Even if you don’t pay a lot of attention to what goes on within the United Kingdom, there’s a good probability you’ll have heard the name Boris Johnson before.
A former Mayor of London, former British Foreign Secretary and present media personality, Johnson finally launched his official campaign to replace Teresa May as Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on Monday.
He joins a crowded field — however, he’s most likely the sole candidate whose name resonates outside of the United Kingdom.
Johnson announced a slickly-produced video on social media some minutes after US President Donald Trump stepped off Air Force One at the beginning of a state visit to the United Kingdom. Johnson received the implied approval of Trump at the weekend.
The timing — that can’t probably have been coincidental — ensures that coverage of Day one of the Johnson campaign is muted. That will somewhat be a part of the strategy — Johnson is acutely aware that being the frontrunner at the beginning of any leadership campaign doesn’t continuously see well. It may even have the effect of defusing the impact of the Trump endorsement. Below traditional circumstances, the approval of a U.S. President would be a boon to any leadership hopeful. However, Johnson, already often described as the British Trump, is aware that he cannot afford to seem to any extent further divisive if he’s to achieve winning the Conservative leadership. The backing of Trump isn’t possible to win him the chums he wants from moderates.
Seen by several as the man who most influenced the UK’s call to go away the European Union, Johnson is adored by Brexiteers and loathed by Remainers. However if his the launch video is something to travel by, it’s clear that Johnson understands that whoever takes over from May needs to unite a country still badly divided by the Brexit referendum.
In the video, Johnson is seen talking to people from ethnically diverse backgrounds and to voters across the political divide. He talks concerning uniting the country and hammers home the necessity for the United Kingdom to be positive and assured. It’s truthful to mention that this can be miles off from the Trumpian approach of doing politics.
Johnson’s international name recognition has not always been achieved for good reasons.
His intensive list of controversies includes such hits as calling people across the commonwealth “flag-waving piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles,” saying that women who wear Muslim face veils look “like letterboxes” and writing a literary work concerning Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan having sex with a goat.
It’s not just simply gaffes: Johnson has been criticized for saying that a British citizen who is serving a jail term in Iran for alleged undercover work was in the country to teach people journalism. The Iranian authorities jumped on this and used Johnson’s statement as proof against her.
So, it would come as a surprise that such a moot figure is the frontrunner to be the subsequent PM.
Johnson’s history as a two-term mayor of London — a city that skews heavily towards voting for the opposition Labor party– has always been seen as the Conservative’s not-so-secret weapon.
However, since the referendum, he has become one among the foremost divisive political figures in the country. Leavers see him as a hero of the Brexit campaign;
Remainers suppose that he lied his way to victory and is accountable for the mess the nation is in.
As recently as October, most Conservative MPs recognized that Brand Boris had become too virulent and that he wasn’t a viable choice to replace May, whenever the moment came.
It’s not simply within the kingdom that Johnson divides opinion. The capital of Brussels elite, with whom the United Kingdom has been negotiating Brexit, bear in mind
His time there as a journalist covering the EU, wherever he wrote dubious stories about how Brussels operated. That, combined along with his antics since the referendum, makes it impossible that he would be seen as a reputable negotiating partner by the powers-that-be.
Given that one in each of the key tasks for any new PM is to convince Brussels to renegotiate May’s Brexit blueprint — the very thing that Johnson resigned from her
Cabinet over — crowning Johnson as prime minister seems a strange choice.
So why on earth is he the Conservative favorite?
It’s all about Brexit
Much has changed since October. First, May’s deal is nigh dead and her leadership is drawing to a detailed. Brexit hasn’t been delivered, which implies that a variety of options are back on the table. for several Conservatives, this implies the prospect of a more durable Brexit, or even leaving the EU without a deal — something May was ultimately unwilling to try and do.
Brexiteers believe that Johnson would be pleased with letting the clock run down and not requesting a Brexit extension. More importantly, they believe that the EU believes he would do this.
They also believe that Johnson is that the solely Conservative WHO is magnetic enough to take on the distinctive electoral challenges facing the party at the moment.
Jeremy Corbyn’s opposition Labour party is gunning for an election, calculating that a Conservative Party in chaos would be easy to select off. The Conservatives also are facing a brand new electoral threat in Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party. The longer Brexit doesn’t happen, the more support this new, openly no-deal supporting the group is likely to get.
It’s definitely a risk. The Conservative Party is badly divided and lots of within the party believe that Johnson isn’t up to the work. He’s seen as Teflon and lazy by a number of his fellow MPs. And being popular with Conservative members is very completely different from being popular with the country at large — particularly among Remain, voters.
It may backfire badly for the Conservatives and ultimately hand the keys to 10 Downing Street to Corbyn, a man they see as a risk to national security. However sadly for the Conservatives, their bungling of Brexit has left them with only a few choices.