Shed a tear for the Brits and another for the free democratic world. Former London Mayor, Boris Johnson, is the U.K.’s new prime minister. He is promising to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union, even if that means “crashing out” with no agreement on how to move forward. The results could and quite likely will be enormous and potentially damaging for the U.K. and its allies as well.
The poor Brits now have their very own version of Donald Trump. The two have more in common than curious coiffures. Both front conservative parties. Both were born in New York City. Like Trump, Boris has a reputation for bluster, the occasional antic and saying whatever he must to win an argument regardless of the facts. They are both living caricatures. Trump, oblivious to factual information and ignorant of history and Johnson, apparently oblivious to Parliament’s many past failures in reaching a deal on “Brexit.” He appears to epitomize those who have no knowledge of that old saying that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
The markets are said to be very nervous with Johnson’s election. They should be. We should be too. Disunity among democratic nations is to Russia’s advantage. There is in fact some evidence that Putin and his cyber-spies helped engineer the popular push for taking the U.K. out of the European Union, just as they helped Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. (Read the Mueller Report. Please.)
The British people were convinced that leaving the E.U. would be a good idea, so they voted for it, just like the American people voted for Donald Trump. Not unlike the British system, the American system is so fouled up with its Electoral College, that Trump won the presidency without a majority of the popular vote. And now a man named Boris is the Prime Minister because he leads a party that holds the most seats in the House of Commons.
It is worth noting that Johnson was so disliked as London’s Mayor, that Londoners got as far away from his conservative persona as they possible could in their next election, bringing in a labor party Muslim to replace him. His two years as Foreign Secretary have been called “disastrous.” And now, because of the hazards, rancor and chaos of parliamentary politics, he has been named Prime Minister. That said, the British system might still be superior to American politics. We’re the ones saddled with Donald Trump, who has just vetoed a bill banning arms sales to the Saudis, so that they can ramp up the war in Yemen, a war the U.N. has declared to be the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Boris Johnson in the U.K. and Donald Trump in the U.S. It’s so obviously bad for the world’s democracies and good for bullies, tyrants and strong men. Good for all those who prefer dictators, oligarchs and Neo-Feudalism, even though a majority of the British were conned into voting in favor of Brexit, which is where the situation gets really twisted for the British Parliament. It’s almost as vexing as America having to deal with a President who was elected even though he lost the popular vote, ignores the Constitution and is widely believed to have issues demanding a doctor’s care. He’s lost control. He’s now yelling at reporters when he doesn’t like their questions. His mental condition is the Republican elephant in the middle of the room that nobody wants to talk about.
Somewhere, Vladimir Putin must be smiling. Again. He’s probably been smiling a lot since he helped put Trump in the White House. We can only hope that America follows London’s lead in 2020, and votes in a new president who is as far away from Donald Trump as we can possibly get. We need to recover from this mess before recovery becomes next to impossible.
As for our cousins across the pond, all we can do is wish them the best of luck in surviving their very own version of “The Donald” and his call to “Make America Great Again.” Most of America, I think, held the belief that we were already a great nation. We were the county that was essential in winning World War II. Remember? We are also the folks who put a man on the moon.
It’s difficult to determine if Johnson is mimicking Trump as some kind of heroic ideal but it’s certain that they have more in common than bizarre hair. Johnson’s admonition on his first day as PM was to “make this country the greatest place on earth.” I wonder how Her Majesty feels about that? If Boris Johnson feels there is a better place to be, then why isn’t he living there? Maybe he and Trump can find an island somewhere and leave the rest of us alone?