Boris Is Out and With It Transatlantic Populist Buffoonery. But What Now in Ukraine and China?

Britain now needs, practically, a business savvy economist type who can straighten out the mess of double digit inflations, food and fuel shortages.

With the resignation of Boris Johnson, it should be noted, that not only the UK, but the world has reached a milestone with populist leaders. Britain has had its experiment as Boris was voted in, for many, as a counterweight to wokeism and political correctness which is getting out of hand. But now the country and the Conservative Party will search for a more sensible, business-focussed leader, who can restore confidence with the electorate but also fix the economy. Not easy tasks leaving you with only pity for the next prime minister who has two years to restore order to Britain before the next general elections.

But has the world had its experiment with populist leaders and their offering? For Boris, the big issue was being eccentric and perhaps self-centred enough to be a singular defining force against the EU and to get Brexit done – which many would argue he has only half completed, as Brexit is so much more than just getting a new deal with Brussels. Boris failed, we should remember, to get the benefits on paper of Brexit into reality.

If we look at the U.S. now, many will wonder if Trump will come back in 2024, burdened by the possibility of even being indicted or charged for a whole host of unpresidential behaviour and skulduggery, which some might simply call ‘corruption’.

What the Boris story should tell us is that such populist leaders have a very limited tenure and even shorter popularity once the realities of not working with advisors and other experts start to become clear. Boris broke all the rules and was very presidential in many ways. In so many ways he was a better educated Donald Trump, but in the end, it was the economy which no one will admit, was his downfall. Sure, all the cabinet members and backbench MPs all mentioned a “lack of confidence” in Boris’s ability to lead, but in reality it was the economy going off the rails which spooked everyone. Britain now needs, practically, a business savvy economist type who can straighten out the mess of double digit inflations, food and fuel shortages and to restore how the UK is seen around the world.

Which brings us to the Ukraine. Will its populist leader, Mr Zelensky, feel the heat from the British calamity? Since the beginning of the Russian military operation, it was always Britain and Boris which led the charge against the Russians and it was Boris who took the role on as that western leader who convinced Zelensky to “fight to the last man” against the Russians. Now that Boris is gone, will the next PM continue with such a campaign? Unlikely.

People all around the world are beginning to wake up and see how the war is costing so much more for those in the West who impose farcical sanctions against Russia – while still being addicted to its oil and gas – rather than the Russians themselves. Boris was part of the phalanx of western leaders in cheap suits who only focused on the end of Putin, without being able to look at the costs, in exactly the same way he took his eye off post-Brexit economics. It is possible that the interruption now in British politics as the conservative party seeks a new leader, will lead to a period of reflection about Britain’s role in the war in Ukraine, perhaps even leading to a moment of sobriety which sparks a debate about negotiating a peace, restoring global markets and closing the chapter on food and energy shortages everywhere. These kinds of comments are appearing in the left-wing press every so slightly already and it is likely that they will gain traction once a new PM is in Downing Street.

But don’t hold your breath for huge changes or a turn around in policies. The new leader will be lead by the UK’s foreign intelligence service on the points that matter around the world, and China will still be seen as an enemy and a threat to western dominance, both economically and geopolitically.

What the end of Boris’s tenure signals is that the transatlantic buffoonery of populist leaders of UK and U.S. is over. Even if Trump is re-elected in 2024, he will not find a friend in Downing Street to support his wacky ideas about the Middle East, China and America’s role in the world. Whether we liked to admit it or not, in this respect, Boris was a poodle on the knee of America’s President in office and we should not expect the next PM in the UK to follow the mantra. Britain First will be the doctrine in a bid to win back the confidence of Tory voters and Old Labour ones who voted for Boris only to get the UK out of the EU. Next time around, it will all be about tackling poverty, taxes and adapting to post-Brexit realities. Whether the conservatives can avoid a hung parliament or not, will be hard to guess. But for the moment, Britain is about to regain some credibility around the world and restore confidence in the parliamentary system and in politics in general. And that can’t be a bad thing. In the end, even Larry the Downing Street cat lost confidence in its owner. Zelensky will be watching the events very closely and wondering how short his own ephemeral popularity will be, as at least 200 Ukrainian soldiers die each day and there doesn’t seem to be any hope of any kind of victory for him in his country. No wonder he is talking about ending the war in October.

By Martin Jay
Source: Strategic Culture Foundation

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