Boris Johnson’s License To Get It Wrong

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In football, you would say that the scale of the victory was largely due to the weakness of the opposition. You can still win handsomely by fielding a second string team if you are playing against amateurs who have spent more time at the local pub than on the training field. Boris Johnson’s large majority for the next parliament is not so much due to his sheer brilliance but Jeremy Corbyn’s lacklustre performances and outdated ideologies.

The result was never in doubt given the stubbornness of the English who are still convinced that life will be so much better outside the EU. Brexit will surely lead to more trains running on time, a better health service, and less knife attacks in the middle of the night. Leaving the EU will bring back jobs to Sunderland and Stoke, and give a semblance of security and belonging to all those who live in Huntingdon. If only.

We all know and have to accept that the UK will leave the EU in 2020. It might not be in January but will certainly take place early next year. The slim hopes of die-hard remainers that a second referendum might have overturned the result of the first, have all but disappeared. Boris Johnson has promised he will deliver Brexit, and deliver Brexit he will. But at what cost, and with what vision for the future?

If life really does start booming in Sunderland, I will eat my words and take my hat off to a politician who has succeeded where I thought he would fail. But, for the time being at least, giving someone like Boris Johnson so much leeway at such a critical time seems to be a dangerous game. The sort of game that American president Donald Trump enjoys and excels in.

The Daily Express  says it all in its headline, “The British lion roars for Boris and Brexit.” Boris Johnson has been unleashed and allowed to run riot in a park where bored pensioners sitting on wet benches had attracted him in the first place.

Boris Johnson prides himself in saying that the UK is “the best democracy in the world.” But is it, if you consider that its referendums are flawed and constructive political opposition to a conservative government nonexistent? Democracy as a whole is only as strong as the sum of its parts, and in the UK there are plenty of parts that are missing or weak.

I suppose that we must all be thankful that the UK is now in a position to accept and implement the withdrawal deal and that the wranglings over Brexit will cease, at least in Westminster. But the thought that Boris Johnson can do as he pleases, as long as his conservative sheep follow him without so much as a mutter, is cause for concern. Amendments are likely to be proposed, and just as likely to be ignored. Rebels will refuse to speak out, too worried about losing their newly acquired seats in 5 years time.

There lies the problem, of course. Having had 3 general elections in 4 years, the UK is unlikely to see another one for the next five. By that time, Boris Johnson will have managed to instill his own brand of politics and transformed his country as he wishes. This is not only about the EU, but also about the UK.

In June 2016, I felt as though I had lost a friend. The UK was departing a union that I was part of. Now, I feel as though my friend is falling ill, victim to a virus full of nationalism, misplaced self-confidence, and egoism. It’s just as well that I’m outside the contamination zone and my Britishness is protected by a French passport.