Konversations with Kapil @The Blonde Bombshell wins Bigby Opinion Express August 12, 2019 0 comments
On 23rd July 2019, the Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP was elected by more than 66% of those who voted as the next leader of the Conservative Party in the UK. The direct result of that momentous decision being that on 24th July Her Majesty the Queen duly appointed him as her Prime Minister.
So how did we get here and what does this mean for the UK and the rest of the world?
Ever since the debate about the UK leaving the European Union (EU) became a manifestation within British society, it became apparent that increasingly the electorate had become impatient with the EU and more importantly, they had lost trust and confidence in the EU project. So, when the then Prime Minster the Rt Hon David Cameron MP gave the nation a once in lifetime referendum to decide whether the UK should remain a member of the EU, or to withdraw, the country erupted into a national debate that both sides wanted to win. It was a fierce contest between the ‘Remainers’ and the Brexiters’, and dare I say, both sides threw everything into their preferred narrative including the proverbial kitchen sink. Like any contest, to get the core message across you require a lead person. Someone who connects the message with the mindset of the voters. In this contest whilst we had on one side almost the whole of the then Government machinery as well as the opposition politicians all united to fight to remain in the EU, you had on the other side a small group of dedicated people who had a message and were clear in their presentation. This message for Brexit was spearheaded by Boris Johnson. He became the face of Brexit, supported well by a small team of articulate politicians and others. They cut through the white noise of the Remainers and the biased media and to the horror of the ruling class, and of course the stubborn EU, the British people voted to leave.
PM Cameron resigned immediately, and the Rt Hon Theresa May MP was duly elected as his replacement. There was only one problem. She was a ‘Remainer’ and in her heart did not want the UK to leave the EU. What followed was three years of shambolic negotiations with the EU to agree on a ‘withdrawal agreement’. She failed in almost every aspect of Brexit because she made a fundamental error of entering a negotiation with a mindset of appeasing to the EU and not fulfilling the mandate of the people. It all came to a head in 2019 and as the months passed it became clear the Prime Minister had lost the confidence of the nation and her party in delivering Brexit. As she declared her resignation there was renewed hope in the nation that maybe the Conservative Party will select someone who believed in Brexit and can deliver it with sincerity.
And our story come alive as a result of this momentous decision. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was born in the 60s. He had a privileged background and went to leading private schools. Let us be very clear, he may come across as someone who does not take things seriously, and many in the UK as well as internationally assume that he might not be all that bright, that would be a huge error of judgement. PM Johnson is intelligent and shrewd in equal measure. He has an instinct for politics that you cannot teach or learn. He came into politics from a career in journalism. His first major triumph, he beat Ken Livingstone to become the Mayor of London. No Conservative politician stood any chance of winning in London. This capital city with its higher proportion of ethnic minorities has a huge predisposition to be a Labour Party strong hold. Couple that with the fact he was facing Ken Livingstone, the man who championed Labour against PM Thatcher, and a darling of the London electorate. And guess what, the Boris factor was like a tsunami. He persuaded the London electorate to elect him and elect him they did. He became the Mayor twice in a row. People should have learnt their lesson at that time, that here is a man who has the will and the determination to take on huge challenges, and he always bets on himself to win. That is a winning mentality that again you cannot teach or learn. It’s in his very DNA.
So, on 24th July PM Johnson took office. He entered 10 Downing Street and you could sense in the air, that something special was about to happen and take everyone by surprise. No sooner had he got his feet under the table and news started filtering out, PM Johnson had already sorted out most of his front-line Cabinet. Within a few hours he declared the key positions.
Chancellor of the Exchequer: Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP
Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State: Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP
Home Secretary: Rt Hon Priti Patel MP
Secretary of State for Defence: Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP
Secretary of State International Development: Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office): James Cleverly MP
Chief Secretary to the Treasury: Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP
PM Johnson had proved his critics wrong yet again. In one masterstroke, he appointed not only an intelligent and competent Cabinet, but one that reflected equalities and diversity in its true sense. This is the Conservative Party that has become the first British political Party to appoint such a diverse front bench in the most powerful positions. We must remember it was after all the Conservatives that gave the UK it only two female leaders and Prime Ministers, so PM Johnson has taken the Party forward and way beyond all the other political Parties put together. In what can only be seen as an astonishing own goal, the politicians on the left (and the Labour Party) attacked the new Cabinet and in effect called the ethnic Cabinet members – not ethnic enough. The reality of the racist underbelly of the left was exposed for everyone to see. Can you imagine, here we have got some outstanding politicians in the Conservative Party, promoted to some of the most senior positions because of their competence, and we end up with the left exhibiting their racism for all to see. There is a clear message for the BAME communities in the UK. If you think the left are your friends, then you are seriously misguided. The left will tolerate ethnic minorities as long as they tow the line. Their objective is the enslavement of the BAME and to hijack the equalities agenda. However, today their inherent racism has been exposed for once and for all. It’s for the electorate now to understand this and take appropriate action.
Back to the developments at Number 10. As the news filtered to the media gathered outside, one could sense both shock and awe at what was unfolding. No one had predicted that PM Johnson would enter Number 10 and ruthlessly change the very make up of the Cabinet as well as the rest of Government machinery. This was a Brexit Prime Minster. He was not fooling around anymore, and in a matter of a few hours his actions sent a message to both the nation as well as to the EU, Great Britain is ready for Brexit come what may. He had made sure that everyone on his team had signed up for his vision of Brexit and of the new emerging UK post Brexit.
So, where does this leave the UK now?
There are relatively few options. My advice to everyone, don’t believe much of the rhetoric you might see and hear from the media and the biased journo’s – they have confused the debate with so much fake information that many are left confused. So, what are these options? PM Johnson secures a viable deal with the EU which is presented to Parliament and they accept it. Job done. The EU does not offer a viable deal – in which case 31st October UK will leave the EU without a deal. Again, job done. If there is a viable deal and Parliament rejects it – then on 31st October, the UK will leave the EU without a deal. Again, job done.
People will debate 101 other scenarios, none of them matter. It’s great discussion points for the Westminster crowd, but nationally it won’t mean anything. The bottom-line UK will exit the EU on 31st October 2019. What PM Johnson has done is within a few days established a totally new dialogue. One that states that he is planning for and ready for a no-deal. This has for the first time taken the EU bureaucrats off guard. Their intransigence to date left the UK with an unpalatable deal which was rejected on three occasions by Parliament. However, with the prospect of a no-deal looming, even those in the EU with the biggest of egos are now shaking in their boots. They know that a no-deal is bad for everyone. Yes, the UK will suffer for several years, but it is in a much better shape than the vast majority of the 27 countries in the EU. Those countries are already in difficult economic cycles. If a no-deal becomes a reality it will cripple the EU at the grassroots. The bureaucrats are playing a dangerous game, but I suspect as we approach the deadline of the 31st October, leaders of many of these 27 countries will openly go against the EU leadership. The cracks are there to be seen already and in time either the EU relents and accepts a deal worthy of both sides, or it will go into an abyss of its own making.
How will this affect the UK?
There is no doubt that a no-deal will impact the nation adversely. However, the freedom to pick and choose what the UK does around the world presents opportunities that hitherto had been denied because of EU regulations. There are nations already lining up to get into trade deals with the UK. Yes, I accept these will not be perfect from day one, but the fact that there are major countries willing to enter those deal is a great positive step. We have the likes of the USA, India, Australia already for a more productive relationship.
The UK has already sorted out continuity deals with: Central America, Andean countries, Norway and Iceland, Caribbean countries, Pacific Islands, Liechtenstein, Israel, Palestinian Authority, Switzerland, The Faroe Islands, Eastern and Southern Africa, South Korea and Chile. With mutual recognition agreements with the United States, Australia and New Zealand. It’s a start and dare I say; I can see this list increasing very quickly over the coming months.
15 of United Kingdom’s top trading partners in terms of export sales in 2018.
United States: US$64.4 billion (13.3% of total UK exports)
Germany: $47 billion (9.7%)
Netherlands: $33.3 billion (6.9%)
France: $31.8 billion (6.6%)
Ireland: $28.3 billion (5.9%)
China: $27.5 billion (5.7%)
Switzerland: $25.4 billion (5.2%)
Belgium: $19.1 billion (4%)
Italy: $14.1 billion (2.9%)
Spain: $13.9 billion (2.9%)
Hong Kong: $10.3 billion (2.1%)
United Arab Emirates: $10 billion (2.1%)
Turkey: $9.5 billion (2%)
Japan: $8.3 billion (1.7%)
South Korea: $7.8 billion (1.6%)
United Kingdom incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:
Germany: – US$44.5 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2018)
China: – $35.3 billion
Netherlands: – $22.1 billion
Norway: – $20.9 billion
Belgium: – $15.8 billion
Italy: – $11.7 billion
Poland: – $7.6 billion
Spain: – $7.1 billion
Canada: – $6.4 billion
Russia: – $6.1 billion
So why have I presented these two lists to you? Firstly, to establish the lay of the land as it were so you, the reader, can decide what is important to you. My reading is quite simple, look at the trade deficits and you will note that many of the EU countries are dependent on selling their goods to the UK. If the EU don’t do a deal and they create a situation whereby all these countries could potentially have serious difficulties with their exports to the UK, you can see how this will play out with the population of each of those nations.
We have reached the point in the game of jeopardy where the ultimate question is being asked by the UK to the EU. Are you willing to be so stubborn that we end with a no-deal and face the consequences of a nightmare for most of the EU countries? When push comes to a shove, one side will have to bend. And I don’t believe PM Johnson will bend any further. The ball is now firmly in the EU courts. My advice to them would be quite simple, do not underestimate PM Johnson and his resolve. The UK is no longer willing to be pushed around and it would be to the advantage of the EU to cool things down and give a palatable deal. This is now their last chance. Miss this opportunity and the game is up. So, is this new Johnson Government only about Brexit? I don’t think so. By his very nature PM Johnson is very much in the centre of politics. There are those who wish to paint him and his Cabinet as far-right. Nothing can be further from the truth. Yes, he expresses some positions that are at a tangent to what one might assume, and yes, he uses very colourful language that can divide opinion, but that is the makeup of the man. It’s either take it or leave. With respect to the domestic agenda it seems to me his focus will be on:
The public services.
Immigration and its management.
Housing and regeneration.
And the economy.
You can see from his front bench he has got big hitters who are not shy of speaking their minds also and will put forward challenging and interesting policies. PM Johnson has hit the road running. His team had spent months planning what to do in such a scenario, and when the opportunity arose this time, they were ready to take advantage. He has caught both his own Party as well as the country off guard. The playful Boris was underestimated by too many in the media, and too many career politicians who have lost touch with the electorate. His first speech outside Number 10 was a campaigning cry to rally the troops. He is ready with his Cabinet not only to take on Brexit, but he wants to be ready for the General Election. Earlier this year the newly formed Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage gave a thumping to all the other Parties in the EU elections. They wiped the floor and became the most successful new Party. The shock-waves it sent out were and are very clear. Ignore the will of the people on Brexit at your peril.
PM Johnson has therefore positioned his Party correctly now. He has redefined what they stand for and how it fits this new paradigm in British politics. On the centre right you have the Tories and the Brexit Party. And on the left you have the Liberal Democrats, Labour and the Greens. The only reason to vote for the Brexit Party is Brexit frankly. Therefore, PM Johnson in one simple precision move has taken away that reason by placing the Tories as the champions for Brexit. The Parties on the left are all fighting for the same electorate. By so doing, that vote will get shared such that no one Party on the left will have enough in our ‘First Past the Post’ election system to secure a majority. The only question that remains now is, will the Tories have secured enough votes by the next election whereby they command a total majority? In my view, if they deliver Brexit and focus on a progressive grassroots’ domestic agenda, they will win power and do so with a clear majority. Well you heard it here first folks.
Politics in the UK is in full blown fluidity. I accept that most commentators, including yours truly, are all in a difficult situation to figure out what lies ahead. I have given a perspective based on my drone surveillance from the above of what I believe is happening at the grassroots. Time will tell how much of this becomes a reality, but what I am sure about, the UK enters an era of incredible opportunity. Can we take those opportunities and harness the power of our people? Well that is the big question of our time today.
Writer: Kapil Dudakia is Bureau Head of United Kingdom for Opinion Express.