Prime Minister Boris Johnson tries to lead the UK

Previous thread about May’s resignation and Johnson’s election as PM: https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=876044

Brexit, Brexit, Brexit and Brexit - oh, yeah, and the economy, budget, immigration, education, defense, environment, etc. How’s he doing? Opinions welcomed both from Brits and non-Brits.

What?.. Nothing about rebuilding Hadrian’s Wall with Irish labor and having Scotland pay for it?

First read that as “leave the UK”, which would have been much better news.

My opinion is that he’s a lying, corrupt hypocrite who will happily destroy the country (possibly literally) for his own profit and aggrandisement, and who - based on his career so far - will likely manage to escape being held accountable for his actions because he has funny hair and bumbles about a bit.

Its early days, and the parties on both sides of politics are couching almost everything in terms of entrenched pro and anti Brexit terms.

Every person with anything to say seems to have a personal take on their corner without any regard whatsoever to the bigger picture - seems to me its all short termist me me me politics right now.

Difficult to say how he is doing, so many folk are determined to have him fail it is really hard to find any commentary from objective sources - even the BBC seems to be carrying out studio interviews with loaded panels, mind you it has been doing that for some time.

Scots nats will spin everything into a referendum for another independence vote, Lefties are spinning everything into a confidence vote in the hope of a general election, Welsh seem to be spinning everything for a second Brexit referendum - despite Wales as a whole voting to leave.

Labour seem to be pressing for a second vote when their core areas of support were solidly behind leave, - a general election for them would likely be political suicide but their party leaders seem to be listening to their activists instead of their electorate.

Other groups that benefit from fixed prices such as farmers who love EU intervention, but hate support for industry because they see it as subsidy, can see their exposure to market forces as a bad thing for them - so they are up in arms - which matters because they are traditionally supporters of the Conservatives, and as for the Irish, both sides of the border - what a mess, its been a mess for the last 150 years and its unlikely to get better after years of relative peace - they are all pointing at the sky in different and incompatible directions and being impossible.

Many conservative MPs are solidly pro EU and seem to be threatening to bring down the government in a confidence motion - which is very much like snowmen booking their summer holidays.

Anyone who thinks a second vote or a general election will resolve anything will get an extremely nasty surprise - the failure to undertake the wishes of the majority has already allowed Boris Johnson to become PM, giving the electorate further votes will divide the country deeper and likely create a huge opportunity for more robust leave parties.

Boris Johnson has to manage all that - he needs all the luck in the world and it is unlikely he will get it.

You trump the thread!

The real challenge to Boris isn’t overt party revolt (won’t happen) or Labour forcing a vote of no confidence (Labour couldn’t force a toothpick through a wet tissue). The challenge is that even with DUP support, he’ll still only have a majority of 2 (which could be reduced to 1 if Brecon & Radnorshire goes as expected on Thursday). That means that not only will he be held hostage by the DUP, he could also be held hostage by every member of his party. One defector and his government crumbles.

John Oliver did a piece on him this Sunday. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dXyO_MC9g3k

That’s why he will make impossible promises to everybody about everything, try to appear strong and decisive, take a hard line with the EU… and call an election.

He will come to an agreement with Farage, and hope that he gets a decent majority. Then he will try to force through no-deal, by fair means or foul.

He’s not even a week in to the job yet, so it’s hard to say how he’s doing. But there are signs of his overall approach to Brexit.

Broadly, there are three possible futures, to coin a phrase, for Britain re Brexit:

Agree a withdrawal deal and exit the EU;
Exit with no deal;
Rescind Article 50 and stay in the EU*.

The current deadline for one of these things to happen is Oct 31. By default, option 2 - No Deal Brexit - is what will happen unless one of the other two does, or the UK and EU agree a further extension of time.

When May was PM, the government’s approach was to try to get a deal. She came to an agreement with the EU - the Withdrawal Agreement. Getting it ratified meant winning a vote in Parliament, which she failed to do three times. Johnson, although he voted for the Withdrawal Agreement as a Cabinet Minister, is not pursuing that strategy.

He appears to have a twin approach -push the EU to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement, while preparing for No Deal. The EU has been pretty emphatic that it is not going to renegotiate, so there is a strong element of brinksmanship to all this. It is not yet entirely clear whether Johnson considers No Deal a viable policy for Britain, or if this is merely a negotiating ploy. The messaging has been…mixed:

  1. in his campaign to be elected Leader of the Conservative Party, Johnson said that the chances of No Deal were a “million to one”.
  2. As PM, his first actions were to fire most of his cabinet and replace them with people who back No Deal, and to task a senior minister to accelerate No Deal programming. That minister told the press that the governemnt were working towards No Deal.
  3. Questioned about this, Johnson insisted that No Deal was not on the cards and that his plan was to get a deal with the EU.

It’s hard to discern if this is the work of a Machiavellian mastermind or a floundering fuckwit. Certainly Johnson has a reputation for being the former; he also has a track record of weak grasp of detail, vacillation and changing his mind to suit the needs of the moment. He’s quite capable fo saying one thing on Monday and another on Tuesday, and meaning both sincerely. Neither should be taken as evidence of what he might say on Wednesday.

All this analysis is complicated by the fact that Johnson has brought in to government Dominic Cummings, who lead the Vote Leave campaign. Cummings does think strategically and revels in disorienting his opponents by doing the unexpected. The lurch towards hard Leavery feels very much like his kind of move - it not only leaves the EU wondering what’s going on, it also scores a political win by shooting the fox of the Brexit Party, who were poised to threaten the Tories from the right in any forthcoming election, but who will have little to say against a policy they back.

The election is of course the other big element in this. Johnson’s majority in the Commons is down to 3, I think, and there are as casdave says a lot of Tory MPs (not least some recently fired Ministers) who have no love for Johnson and still less for No Deal. So winning an election and getting a malleable majority soon would be a good thing for Johnson. Of course, just because you want something doesn’t mean you can get it, and the polls don’t look amazing. So a good 50% of everything he does now will be done with an eye on winning popularity. His current tour of the UK, involving a new spending commitment at every stop, seems to be very much in this line. However, the No Deal stuff is risky, electorally speaking. It will be disruptive in the short term, and various groups (e.g. farmers, per casdave above) are being pretty vocal about that. The aim will be to blame it on the EU and/or Labour/Lib Dems/Wet Tories.

But, again, he’s just started. It’s hard to tell what he’s going to try for. It is easy to see from his past career that he’s an intellectually lazy ditherer and bully with a terrifying inability to grasp complex detail, so I’m not optimistic.

Included for completeness, not out of any actual belief in its plausibility. A lot of stuff would have to happen for this to be a serious option.

Boris is an lying adulterous narcissist who makes foolish snap decisions. :mad:
He’s failed as Foreign Secretary and also lost taxpayers millions over an imaginary bridge (as Mayor of London.)

Three years after a narrow vote to leave the EU (on a poorly-phrased referendum), there is no agreement on:

  • whether to leave
  • what sort of terms should apply if we do leave
  • how to resolve the Irish border question.

Boris doesn’t do detail, so he’s just claiming that in the next few months:

  • he can renegotiate a new deal with the EU (no chance)
  • he can solve the Irish border question (perhaps he’ll build a bridge somewhere :smack: )
  • the UK will have a stronger union (particularly crass - far more likely that Scotland leave)

If Boris is the answer, then the question is about ‘style over substance’. :eek:

Surely you mean that Johnson is the latter?!

I do wonder about the first part though. I mean, with Trump or Farage or Reese-Mogg you can really easily connect the money dots. They’re in red. And bolded. And the fuckers write books about their precious fucking dots, too.
Is there such an obvious self-profit angle with the be-mopped potato ?
(true honest question - I’m not concern trolling or socratic questioning or nuffin’. I have no earthly idea)

He will only call an election as a last resort, having learned the lesson of the last election where Theresa May went in confident of an increased majority and took a major hit to it instead. If he can bluff and bluster through to the end of October without an election, he will.

You’re right - I’m making assumptions here about his finances.

But Boris was staunchly pro-EU before he decided that a narrow loss while leading the Leave campaign would allow him to ride a wave of resentment into Number 10. Unfortunately he unexpectedly won and immediately ran away from any responsibility to deliver what he’d promised. And now he’s back, clearly determined to drive the country toward a no-deal Brexit. If it’s not the money, then I don’t know what game he’s playing - he’s not a True Believer and he knows it’s not going to turn out to be all the sunshine and lollipops he’s been promising.

He looked like the dog who’d caught the car on referendum night you mean.

I’d love to see the no deal Brexit go through. Johnson isn’t the best advocate for it. It would be a huge win for free market capitalism. Small is good. I doubt it can be pulled off.

How is reducing the size of the free trdae area and adding a load of new regulations for trading a win for free market capitalism?

The UK can shed EU regulations and unilaterally drop barriers to trade that are required for EU membership. The net effect could be more freedom in trade if it is handled correctly.

Small nations do no have the ability to pursue protectionist policies because they would be immediately felt by the consumer. You will find that small nations are more likely to adopt free trade policies.

That’s really what’s puzzling me. I don’t know what he’s about. He seems to have sort of bumbled himself into anti-EU politics because back when he was a journalist he found it effortless and the path of least giving a fuck to write alarmist nonsense and that was it - and that is still it. Beyond all the studied and deliberate bumbling, it really seems to me like he’s on the side of the devils because, well, he’s lazy and that requires the least effort and politics is better than having a *real *job.
Which is somehow more scary than all the McConnels in the world, to me.