There has been a welcome break over the past month or six weeks in the blanket coverage of Brexit, but that is set to return when the new leader of the Conservative Party and new British Prime Minister is chosen in the next month.
It would appear that Boris Johnson will be that person – and if that happens, then we are in for a rough time here in this country. It has nothing to do with any row that he is alleged to have had with his girlfriend, or his private life in general, it’s to do with the fact that he doesn’t care about or (even more worryingly) understand the situation in Ireland.
Earlier this year I visited a part of England (not far from London) which is a Conservative Party heartland. The majority of people in this particular part of the UK are ‘well to do’. They send their kids to private schools, attend Royal Ascot and the Henley Regatta, etc. They are the polar opposite of people in the north of England who wanted the UK out of the EU because ‘the immigrants were taking all our jobs’ – but the affluent folk I encountered are equally anxious that they get out of the EU as fast as possible. And they couldn’t care less about Ireland.
You may not believe this, but the majority of the people I spent a few days’ amongst believe that the UK is a major world power. They hate having to take instructions from “the Germans and French…and Brussels”. One man said to me: “How dare those Europeans come in here and tell us what to do, we are the UK”.
Most people might laugh and dismiss that point of view, but Boris Johnson would not be too far removed from that type of thinking. A lot of people in the UK reckon that they will be far better off outside the EU and they couldn’t care less about what happens in Ireland or what the consequences of Brexit might be.
The worry about the likely accession of Boris Johnson to the top job in the UK is that he is very much like Donald Trump, in that he is not a conviction politician. To my mind, Boris has no vision for the country at all. He will govern on the hoof, in the style of Trump.
As in the case of Trump, it would appear that regardless of what accusations are made about Johnson’s private life, he will get away with it. His rival, Jeremy Hunt, is just too bland to be able to defeat him. Unless something very substantial and negative comes out about Johnson, then he is set for No. 10.
The depressing reality for Ireland is that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal it will be a disaster for this country and our economy. At this stage that scenario is far more likely than unlikely. It is something that we should be worried about.
I wouldn’t be the biggest fan of Leo Varadkar in the world, but looking at Trump, Boris Johnson, Putin and Macron – to name but a few – we are lucky here that we have a number of calm politicians running this country. However, it won’t make much difference if Prime Minister Boris Johnson pulls the plug on the EU – without a deal.