By William J. Furney
To publicly admit you’re a supporter of the United Kingdom’s proposed departure from the mighty European Union is to usually invite scorn and ridicule: you’d be seen as a small- and closed-minded individual who wanted a ridiculous return to the glory days of Empire, a time when Britain ruled the global waves and there were few, if any, non-whites in the motherland.
And yet the four-nation country of 66 million people voted to sever ties with the 28-country bloc over three years ago, but still hasn’t been able to work out how it’s going to come about. One prime minster is gone because of the ongoing convulsions (two, if you count Brexit-enabler David Cameron, a still relatively young man whose political career is effectively over); another is battling to stay in office, after he just got into No. 10.
And now, as hot-headed Boris Johnson — a former journalist and two-time major of London, as well as a short-lived foreign secretary, under his predecessor, the equally short-lived Theresa May — is undergoing the kind of convulsions that his country has been enduring for the last few years, as he tries to make good on his aim to take the UK out of the EU. It was Boris and his big, red bus that told everyone to vote to leave anyway — with huge lettering on its sides peddling the fib that many millions of pounds going to Brussels would be spent on the perennially crisis-hit National Health Service instead.
As parliament voted last week to block a no-deal exit from the European Union by the divorce date of October 31, and the upper House of Lords (an unelected bunch of otherwise engaged folk in fancy robes who love collecting big fees, for doing very little indeed — how’s that for the democracy Brexit-lovers bleat about?) passed the bill, Boris is left with runny egg all over his great, big face — especially given his typically hyperbolic declaration that he’d “rather be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit”.
It’s all a huge mess for a country that for so long had been revered around the world but that now risks losing its standing over a xenophobic desire to cut itself off from the world and go it alone.
Not content with hurricane-force bluster to try and get his Brexit way, Boris, who ostensibly styles himself on British wartime leader Winston Churchill — a lofty aspiration dismissed and ridiculed by the lauded WWII prime minster’s grandson, Nicholas Soames, who also branded Brexit cheerleader Jacob Rees-Mogg “an absolute fraud — is now toying with the idea of breaking the law so he can sever ties with the EU. In doing so, he, of course, is not above the law and could end up behind bars, further plunging the UK into wild, further-chaotic disarray.
Hapless main opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn just doesn’t know what to do. Why Labour — Britain’s second-largest party and largely the choice of urban and working-class voters — has been unable to select someone who does not have the charisma, appeal and look of a tragically wet paper bag is a mystery. Corbyn’s latest musings on the Brexit debacle is that “We’re in quite extraordinary territory when the prime minister says he is above the law.”
He added, for what it’s worth: “They are preparing for chaos. The best thing they could do is actually make sure he abides by the decision of parliament, which has passed a new act, in order to prevent a crashing out on 31 October, and extend for three months in order for there to be sensible negotiations with the EU. Any sensible prime minister would do that.”
The problem with multimillionaire, multi-divorced, New York-born Boris who was elite-educated in England, is that he thinks he can have it all and there will be no consequences whatsoever. For him, Brexit is just an end-game in his ultimate desire to conquer whatever he sees fit. Former attorney general Dominic Grieve says the 55-year-old with a pretty, new and young girlfriend living with him at No. 10 is behaving like “a spoilt child having a tantrum” because MPs just will not go along with his Brexit desires.
The Tory pol who was booted out from the party this week for daring to back the new no-deal Brexit law, said Boris could be “sent to prison for contempt” if he goes against the virgin legislation and crashes the UK out of the EU without a deal of any kind.
Boris may be many things, and he certainly speaks a lot of bull, but if one thing’s for sure in this rolling disaster of the Conservatives’ making, it’s that he’s not about to give up his life, loves and liberty for the sake of a self-aggrandising adventure.
In the meantime, we rapidly roll on towards the end-October deadline, in the hope it’s not going to be a desultory Halloween horror story.