The prime minister of Ireland seemed to subtly burn British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a press conference on Monday, and like all great burns, it came by way of a reference to Greek mythology.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar while speaking with Johnson on Monday said that amid the United Kingdom's impending exit from the European Union, Johnson has a "Herculean task" ahead of him. He kept this comparison going by offering to be Johnson's ally in this endeavor, or the "Athena" to his Hercules.
But as the Sydney Morning Herald's Nick Miller points out, Athena prevented Hercules from causing even more destruction after he went mad, so that's certainly not the world's most favorable comparison. Varadkar's comment can be read as him generally telling Johnson that he'll be ready to assist him, but also that he'll do his best to prevent an out-of-control Johnson from making the Brexit situation even more of a disaster.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
Johnson, who studied Classics at the University of Oxford, chuckled at Varadkar's comparison, presumably realizing the subtle dig embedded within and preparing an equally brutal mythological reference for next time. Brendan Morrow
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.