, but when provoked he would explode out of them,” he told the Daily Mail. “Hulk always escaped, no matter how tightly bound in he seemed to be – and that is the case for this country. We will come out on October 31 and we will get it done.”

    His analogy has caused mixed reactions on both sides of the Brexit debate. The Leave.EU campaign group picked up the playful tone, writing under a photoshopped photo of Johnson with a strong green skin tint:

    “Let's hope Boris sticks to his pledge to break the manacles of Brussels like the Incredible Hulk on October 31 - we don't remember the Hulk ever begging anyone for a worthless European treaty!”

    Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said in a TV interview that the Hulk was a “winner” and “extremely popular.”

    But plenty of people were less well-disposed. One artist even drew a comic story about a botched experiment exposing a man to “gammon radiation”. Gammon is a pejorative term used to describe middle-aged Brexit supporters, referring to the unhealthy pink skin colour resembling the salted hind leg of pork (called gammon in Britain).

    One popular Twitter account elaborated on the metaphor, recalling that in Marvel Comics, Bruce Banner was “a tragic loner, left to follow a friendless path through the world, because of an experiment that went horribly wrong.”

    On Monday, 16 September, Boris Johnson will have to prove his self-praised Hulk-like perseverance during talks with Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, and Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator.

    Johnson has indicated that he wants to renegotiate a withdrawal agreement with the European Union (after Theresa May’s version of the deal was voted down three times in Parliament due to the contentious Irish backstop clause). However, Juncker said this week that Britain has yet to set out “concrete proposals.”

    Johnson has promised to leave the EU on 31 October regardless of whether there is a deal in place or not – with lawmakers going to great lengths to prevent the much-feared no-deal scenario, which could spell economic trouble for the UK.

    Last week, Parliament passed a law forcing the prime minister to request a Brexit extension beyond the 31 October deadline if he is unable to strike a deal by then and if legislators do not give their consent to a no-deal Brexit.

    Johnson signalled he was resolved to disobey the law – and is expected to defy a possible motion against him in court.

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