Opinion

Boris is the leader Britain deserves

LONDON — Call it karma. Call it kismet. It is all but inevitable that within a matter of weeks Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson will become prime minister of the United Kingdom.

It wont be the result of a military coup or some other democratic lapse, either. Actual adults, members of both parliament and the Conservative Party, many of them largely sober, will put an X in the box beside Johnsons name.

In doing so, they will be giving Brexit Britain the prime minister it deserves — a clown.

The U.K. in 2019 is a strange, angry place: anti-establishment, anti-politics, anti-everything.

This didnt start with the 2016 vote to leave the European Union. You can trace the roots of Britains nihilism back to the 2010 expenses scandal, or even further, to the Tony Blair governments decision to ignore public wishes and go to war in Iraq. They were further aggravated by the austerity agenda and the accompanying stagnation of wages, the overpriced housing market and the decline in manufacturing and industry.

The 160,000 Tory members who will choose the next prime minister want to elect someone who makes them feel good about themselves.

Then, of course, came Brexit. The vote and everything that followed have exacerbated Britains teenage tantrum.

When the U.K. was (most recently) granted a delay to Brexit, European Council President Donald Tusk warned that the ensuing six months should be used “wisely.” The U.K. responded by dumping its prime minister, a rational pragmatist.

For all her many flaws, Theresa May was attempting to impose logic on an irrational situation in which all sides are unprepared to compromise. Its no wonder she failed.

In many ways, she was doomed from the start. Elected as an antidote to David Cameron, whose fecklessness in holding the EU referendum in the first place led to a national cry for a politician of substance, May was faced with an impossible task.

Labour members elected Jeremy Corbyn — another figure with a cult-like following — to the leadership of their party | Isabel Infantes/AFP via Getty Images

In seeking to be the “serious prime minister,” she failed to appreciate that Britain is no longer a serious place; it is a land driven by emotion and fads, where trending on social media is a substitute for achievement.

This is the nation that thought it amusing to opt for “Boaty McBoatface” when invited to vote for the name of a new Royal Navy vessel.

It is the place where hundreds of thousands of people joined a political party to get Jeremy Corbyn, a Marxist with questionable views on anti-Semitism, elected leader of the opposition — not because they believe in his policies, or in him, but because it was a laugh and their friends were all doing it.

Later they chanted his name along to that catchy riff from the White Stripes, and voted for him at a general election. Again, not because they thought he would make the best prime minister, or even a half-decent prime minister, but as a two-fingers to the establishment and to sensible politics.

Now it is the Conservatives turn to show their mastery of rude gestures. The 160,000 Tory members who will choose the next prime minister want to elect someone who makes them feel good about themselves, who tells them its all right to vote with their guts rather than their heads, who assures them the warnings from experts of the dire consequences of their prejudices are just fake news.

And who can blame them? Rational politics left the building a long time ago.

There are similarities between Boris Johnson and teflon Donald Trump | Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Enter BoJo. Perhaps more than any politician alive, Johnson understands the power of personality. It was etched into every line of the somewhat dashed-off biography he wrote of Winston Churchill: Forget facts, strategy, planning. The personal is political, and personality is all.

To be fair to the electorate, Johnson has not presented his most jester-esque aspects during this truncated leadership contest. Thanks to his teams astute adoption of a “submRead More – Source