Boris Johnson’s Resignation
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Political Observation - Boris Johnson’s Resignation
Observers acquainted with Boris Johnson's political record would not be surprised by the series of events that have recently topped the British and international newspapers, especially those preceding his resignation.
Since the beginning of his political and media career, Boris Johnson has been an opportunist in dealing with events and issues, as he is considered to be extremely skilful in reading the political scene and riding the waves of politics and steering them towards building a populist political aura for himself with the aim of reaching the premiership. These components in his personality played a significant role in selecting him as a man for the period in which he acceded to power to rescue Britain from the failure and political paralysis which resulted from the disunion within Parliament, and the fragmentation of the political milieu following the Brexit referendum results and Theresa May’s failure to lead the party and complete the exit deal with the European Union.
It is worth mentioning in this context that Johnson, who played a prominent role in the Brexit camp, had prepared two articles for publication before announcing his position. One of them was in support of the EU’s membership while the other was in support of Brexit. Then his political acumen led him to go along with the American-oriented atmosphere and the media mobilisation towards leaving the EU, especially since the Brexit camp was lacking the element of political celebrity which would enable it to lend some kind of credibility to its manifesto; this was corroborated by an opinion poll prepared by the Guardian newspaper, which showed that the voting trends of the British electorate were dictated by Prime Minister Cameron (44%) and then the Mayor of London Boris Johnson ( 32%).
This reality gave Johnson a platform to attract the British rightwing and bring it under his banner, while the Brexiteers found its way in Boris Johnson, who was presented to the public and the political milieu as a brand, namely,“He’s a celebrity. He’s a performer."
Boris Johnson was then favourite to replace Prime Minister David Cameron after the Brexiteers won, but former Levelling Up Secretary and Johnson’s partner in the Brexit camp, Michael Gove, stated at the eleventh hour that Johnson was “not capable of uniting that team and leading the party and the country,” and instead threw his hat in the ring, which resulted in the vote of Conservative parliamentarians with the right to elect the party's new leader going towards his campaign and leaving Boris Johnson without any supporters; this reflected a degree of distrust of the "Brexit" camp from among Conservative Party members of Johnson's promises made during his electoral campaign, and a degree of apprehension vis-à-vis the path he would take to get Britain out of the European Union; it also reflected that the time to hand Johnson the premiership was not ripe yet. Subsequently, the process was geared towards electing Theresa May as prime minister in an attempt to achieve the largest possible gains for Britain. However, after three years of attempts to reach a compromise, and amid the political divisions in London, Theresa May lost the American support which was reflected in Donald Trump’s behaviour towards her; she also lost the confidence of her party and resigned after Gove and Johnson had resigned from her cabinet. This paved the way for Johnson the “performer” to assume his role. Johnson enjoyed huge support from the deep state in the shape of a sweeping attack by the security services on the Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn, and leaked reports about his antisemitism, in addition to targeting the political manifesto of the Labour Party and deeming it a return to the EU and a betrayal of the vote “Leave”. This resulted in Johnson scooping the largest parliamentary majority since the Blair era of 2001 and battering the wall of the Labour Party that bulwarked the northern British constituencies.
However, Johnson’s “Levelling Up” policy towards the north, which involves reinvesting in the area and imposing a special tax to finance the costs of healthcare and social security for the elderly, was rebuffed by the political forces and public opinion, as social security policies and benefits consume more than £207 billion each year, i.e., 60% of the state’s expenditure.
The objection to Johnson’s policies is noticed from the tussles within his party, the departure of important figures from his cabinet, and the race of the candidates to replace him and their focusing on tax policies which would reduce the impact of Johnson’s policies.
In fact, the pace at which most of the former party leaders, including former prime ministers and cabinet ministers, distanced themselves from Johnson has revealed that he was only a man of a period with the task of achieving a complete exit from the EU, providing services pertinent to America's strategy towards Russia in the Ukrainian war, and pushing European states into the agenda of severe sanctions against Russia.
As for the repercussions of his standpoints pertinent to the domestic situation, he was unable to address them and bring the state out of its economic dilemmas. He rather faced a host of scandals and ethical questions about his violations and some of his ministers’ violations of Covid lockdown rules, and about corruption issues involving members of the Conservative Party. Moreover, his party lost several of its members, and lost in the local elections early last month. This compelled him to hide behind the agenda of Brexit, and play the chord of the Northern Ireland Protocol to win over his supporters. However, his clash with the Europeans regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol and his attempt to breach the American priorities to achieve personal gains, thus evoking America’s wrath, was a losing bet. This is because the crisis in Ukraine generated new priorities for the United States, including maintaining the unity of the Western alliance, and Johnson's behaviour and style no longer fulfilled America’s interests, especially with the fragmentation of the Conservatives’ ranks which could undermine their political weight and undermine the American priorities. Hence, the United States had to do away with Johnson. This was corroborated by the clear diplomatic message the White House sent through a senior State Department adviser who said that the Northern Ireland issue should not lead to any division within NATO so as not to give Putin the pretext to undermine the alliance America spent months in building. Moreover, several politicians from among the Conservative Party slammed Johnson’s personal approach, his failure to meet the pledges he had signed as a prime minister through the international treaties concluded with the EU, and his desire to circumvent them for political purposes. It is deduced from this that Johnson’s mission has come to an end and that he has contributed to speeding it up thanks to his miscalculations and gambles, his harnessing of the Russo-European crisis, and his significant services to Washington in the Ukrainian file to achieve a breakthrough in the Northern Irish file and reap some expedient and political gains on the domestic plane.
The US exasperation at Johnson became clear during the G7 Summit in Germany at the beginning of the month, where Biden snubbed him, contrary to the tradition between the US and Britain on the grounds of the “special relationship”. Perhaps Biden’s decision to snub Johnson at the G7 acted as a clear message to the British political forces stipulating that they should speed up his removal. Hence, the White House was indifferent in its statements pertinent to Johnson’s resignation, despite his flatteries towards Biden, such as describing his victory as a “breath of fresh air, and despite working with him shoulder to shoulder to execute the US agenda in Europe and East Asia, his partnership in the AUKUS deal, and the US-Japan Security Treaty, through which America is endeavouring to militarise Japan by amending the 9th article of the Japanese constitution, especially that the credentials of the Liberal Party have rocketed following the assassination of former prime minister Shinzo Abe; also, despite hosting Biden’s first overseas visit by organising the resigning of the Atlantic Charter and the G7 Summit, the White House announced that it “respectfully declined to weigh in on Mr Johnson’s troubles…internal British political matter that is out-of-bounds for public comment”. This is corroborated also by the statement of Joe Biden in which he did not mention Johnson by name, but contented himself by saying he looked forward to continuing America’s “close cooperation with the government of the United Kingdom”, stressing that “our alliance with the United Kingdom continues to be strong, our special relationship with the people will continue to endure, none of that changes.”
As for Russia’s decision to expose her relationship with Johnson, it falls under Russia’s endeavour to shore up the German and French standpoint towards Britain, considering that it acts as America’s Trojan Horse in Europe. Hence, his exposing falls within the endeavour to dilute the British role, exactly like what the British press did with Germany and France with regard to supplying Russia with weapons, and within the support given to the British Labour Party to fan the flames of the struggle between the two main parties in Britain, thus weakening the Conservative Party and its men in favour of the Labour Party leader Keir Starmer, amid the waves of scandals and corruption that have dealt the Conservatives a heavy blow, knowing that Starmer has built his reputation on being as pure as the driven snow.
In a nutshell, most of the British political milieu is infiltrated by America and shackled by the American willpower; this is corroborated by the British policies which are concordant with the American standpoints, and even by some of the British newspapers which admit that Britain is proceeding in the American orbit.
16 Thil Hijjah 1443h hizbuttahrir.org
15 July 2022