Britain, Brexit and Boris Johnson – So Yesterday

9th November 2020 / United Kingdom
Boris's Britain - Out in the Cold

Boris Johnson is now a toxic brand. Not only is there an ever emergent faction in the Tory party wanting to pin any negotiating failures for Brexit on him, but the general public no longer back him on it either.

In desperation, Boris Johnson has changed his rhetorical tune – a trade, security and fisheries deal with the European Union is “there to be done”, he said before Brexit talks began in London today (9th Nov). “We just need to get them to do it if we can,” he said. The deal is already on the table – Johnson just has to sign it.

A source close to the Democrats has dismissed suggestions there will be a ‘special relationship’ between Joe Biden and Boris Johnson following the US election result. “They do not think Boris Johnson is an ally,” the Democratic source told the Sunday Times. “They think Britain is an ally. But there will be no special relationship with Boris Johnson.”

Dominic Raab was wheeled out and said that he was confident that the government would allay the fears of Joe Biden, the US president-elect, that Brexit and the government’s controversial Internal Market Bill would damage the peace process in Northern Ireland. “We’ve been very clear we are absolutely committed to respecting the Good Friday agreement,” he said. The reality of that statement has already been dismissed by the leaders of Northern Ireland, the EU and now Biden’s America.

Boris’s Britain is so yesterday. The majority of the British public don’t want Brexit any more. The EU never wanted it. America doesn’t want it (now).

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Internationally, who does want Brexit? Russia and China that’s who because it fractures the European project and the strength it brings to the region.

It also means if no deal is signed in the next couple of weeks, Britain will be the only major economy with no trade deal with any of the super-powers. Britain’s alignment with America has slipped as Biden’s team looks towards France and Germany to bolster its foreign policy objectives – and of course, to repair the damage exerted by Trump.

And Johnson is part of a right-wing global clique that includes Brazil’s Bolsonaro, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa. In the democratic West – all of these so-called leaders have a few things in common. Firstly, they are largely geopolitically shunned – economically some are as well. Climate change is another common denominator as is their desire to ensure democracy is replaced.

In addition, there’s a rising sentiment in the West that China should be put in its place, that Russia should be contained that other ‘strong-men’ ostracized – and that the build back better programme includes dramatic policy changes on the environment. There’s an emergent sense that ‘centrism’ is on the rise and Boris Johnson is somewhere else.

Joe Biden is set to speak with Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, as Boris Johnson is left waiting for an opportunity to speak with the president-elect. This is a first for Britain in many decades. Sources close to Biden said that Johnson will not be at the “top of the list“, with British diplomats expecting European leaders to be the priority.

Astonishingly, environment secretary George Eustice has admitted that post-Brexit trade talks with America may have to start again following Joe Biden’s win, before claiming a deal is no longer “critical” to the economy. Just six weeks ago the opposite was the case.

As the old saying goes – it’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who has been swimming naked. And there’s Boris in the buff.

 

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