It is not just a circus on Downing Street, it is a serious breach of public confidence. UK deserved BJ to remind it of its follies, now it deserves better to move forward.
“The best way to honor the memory of Jo Cox and indeed the best way to bring this country together would be, I think, to get Brexit done.” Those were the words spoken last week by Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of UK, in response to Tracey Brabin, Labour MP, who was elected to replace Jo Cox in the Lower House of the Parliament after murder of incumbent Jo Cox. Ms. Cox, a vocal Remainer, was murdered by an anti-EU extremist one week before Brexit referendum. The same day, Johnson thundered “humbug” on the floor of the Commons, in response to a plea by MP Paula Sherriff to stop using words that can incite violence, as Johnson is wont to do every day.
This was not the first time BJ crossed the line to the applause of his supporters on the floor and elsewhere. Boorishness, complete disregard for Parliamentary traditions, lack of respect for human life, devoid of appreciation of nuanced approach and self-professed ridicule for stiff upper lip, you name it, Boris has it for you. Words flow the other way round too – “untrustworthy”, “craven”, “cruel, uncaring and spoilt” are some of the softer invectives hurled against him as a matter of course.
None of these gets things moving. The unelected PM is not known for diplomacy or a gentle nudge, but his ascent was solely based on his promise of getting Brexit done by October 31. Since his elevation, he has lost every single vote he has faced, squandered his majority, and fired 21 MPs from his own party. His biggest gamble so far, ‘proroguing’ the Parliament was declared unconstitutional by UK Supreme Court in a unanimous verdict on Sep 24; Justices felt the government did not provide “any reason – let alone a good reason” for advising the Queen accordingly.
The Parliament returned triumphant next day to the session, it begs the question who is in charge. Deadline for Brexit is still Oct 31 but the Parliament voted to outlaw no-deal Brexit just before it was suspended. A snap election – or a second Referendum – is nearly impossible to achieve within the timeline; besides, Labour is in no mood to oblige the PM by acceding to another election before it forces Johnson to eat crow in public by pleading for another extension of Brexit deadline.
It is inevitable that Johnson soon earns another laurel – PM with the shortest sojourn at 10 Downing Street. There are rumors of Queen taking the matters on her hands, or a brewing revolt for supremacy amongst Tories. Even without Johnson, Parliament has proven incapable, repeatedly, to hash out an agreement implementing Brexit. If the new PM calls for an election, as seems inevitable post insurgency, Labour is unlikely to get a clear mandate. Labour leader is a known anti-Semite whose own views on Brexit are ambivalent at best. It is very likely Tories come back humbled and restrained – Teresa May looks like a Godsend to keep her calm and carry on.
It has been argued that Brexit drama is a reflection of good times that were, people just forgot how bad things can precipitate in a wink. Implicit – and explicit – antipathy to “people not like us” that fosters, and festers, characters like Nigel Farage, Marie Le Pen, and, Stephen Miller, to name a few enjoy fruits of hard work and vitality brought forth by these known unknown faces. It has also been argued the drama is actually a reflection of all that is good in a democracy – we eliminate all that is bad before we all gather around the best option. Maybe, but for most of us a clown face is difficult to tell apart from the Joker’s.
Perhaps UK just cannot handle having the Sun going down on its borders every single day. If there is a belief that simply being part of a Transnational Union dilutes essence of England, it is not just cultural conservatism. It is at best arrogance that refuses to work within the system, more likely it is simple xenophobia, or worse, racism. If UK could not get its way within EU, even when it is the second-largest European economy, and even when the system accords victor’s privileges to the country as reflected by UK being outside of the monetary union, there must be something in you that cannot work with others as equals to create the largest economic block in the world.
Maybe UK did deserve euphoria of BJ. Once the heady feeling goes away it is left with guilt, even regret, not to mention economic ruins – UK businesses are hollowing out already. Eyes eventually clear up reveal you are with pants down with a limp – an island nation with few natural resources and missed opportunities in global trade. You find yourself lethargic, devoid of economic energy and moral superiority that makes nations great. When breathing becomes easier, you actually hear yourself admitting you owe for the trouble, especially to Scotland and Northern Ireland who would not have any of the drama.
In the end, BJ was all that – a failed experiment in rah-rah nationalism that forgets an island nation is just that, an island out nowhere, if not for people who wade up its shores for a better world together. Yes, UK deserved BJ. Now it deserves something better.
It is time for Johnson to go. Now.
[Partha Chakraborty, Ph.D., CFA is an entrepreneur in Blockchain and Wealth Management in US and India. Dr. Chakraborty spent two decades in all parts of the Investment Management value chain globally; he lives in Southern California with his family. All opinions are of the Author alone, and do not necessarily represent that of any organization he may be part of. The author alone is responsible for any error or omission.]