Ch 6: Boris Johnson and Brexit Britain

This chapter is fascinating, simply fascinating. According to Rachman, both David Cameron and Boris Johnson expected Yes Leave to lose. When it won instead, David Cameron resigned that very day, and the path for Johnson to become prime minister was suddenly wide open. That was the moment when, according to Steve Bannon, who was managing Trump’s campaign, he “knew” Trump would win. Nigele Farage was the first foreign politician to meet with Trump after his improbable victory.

The Boris Johnson/Donald Trump synchronicity:

  • Melania, Trump’s third wife, was 24 years younger than him. Johnson’s third wife, Carrie, was twenty-three years younger than Boris.
  • Johnson’s most important policy was to take Britain out of the European Union, while “Trump made it clear that he regarded NATO as biased against American interests and toyed with withdrawing from the Western alliance.”
  • Both Trump and Johnson capitalized on hostility to mass immigration.
  • Johnson believed that he alone “had the strength to deliver Brexit,” echoing Trump’s assertion that “only I can fix it.” He also brought up the “deep state,” a vast conspiracy to overturn the Brexit vote in the referendum.

Self remembers attending a talk about Trump’s dementia (That was the actual topic: Trump’s dementia, it was printed in the conference programme and everything, har har har). Who knew that Trump’s dementia would turn into accusations of “Joe’s dementia” the following year! The talk took place in a 12th century church in the picturesque Cornwall seaside town of Fowey. It was May 2019.

The speaker said he didn’t think England would go the authoritarian route because “England has the BBC; America has Fox News.” The bashing went so hard that, after the presentation, an English couple next to self felt compelled to apologize for all the “bad things” the speaker had said about Trump. Self said: “Don’t apologize. I agree with him!” Only a few months later, in August 2019, Johnson would “prorogue parliament . . . to prevent it from getting in the way of Brexit.” And the rest is history!

Unfortunately for Johnson, the same day that Britain left the EU (end of January 2020) was also the “day that Britain announced its first case of coronavirus.” And Johnson’s rhetoric could not get around this new reality. Both Trump and Johnson mis-handled their respective country’s national response to the virus.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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