Johnson will fail and he will be punished for itby Jonathan Lis / January 4, 2020 / Leave a comment
It’s the new year. We’re back to work. We face three months of winter. And the country is staring down the barrel of five years of absolute rule by a narcissist with an unassailable majority who seems to show every intention of driving people’s livelihoods into a wall. Just how bad are things going to get?
Nobody could blame you for feeling gloomy. In all circumstances, Brexit is going to happen, and it is going to go wrong. The next 12 months will bring a comprehensive humbling. There are a few potential scenarios. The first, (the least damaging) is that Boris Johnson realises he is not going to deliver a complex trade deal in record time, and requests an extension. The second is that the clock simply runs down and we tumble off the edge of the cliff in December. That would be horrific for people’s jobs and lives. The third, and perhaps likeliest scenario is that Johnson realises he has been trapped by his own hubris and concedes to every EU demand. Brussels will act ruthlessly in its own interests, the UK becomes a de facto satellite state, and the country is totally humiliated.
The prime minister is also facing a uniquely febrile constitutional environment, and beyond his ability to navigate. Johnson has nowhere near the intellect or skill of Nicola Sturgeon and she could both out-argue and outplay him. Both Scottish and Northern Irish nationalists have made electoral gains and are moving in on the great prize of an independence referendum and border poll respectively. The Union has never looked so fragile.
Then there is the broad attempt to re-write Britain’s political culture and its ground rules. So far we are looking at a big reduction in the numbers of MPs, a recalibration of the entire civil service, government by mavericks and self-proclaimed weirdos, and the as-yet obscure “page 48” of the Tory manifesto, which could herald, for example, new curbs on the right to judicial review.
In other words, some grim years await. And yet, consider that it may not be as bad as you think.
Johnson could lose credibility very quickly. His big majority now means he, and he alone, will own Brexit. If it is to be…