Colleen Hammond | opinions editor
The sun has truly set on the British Empire as the political joker Boris Johnson begins the first months of his prime ministry.
In the wake of the 2016 decision to leave the European Union, the United Kingdom experienced a radical decline in national leadership. Althoughs many hoped former Prime Minister Theresa May would be able to negotiate a fair Brexit agreement with the EU, her policies were repeatedly blocked in Parliament. Two and a half years after the initial vote, May found herself the leader of a divided government. May likely recognized her inability to pass any formal Brexit legislation and, as a result, stepped down from power in May 2019.
Her resignation triggered an unexpected election. After watching May continuously fail to finalize Brexit, many British ministers felt the need for a drastic change in leadership.
While they hoped to elect a contrarian with incredible powers of negotiation and diplomacy, Parliament unfortunately chose the former mayor of London and populist conservative, Boris Johnson.
Johnson is notorious for the peculiar juxtaposition of his clumsy persona and crass behavior. Johnson has repeatedly vocalized his extreme dislike for the LGBT+ community and nonwhite immigrants. Unfortunately, the severity of his hate-filled rhetoric is often overlooked when paired with his awkward and often humorous public persona.
For over a decade, Johnson has expertly crafted himself as a dopey political caricature. He frequently answers interview questions with absolute absurdity to appear harmless to the general public.
In June 2019, Johnson was asked in an interview about his hobbies outside of his political office. Instead of answering with a standard hobby — cooking, watching sports, golfing, etc. — Johnson prattled on for over four minutes about his deep love for making model buses out of old, wooden crates.
Many British citizens viewed this interview as oddly charming and comforting. To many viewers, it seemed highly unlikely that a man who paints wooden buses could threaten the UK with a populist agenda.
Through his quirkiness, Johnson willfully disguises his true nature. He carefully uses his dopiness to his advantage, crafting each interview and public appearance to seem a harmless fool. In this intense deception, Johnson abuses his power.
His conniving nature seeps into his politics. While he has successfully misled much of Parliament, it will be much more difficult for Johnson to delude EU officials.
Because the UK is currently one of the wealthiest and most powerful nations in the EU, the EU is doing everything in their power to make it difficult for the UK to leave. This includes threatening a “no deal” policy if a Brexit agreement cannot be made in the coming months.
A “no deal” Brexit would force the UK to the toughest trade, travel, commerce and border restrictions possible.
Because Johnson lacks tact when dealing with the EU, he has no problem accepting a no deal Brexit. Johnson’s only concern is being known as the man who finalized Brexit after Theresa May’s failure.
Unfortunately, this remarkably stubborn wolf in sheep’s clothing is Britain’s voice to the outside world. With his odd, befuddling charm, Johnson will likely drag the UK through years of ineffective negotiations, only to end up with a poor deal for Britain.
Johnson does not care for his people, only his image. The months ahead will be excruciating for the UK. They will grow farther from the EU, damaging trade and industry while Johnson will sit back and paint his model buses.