FOR & AGAINST: Boris Johnson
Tom Bromwich argues FOR Boris Johnson
The Blonde Bombshell has finally landed, and not a minute too late
The lovechild of Genghis Khan and Tommy Robinson is now our Prime Minister... or at least that’s what ‘The Independent’ and liberal-left are trying to argue. I am enthusiastic about our new Prime Minister, ushering in some much-needed optimism, excitement and vision. I am thoroughly confident that Boris Johnson will deliver Brexit, clear off the anti-Semitic cobwebs of Corbyn, and reaffirm the Conservatives as an economically liberal and socially tolerant party, a position which saw them win in 2010 and 2015, and saw Johnson salvage London from the clutches of ‘Red Ken’ and his band of merry soviets.
Johnson is, despite all the delusional screeching of Remainers, Corbynistas and self-indulgent, ‘bien-pensants’ millennials, the epitome of what these groups should support: Pro-gay rights, pro-amnesty for illegal immigrants, pro-Europe, pro-environmentalism, pro-women’s rights, I could continue. But all they have to respond to Johnson’s decades of support for these causes are the same old trigger words: ‘bumboys’, ‘letterboxes’, ‘big red bus’, ‘racist’, even ‘fascist’. Now, as sage and enlightening that the commentary of Owen ‘skimmed milk’ Jones and the Guardian Opinion section may be, I find it hard to see how Johnson has demonstrated the fascist traits of totalitarianism, racial hierarchy and ethno-genocide. Or is that just me?
The fact of the matter is, our new Prime Minister is the most socially liberal we have seen since 2001. During his tenure as MP for Henley, Johnson voted against raising tuition fees, voted in favour of the Gender Recognition Act, voted to increase funding of animal and environmental welfare, and voted to repeal the homophobic Section 28, whilst Jeremy Corbyn, the darling Supreme Leader of the millennial metropole abstained. The libellous condemnations of Johnson as ‘extreme right’, or even ‘alt right’ are laughable. I believe that once Brexit is out the way, we shall see Mayor Johnson reclaim his politics from the years of Brexit Boris. He shall push the policies that most people care about to the front of a Conservative agenda, notably climate change, gay rights, crime, and education.
‘But what about his past of saying shady and inflammatory things?’, I hear you ask.
The ‘letterboxes’ comment: most people (particularly on the liberal-left) are too lazy to read the full article he wrote, instead cherry-picking that which favours their blinkered view of the politician. He essentially says that Denmark and France were wrong to ban the garment, instead voicing how the garment is an oppressive restriction of religious freedoms. The fact they must wear this archaic robe, alongside the fact that it is gleefully endorsed by the Taliban, Boko Haram, ISIS and Al-Qaeda suggests that Johnson may be onto something when he is trying to question its place in British society.
Moreover, Johnson’s comments on ‘piccaninnies’ with ‘watermelon smiles’ was also an undoubtedly eyebrow-raising remark. He excuses it as ‘satire’, and to an extent it is. Just worded objectionably. He was highlighting the neo-imperialist interventionism of Tony Blair’s government on third world countries, using the language of a bygone era to emphasise that the policies of Blair are not too dissimilar to that of Cecil Rhodes or Lord Kitchener. Again, a comment wrenched out of context, but one which Johnson could have exercised more caution over.
Remember, this is a man who assures electoral success by being outlandish and provocative. He is certainly no ‘Britain Trump’, far from it. The only Trump-like qualities he has are peroxide stained hair and a penchant for hair-raising remarks.
My view is that Boris Johnson is the man who can deliver Brexit. The polls released this week show him tearing away pieces of Brexit Party support from 22% to 13%. He is clearly regarded as the politician to put the issue to bed and secure a ‘golden age’ for Britain. Furthermore, he is the best person to waft out the most squalid, stale, anti-Semitic, terrorist hugging and anti-personal hygiene Labour leader we have ever seen. A man who refused to attend dinner with the Leader of the Free World, but donned his tails and bow-tie for a man who is literally locking Muslims in concentration camps in China. He can inject enthusiasm into an election campaign in a way Theresa May never could, hoovering up Labour heartlands and metropolitan seats. This is a man who can really deliver a ‘golden age’ for the British economy and society, someone who can deliver on his promises, peddle some much-needed optimism and finally take the lead of his Brexit bulldog to chase away the “doomsters and gloomsters” who have hampered British success for the last 5 years. Viva Boris Johnson.
Dominic Gilonis is AGAINST Boris Johnson
How Johnson’s charisma & deceptions won him the premiership
It was a strange moment when I cast my vote in the Tory leadership election. The choice between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, which according to the media, was a choice between a staunch conservative (with a small 'c') and a closet Remainer who represented continuity with the May premiership. Yet the reality, while not the opposite, far more depressing for both conservatives and those who voted for Brexit. Johnson, while a charismatic and fiercely intelligent man, despite the image he has cultivated of a bumbling tussle-haired old Tory, has demonstrated throughout this leadership race the problems that will arise from his premiership, and how he will disappoint those seeking a truly conservative, patriotic and principled leader.
The reality is that Johnson has repeatedly reiterated his identity as a 'broadly libertarian' member of the Tories, demonstrated in part by his liberal views on drug legalisation. There has been, however, no real mention of his own consumption of illegal drugs up until this point, a fact that creates an obvious conflict of interest for when he gains much greater authority over the UK's drug laws. I am not saying that he cannot have an opinion about legalisation, yet the lack of a recusal, as in a declaration of his own conflict of interest in having broken a law he now has authority over, Johnson demonstrates his remarkable typicality among Tory frontbenchers, a similarity he has always tried to avoid. This also goes to disappoint those who believed he might toughen UK laws on drugs, or attempt to reinforce socially conservative values. Johnson was and remains a surprisingly socially liberal member of the Tories, especially on the topics of drugs and, to his credit, freedom of speech.
Moreover, while many admire his tough stance on Europe, his commitment to British independence faltered when it came to the recent scandal over Sir Kim Darroch's private emails. Whether you believe Darroch's comments were inappropriate or a private expression of personal opinion, Johnson has personally admitted that his refusal to back the ambassador was a mistake, one that has cost the UK a valuable diplomat and made the 'special relationship' appear even more one-sided. Johnson's lack of assertiveness with the US is an understandable response, given his probable hopes for a favourable trade deal following Brexit, yet indicates a willingness to compromise the reputation of the UK. This is in the aid, of course, of building a solid foundation of good relations with Trump for when we attempt to negotiate a trade deal, yet serves to simply swap one imbalanced relationship (with the EU) for another, while undermining UK sovereignty in the meantime.
This sovereignty is what Brexit voters are looking for, along with curbs on immigration from the EU. And yet Johnson has already announced an amnesty for half a million illegal immigrants, as well as declaring in one televised debate that he does not think we should necessarily bring immigration down to the tens of thousands. Even Theresa May, in her stint at the Home Office, made noises that this was her aim. How is it that he managed to become known as the Eurosceptic candidate, when Hunt was relatively clear on his intention to bring down immigration significantly?
The answer lies in the intense charisma and political manoeuvring that Johnson is an expert in. Despite the clownish buffoon he exhibits to the world, an image intended as far as one can see to lull his opponents into a false sense of security, Johnson is extremely capable in using media and alliances to turn welcome attention his way, as was seen during the 2012 Olympics. Indeed, despite his bombast about his hard stance on Brexit, Johnson's priority seems to be instead defeating Jeremy Corbyn in an election, what with his immediate focus on crime and transport upon taking office. His Cabinet seems, in the eyes of commentators, more like an electoral strategy committee than one focused on obtaining the best deal for Britain. The fear is that when Johnson does leave office he will be remembered as the Tory Blair, one who everybody loved at the time and nobody can remember why.