Boris Johnson finally cut the Gordian knot of British politics. With the massive victory in Thursday’s election Johnson ensured his Withdrawal Treaty will make it through the House of Commons and deliver some version of Brexit in the future.
The win was so big it was an embarrassment to those who obstructed Brexit for the past three years. Of particular delight was watching Jo Swinson, leader of the Liberal Democrats, lose her seat after betting the party’s future on revoking Article 50.
This one fact is more emblematic of the Westminster bubble politicos in the U.K. live in more than any other. Swinson seriously underestimated two things.
First there was the British people’s resolve to have their voice heard through the ballot box.
Second was the political acumen of Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party. Farage stood down his candidates in seats the Tories won in 2017 to ensure Swinson and her traitorous manifesto was knee-capped.
She went from someone angling to become Prime Minister to yesterday’s news in six weeks. Quite an accomplishment, actually.
This result also put the entire British political establishment on notice that the lies they told about how terrible Brexit will be were irrelevant.
Labour pushed itself into a corner, forcing leader Jeremy Corbyn to go full-Marxist in his manifesto. I think the Blairite wing of Labour knew this election was lost and allowed Corbyn to hang himself with his nonsense about the NHS, chlorinated chicken and Donald Trump so as to get rid of him once and for all.
It was a masterstroke of political wrangling by both the Tories and the Labour globalists who wanted to neuter all threats to their real power while Johnson secures a majority which will protect the core of their power for the next five years.
But to the people, this election was about their dignity and those left behind by two generations of politicians selling them out to Brussels. They don’t trust Johnson anymore than I do.
But they knew that there had to be a clear signal given even if the benefactor of that signal wasn’t perfect. So, while Nigel Farage may not have won any seats in this election, he continues to win the day spiritually.
Because leave means leave.
Brexit may cause hardship. It may be difficult. But so what? The patronizing and condescending campaign waged by the Remain crowd was so distasteful it hardened those that voted in the 2016 referendum to defy it again.
Everyone with half a brain could see the duplicity and cravenness of people like Chukka Amuna and Anna Soubry (and the rest of the ChangeUK crowd) changing parties like we change our underwear but who refused to stand in by-elections to confirm their seats.
They all lost their seats too.
The Tories who openly negotiated with foreign powers to undermine the will of the people are also gone. An entire generation of feckless and reprehensible pols was put out to pasture by not standing for re-election because they knew what the true mood of the country was, even while they worked overtime to subvert it.
Like it or not, people cannot govern without the consent of the people. And the people just told them, if it means some unpleasantness so be it. Make no mistake, the fight isn’t over yet, but this is the first definitive victory in the Brexit saga.
The European Project was dealt a major blow by these results, even if I distrust Boris Johnson and the Tories’ intentions. The election wasn’t about what Johnson will do with his mandate.
It was about getting rid of the cancer at the heart of the British political system.
So, first things first, hang all the
lawyers career politicians and put Brexit on a path to completion.
Reforming the House of Lords, the Supreme Court and all the other stuff can wait. I think these results were clear on this point as well.
Johnson addressed this in his acceptance speech, knowing that a lot of people lent him their votes. He knows this win can be fleeting.
He has to follow through with more than just getting Brexit done. He has to deliver real, substantive change to the policies of the EU which have driven the U.K. economy into the gutter.
He needs to truly separate the U.K. from the crisis brewing on the continent, because if he betrays this by going the Theresa May route of a ‘close and special relationship’ with the EU he’ll usher in chaos very quickly.
Johnson having this strong an electoral mandate to ‘Get Brexit Done’ will also give him a strong negotiating hand with the European Union when talks resume in January. He’s successfully purged the worst of the Remain crowd from the Tory party and that puts Brussels on notice that they can no longer play the factions within Westminster against each other.
For more than three years the political establishment in the U.K. and Europe attacked the original Brexit vote. That opposition revealed and hardened divisions within British society, pitting the sub-cultures of the U.K. against each other.
The big question is will he negotiate with Mr. Barnier as a winner or, like Theresa May, as someone suing for peace after being bombed back into the stone age?
It’s perhaps the most important question still hanging over the U.K. and Brexit.
Barnier and company still see themselves as having the upper hand here. They will still play their game of non-negotiation until the final moment, trying to force a solution onto the wayward Brits that is both humiliating and punitive.
For this reason alone, I think, the British people voted the way they did on Thursday. It was clear that not only was their Parliament not working in their best interest and treating them like uppity children, but that also the EU looked upon them with disdain and barely concealed hostility.
Or in the case of both Donald Tusk and Guy Verhofstadt, open hostility.
The arrogance of European colonial thinking has been on full display for the past three years. It won’t end with this vote nor will it even subside a little.
The EU leadership will set the terms of the negotiations of a Free Trade deal with the U.K. to be clawing back every ‘win’ Johnson secured in his shiny, new Withdrawal Treaty.
Charles Michel, the new European Council President, is already talking in these terms. So is French President Emmanuel Macron. The new catchphrase will be ‘level playing field’ from the EU.
That replaces ‘regulatory alignment.’ And if you catch Johnson using that phrase, Farage will go through the roof, and rightly so.
For now, Johnson has the mojo. He’s strengthened the Tories, neutered the ERG, defeated Corbyn and put Farage back in his bottle. Brexit will happen.
This win will see investors flock into the U.K. and give serious consideration to what’s happening in the EU. While I think Johnson’s goal is to ultimately deliver BRINO — Brexit in Name Only — a collapse of the European banking system may force him politically to stand aside while it unfolds.
Because that is part of what the people voted against on Thursday. Europe’s debts are not the U.K.’s problem post-Brexit in their minds.
That’s what the EU leadership should be afraid of. And it’s clear from the way they’ve played this game with the U.K., they are.
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