Johnson says that the process will be over and done with in just a year. But if that's the case, why won't he discuss what comes next?by Emma Burnell / November 20, 2019 / Leave a comment
Boris Johnson wants you to believe two contradictory things simultaneously. Firstly, that Brexit is going to be easy and be done and dusted within a year. At the same time, Brexit is all-encompassing and the only thing that must be discussed at this election.
This became ever more obvious last night as every question in the head to head debate between Johnson and Corbyn was brought back to Brexit by the former. In the end, the audience were ironically cheering every time he did it in the manner of people who have become quite radically inebriated while playing a drinking game. (If you had to do a shot every time Johnson answered a question on anything with an answer on Brexit, you would be dead.)
You can see why he’s adopted this tack. Brexit is the comfort zone he has chosen to fight this election on. He has abandoned any attempt to appeal to remain voters in the hope of bagging former Labour and Brexit Party leave voters. While also hoping that enough of his remain coalition will be spooked enough by Corbyn to either stay Tory or stay home.
Meanwhile, Brexit is clearly Corbyn’s least favoured subject. He squirms even when giving Labour’s agreed line—and that agreed line is not a simple as “Get Brexit done,” so it is obviously less effective as a soundbite. While that shouldn’t matter, in this format, it does. When the audience laugh at you saying you’re being clear, that’s not a great sign. Corbyn’s discomfort showed as much as Johnson’s glee in capitalising on it did. When the topic moved elsewhere he was better, landing blows over the NHS in particular.
The Tories have a few policies as window dressing, but even when asked about these, Johnson breezes past them straight back to his one argument on Brexit. As a result, the public is not being even slightly informed on what he sees as the priorities for the other four years of a fixed-term government (technically how the UK is supposed to work under the Fixed Term Parliament Act), despite these being the ones he claims musn’t be taken up with a drawn-out Brexit.
The public deserves the truth. And that truth is that no…