It would be premature to speculate on Boris Johnson’s performance as the Prime Minister of Britain at a crucial stage of its constitutional history.
In a country known for under-statement, there has been no strident attempt quite yet to debunk the Conservative hopeful in the immediate aftermath of his victory in Thursday’s first round of voting by party legislators. The figures point to a resounding margin ~ Mr Johnson has garnered 114 votes against Jeremy Hunt’s 43 and Michael Gove’s 37. Unless there is an upset in the next round, Mr Johnson is on course to be the next resident of 10 Downing Street.
Yet within 48 hours of the firstround triumph, the forebodings of the Jeremiah are resonant across Europe. There is distinctly a concerted effort to run down the man, most particularly the snide reference to a “mini-Trump across the Channel”. The pugnacious US President might be enjoying a quiet chuckle with the trans-Atlantic analogy.
In the context of Brexit and foreign policy generally, the essay towards severing Britain from the European Union might be riddled with disagreements. He has been criticised in France as a leader who is a “stranger to logic and convention” and one who has “made his country an object of ridicule around the world with his amateurism, flippancy and ignorance”.
Further comment must await his handling of a terribly important office at this juncture, not least the fact that Brexit has been a non-starter for the past three years. If Mrs Theresa May had to contend with a roller-coaster narrative, it remains open to question whether the praxis of her successor will be readily endorsed to facilitate a smooth divorce. Both an individual and a nation must loathe a messy divorce.
The fears expressed are not wholly unfounded. His threat to withhold the Euro 39 billion Brexit divorce settlement would have “incalculable consequences”, damaging the international credibility of a country that prides itself on being a champion of the rule of law. In the reckoning of the European Union, a Johnson premiership would mean “a mini-Trump across the Channel, dedicated to its sabotage”. Britain would become “a hostile principality, built on social, fiscal and environmental deregulation.”
Beyond the sniper attacks at the personal level must lie what they call the “deal-making” in the corridors and backrooms of Westminster. At the end of the day, Brexit can only be achieved through Parliament ~ the embodiment of the people’s will. The first hurdle towards Brexit is the vote of the Conservative fellow-travellers.