Boris Johnson as Prime Minister? Go on then!
Boris Johnson’s patriotic optimism on matters Brexit, in stark contrast to the current Conservative Government, has led me to put aside my longstanding scepticism of Boris and seriously consider the possibility of a Johnson premiership. His speech recently illustrates the desire to lead this country in a different direction – a direction I’m sold on.
This past week or so saw a lot of political developments, as most do; Brexit uncertainty (obviously), Dianne Abbott making a complete fool of herself (obviously), Nigel Farage giving the British Government and Brexit progress grief (obviously, and valiantly) and, somewhat less obviously, Boris Johnson giving a speech that has been widely regarded as his throwing his hat officially in the ring for Tory leadership, whenever that time comes.
He started by giving his damning conclusion of Theresa May’s “now deceased withdrawal agreement”, outlining the fallacy that was binding us to the EU in any political capacity whatsoever, the outrageous foolishness of the Irish backstop and that it would not be Brexit. He hammered the notion of the Norway option, the Peoples vote and any notion of a second referendum or the extension or revocation of article 50, with his trademark charming buffoonery, whilst completely destroying the notion of the Backstop and the efforts of the commons and the government to destroy it.
All the while, Boris Johnson was speaking of Britain, of the UK, of a global outlook and of our power to be the masters of our own fate, speaking of the contribution Britain makes to the EU economy and budget. He progressed on to suggesting no reason the EU would ever want to omit British trade based on the idea that they are punishing us because they have been shunned by the British people.
He speaks about having the conviction to seize the moment we have been graced with and show our great British strength, to fight the (I assume globalist, neo liberal) elites with our stiff upper lip and limitless resolve. We must have the courage to ask, and we must mean it – all said with convincing conviction and clout.
He said a lot. A lot that had already been said, a lot that needed “Brexiteer clarification” as it were, in all the media haze surrounding the discourse, and a lot that, if truth be told, has me sold.
Boris Johnson sounded like something I thought to be extinct since the late 1980’s: He sounded like a statesman. A true statesman, not a diplomatic, wooden, pseudo-statesman, the likes of which neo liberalism groomed from an early age and spewed up with its putrid globalist concoction. He sounded like a breed of raw, unapologetically nationalist and patriotic, proud politician many thought long dead and gone, especially in this new age atmosphere of conceited humbleness and hollow globalist liberal rhetoric.
Forthrightly, he progressed to outline not necessarily his direct and absolute vision for what our leaving agreement with the EU would look like, but at least the general themes of his politics; the red lines he had outlined were non-negotiable. This meant the backstop, the ECJ and remaining bound to the customs union – all things both parties had fiendishly agreed to in both their official rhetoric and their 2017 manifestos.
He sought to unite our great country not in Brexit, per se, but in the act of leaving the European union, and in the scope for opportunity it stands to bring. He brought a measured patriotic optimism that is increasingly rare on today’s political stage, and it was enchantingly refreshing.
In this message of unity, he outlined and explained certain issues – such as immigration, the pool of cheap labour it brings and the wage compression it facilitates – to clarify his stance on them but also defend it against the critics, as he did with his ‘controversial’ burka comment all those months ago. Boris Johnson, for all his toffery and buffoonery, was one of us on that stage. His temperament was classic, his message was clear, relatable and ideologically driven. We, as listeners, were drowning in raw ideological philosophy.
From the way in which he denounced the rhetoric of government as “weakening” to our position, to the way in which he deduced an article 50 revocation or extension as pathetic, the way his perpetual brand of tomfoolery, unpreparedness, needlessly complex language and erratic movement and mumbling charmed you into listening and the way his message was profoundly British, Johnson really did throw his hat in the ring, and he really did mean it.
We need to get gone. No deal is ideal, for me and for many Brexiteer’s, especially the Tory Brexiteer battalion. Whilst Boris doesn’t specifically share this enthusiasm for no deal, he certainly isn’t afraid of it, certainly doesn’t see it as a catastrophe and abhors any rhetoric describing it as such. Boris Johnson wants to secure a good deal, that actually allows us to leave the EU and its jurisdiction. He wants a deal that says, “thanks for the good times, lets meet for a pint again soon; no hard feelings”. And there isn’t anything wrong with that sentiment. At least he isn’t hyperbolising everything and doing what he can to remain an EU member by proxy.
Johnson’s speech may have been a prime ministerial gambit shrouded in, well, literally nothing but the limitations of our imaginations – but by god was it a good one. I was a Boris sceptic for a long time. As the months and years have gone by, one thing has become apparent: He is loyal to nothing but his ideological roots and on that basis alone, this gambit has me bought and paid for.