Boris Johnson and the right-wing Tories in Cabinet are English nationalists who hope to turn UK into a US ‘colony’, a country where EU regulations are replaced by limited welfare, minimum standards, low taxes and low pay, writes Henry McLeish.
Rarely has a new Prime Minister been less deserving of a period of grace. Boris Johnson’s in his coveted new job and has unleashed a powerful range of divisive and potentially destructive ideas. Left unchecked, this approach, could weaken the Tory Party, destroy the Union, set the UK’s relationship with the EU back 50 years, engineer a catastrophic no-deal Brexit, embolden the most right-wing group of ideologues ever contained within a Tory Cabinet and, potentially the most damaging of all, embark on an uncritical embrace of the USA and President Donald Trump.
But Britain was promised something different! Less than a month ago, Boris was supposed to unite the Conservative Party, bring the country together, deliver Brexit, strengthen the ties that bind the Union and offer leadership “as only he could”. Instead his Cabinet and Government seem more like a new Leave campaign team, with the zealots and cheap patriots of the European Research Group occupying prominent roles.
Britain, it is claimed, is on a war-time footing, with tax-payer funded, pro-Brexit propaganda and billions of pounds being spent on preparations for a “no deal” Brexit. In doing so, Johnson is mocking the memory and achievements of a great war leader. Sir Winston Churchill was fighting fascism, the destruction of civilisation and the possible invasion of Britain. In sharp contrast, Johnson, a narcissist and opportunist, is only trying to cope with the most monumental act of self-harm this country has ever inflicted upon itself.
Telling lies, exploiting emotion, sentiment, and nostalgia, sprinkling billions on services his party has starved of resources and serving it up with a large dose of delusion and theatrics, are all designed to rally the great British public around the flag. But which flag and which public? Johnson’s populism and English nationalism go hand-in-hand. His brief visits to Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland were embarrassingly contrived, and confirmed for many, that Johnson’s Union is draped in the cross of St George.
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