I do not think so. He is only wrong in his belief with the Brexit Great Britain would be „great again“. The situation of Great Britain is so confused and difficult to repair, that only a second referendum could clear the political compass. All the possible consequences of a potential „No-deal Brexit“ cannot be forseen , even the breaking away of Scotland, the down-turn of the financial industry in London and a totally new security situation in NATO and EU, see the conflict with Iran, is likely. I think we have to eventually regain the European partner England, may be first Scotland and then with another referendum. Europe has become more unstable again and needs to rebuild its strength and active decision making and state-building of Europe is more urgent than ever. Stephan Werhahn
But Johnson is a very English version of the modern tribune of the people. Calling him a “racist”, like the Irish publicist Fintan O’Toole, is a bit clumsy. Johnson undoubtedly belongs to the upper class that considers its own nation the crowning glory of civilization. This could bring a new, irritating tone to the Brexit negotiations. But Johnson is not a narrow-minded “Little-Englander”. He worships the image of the polyglot Brit too much and also the idea of free trade. He sees migration as a gain, not a threat.
Johnson, born in New York, raised in Brussels, enthusiastic about London, moves culturally in a liberal milieu. In his party he is not on the right side, but in the middle, in socio-political issues even on the left. If something hinders him, then it is not restriction, but an almost childlike enthusiasm for everything “big” and a certain narcissism, a greed, to be liked. But in recent years he has already had to learn that he no longer enchants everyone with his charm, just as he has learned in recent weeks to withdraw as a joker.
Johnson knows that his political destiny, like that of his predecessors, is determined by the European question. David Cameron rushed over the idea of “clarifying” it through a referendum, Theresa May over the attempt to implement the result. If Johnson fails to resolve the Brexit blockade, he could quickly find himself in the back seat. The party has given him a mandate to “get the Brexit done” and lead the country out of the EU on 31 October – with or without a deal – but by the summer break at the latest he will feel that a significant number of MEPs want something else.
Johnson observed up close how May’s (late) efforts to reach a consensus in the House of Commons failed. He therefore wants to take the other path and take the risk of forcing a hard Brexit with the extremely narrow government majority. Those who trust in Johnson’s opportunism and believe in a turnaround after taking office may be mistaken. For a man who takes Winston Churchill as his measure and otherwise declares Pericles his role model, a “No-Deal-Brexit” is not the end of the story.
The Brexit voters, whose numbers have remained surprisingly stable since 2016, have become noticeably uneasy. The fact that they are still waiting for their resignation cannot be explained by the complexity of the company or the government’s lack of plans. Rather, they see a clandestine axis of prevention at work, stretching from the Remain MPs and Mandarins in Westminster to Brussels. “Boris” think they are the only one who can break this axis.
Johnson does not only want the rapid resignation in order to keep and win back these voters. He now sees Brexit as a remedy: only when it is administered can the poison escape the debate, the ugly crop of the Brexit Party shrink and the conservatives close their wounds and muster the strength to keep Labour leader Corbyn out of power. The Brexit, Johnson believes, will bring political stability back. The economic upheavals that a hard Brexit would bring, at least temporarily, are negligible.
One can shake one’s head over Johnson’s diagnosis, but Europeans should remember this when he travels to Brussels and asks for a “new deal”. Unlike May, who never threatened a no-deal brexit, Johnson is prepared to leave without a contract if necessary. Nobody knows whether he can be stopped by Parliament. To do so, his own people would have to overthrow him in a vote of no confidence, and not many Tories would want to go to new elections without a completed Brexit and run the risk of losing power. However, two rebels would be enough to bring Johnson down.
Britain’s next prime minister is not “mad”. He is, on the contrary, calculating and endowed with a sense of mood, even if it could deceive him this time. “Mad”, crazy, is only the situation in which the British, Scots and Northern Ireland find themselves three years after the referendum.