March 30, 2023

Boris Johnson: politician or scribbler?

Stock markets are in turmoil, the pound is losing in value, investments are stopped and jobs are relocated from the UK. Three days after Brexit, Boris Johnson is gone into hiding. Apart of apparent scheming and instead of serving his country in this critical time, all that his coming from him is an insipid newspaper article addressing Daily Telegraph readers. Conflict of interest between journalism and politics? Filling his bank account takes precedence over national interest.

Meanwhile, the public is still waiting to learn anything of substance from Mr Johnson about the process of the UK leaving the EU: his objectives of the withdrawal agreement, of the terms of the relationship with the EU going forward, organisation of the negotiations, the timetable. Mr Johnson seems to have time that the economy does not have, and the people will not have who will face the consequences.

The challenges ahead to implement Brexit are enormous. Leadership, statesmanship, competence, vision, trust and resolve are of the essence. Flippancy or making things up as you go along would be terrible.

As Boris Johnson’s programme is not more than a newspaper article, it is worthwhile to have a closer look where he stands and what he writes:

« Never have so many thought so deeply, or wrestled so hard with their consciences, in an effort to come up with the right answer.”

What about HIS conscience and HIS right answer?

Mr Johnson has gone portentous but what we will see: where is the substance?

“It is said that those who voted Leave were mainly driven by anxieties about immigration. I do not believe that is so. »

He will have to explain to Leave voters his latest position on immigration after taking back control and to Remain voters why he then stirred up such high levels of xenophobia during the campaign.

“I believe that millions of people who voted Leave were also inspired by the belief that Britain is a great country, and that outside the job-destroying coils of EU bureaucracy we can survive and thrive as never before.”

He must be delusional ignoring completely the efficiency of the common market and job opportunities having been created in the UK. We are already seeing investments halted and shifted to other parts of Europe. Key finance and international jobs are moving elsewhere and for good, causing major prejudice to the British economy, country and people, for a very long time or irreversible.

“We who are part of this narrow majority must do everything we can to reassure the Remainers. We must reach out, we must heal, we must build bridges – because it is clear that some have feelings of dismay, and of loss, and confusion.”

One can hardly say that Remain voters are confused, Leave voters who trusted his words increasingly are.

“I believe that this climate of apprehension is understandable, given what people were told during the campaign, but based on a profound misunderstanding about what has really taken place. At home and abroad, the negative consequences are being wildly overdone, and the upside is being ignored. The stock market is way above its level of last autumn; the pound remains higher than it was in 2013 and 2014.”

Mr Johnson shows a deplorable level of delusion, to say this still now, after campaign and vote.

He seems not to grasp the most basic fundamentals of finance. Levels are one, fundamentals and trends completely different matters.

“The economy is in good hands. Most sensible people can see that Bank of England governor Mark Carney has done a superb job – and now that the referendum is over, he will be able to continue his work without being in the political firing-line. Thanks in large part to the reforms put in place by David Cameron and George Osborne, the fundamentals of the UK economy are outstandingly strong – a dynamic and outward-looking economy with an ever-improving skills base, and with a big lead in some of the key growth sectors of the 21st century.”

Political hogwash.

“We should be incredibly proud and positive about the UK, and what it can now achieve. And we will achieve those things together, with all four nations united. We had one Scotland referendum in 2014, and I do not detect any real appetite to have another one soon; and it goes without saying that we are much better together in forging a new and better relationship with the EU – based on free trade and partnership, rather than a federal system.”

No Scottish referendum? A better relationship with the EU? He must be kidding himself. And he does not know what a federal system is – there is not one in the EU.

“I cannot stress too much that Britain is part of Europe, and always will be.”

Is this a geography lesson?

“There will still be intense and intensifying European cooperation and partnership in a huge number of fields: the arts, the sciences, the universities, and on improving the environment. EU citizens living in this country will have their rights fully protected, and the same goes for British citizens living in the EU.”

He must have missed that some cooperation has already been cancelled and others are under serious consideration.

Improving the environment is a vital endeavour – how does he want to make any significant progress or contribution outside the EU?

Citizen rights going forward are anyone’s guess. Instead of flippant comments like these, he is not able to provide any substance.

“The only change – and it will not come in any great rush – is that the UK will extricate itself from the EU’s extraordinary and opaque system of legislation: the vast and growing corpus of law enacted by a European Court of Justice from which there can be no appeal. This will bring not threats, but golden opportunities for this country – to pass laws and set taxes according to the needs of the UK.”

While Johnson is in no rush, his inactivity, incompetence and shallowness is cause for irresponsible and irremediable damage to the British economy and country.

“This was a seismic campaign whose lessons must be learnt by politicians at home and abroad. We heard the voices of millions of the forgotten people, who have seen no real increase in their incomes, while FTSE-100 chiefs now earn 150 times the average pay of their employees.”

So what is he doing about it? Or has he done in the past? Letting Johnson loose would mean out of the frying pan into the fire.

“There is no doubt that many were speaking up for themselves. But they were also speaking up for democracy, and the verdict of history will be that the British people got it right.”

It is three days after Brexit. This article is too little too late, Mr Johnson. History is being made and you are not part of it.