By William J. Furney
Boris Johnson’s “extraordinary” success, to use his own post-victory description of his election gamble, is testament to the power of the simple slogan — trotting the contentious maxim out at every opportunity, giving people no chance to forget, and even employing the imposing hulk of a bulldozer emblazoned with the words to smash through a fake wall and ram the bold message home.
And Donald Trump’s transforms into MAGA while Boris is left with GBD, which doesn’t exactly fall of the tongue and could certainly use a couple of vowels to give it true and memorable acronym status — LGBD, anyone? But then Let’s Get Brexit Done might then be rendered as an orientation-rights rival.
Like Trump, Boris is nothing if not protean — having the innate ability to adapt to the mood of the moment and change at will. Just as a chameleon can alter its colouring to blend in with the environment, so too can Boris shift his hues to meld with the times: he didn’t support the UK leaving the EU; he was fully for a Brexit. He’s riding a poulist wave of opinion and sentiment and fervently hopes he won’t come crashing down and be left hopelessly flailing among the drowning waves of a fickle crowd that has moved on to something else.
At least he has it so much better than the hapless Jeremy Corby, who helmed Labour to disaster in the election. The staunch Sociliast couldn’t come up with a stance on Brexit, never mind a catchy slogan, ridiculously preferring to remain “neutral” on the most pressing issue in British affairs for decades. It’s no wonder voters were appalled by the insipid and impotent main opposition chieftain; the electorate was terrified the IRA supporter would run Britain even further into the ground should he end up in No. 10.
As a result, fervent Labor supporters defected in their droves to the Tories, the most unlikely of political scenarios but one that nonetheless occurred, due to voters’ harsh distaste of Corbyn. After his resounding victory, Boris, a popular and two-time mayor of London, made a special effort to thank those who had switched parties.
“You may only have lent us your vote and you may not think of yourself as a natural Tory,” the twice-married 55-year-old with a girlfriend more than two decades his junior said in a rousing speech on the steps of No. 10.
“And as I think I said 11 years ago to the people of London when I was elected in what was thought of as a Labour city, your hand may have quivered over the ballot paper before you put your cross in the Conservative box and you may intend to return to Labour next time round.
“And if that is the case, I am humbled that you have put your trust in me, and that you have put your trust in us. And I, and we, will never take your support for granted.”
The 70-year-old, dithering Labor leader has since penned a letter to the readers of the Sunday Mirror scandalpaper about his party’s dire performance, saying the mass loss of Labor seats was “a body blow for everyone” and “I’m sorry that we came up short and I take my responsibility for it.” But militant Corbyn is now yesterday’s man, and is likely to be replaced as the head of Labour by Easter at the latest. Surely someone with some cred is in the ranks.
Meanwhile, it’s full steam ahead for Brexit, and with Boris and his Conservative majority taking seats in the House of Commons from tomorrow, it’s safe to say that the prime minister’s goal of getting Britain out of the EU by the end of January will be achieved. And Boris doesn’t even want to wait until Christmas to get the Brexit wrecking ball rolling, as he’s eyeing up a mandatory parliamentary vote on the affair in the next week and a vital trade agreement with the EU by the end of next year.
“I can absolutely confirm that we will have an opportunity to vote on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in relatively short order and then we will make sure that it passes before January 31st,” cabinet officer minister Michael Gove told Sky News today.
EU leaders hardly know what to think, but one thing’s for sure: they’re relieved there’s finally some closure on the Brexit imbroglio in sight, as three and a half years of uncertainty have taken a heavy economic and political toll. Now Can We All Please Just Move On? is the common and newest mantra (and it doesn’t translate into an effective acronym).
Like him or loathe him, we’re stuck with Boris and his bulldozing Brexit ways — even if he doesn’t entirely agree with what he’s doing.