GOODBYE THERESA, HELLO BORIS
In many ways Boris Johnson, succeeding the unfortunate
Theresa May as Britain’s Prime Minister, is very Trumpish. Accordingly satirists have fastened on Johnson’s crude sexism; his racism (references to “piccaninnies” and “watermelon smiles”);
his frequent lies; and his his national boosterism. Moreover, like Trump he became famous as a media star.
Of course, there are differences. Boris is intelligent and classically educated. He recently debated on television with a Cambridge University classicist, arguing for Greece against Rome. He has written books on London, Rome, cars, parenthood, and his hero, Winston Churchill.
Now he believes he can produce an achievement worthy of Churchill – taking Britain out of the European Union, even if this means “crashing out” without a new agreement. On the face of it this seems odd, for Churchill was a great advocate of European unity. But Churchill’s concern was to end Europe’s history of interminable wars, rather than to join Britain with Europe. So to Johnson the idea of engineering a dramatic break leading to a future commensurate with Britain’s glorious past seemed to be thoroughly Churchillian,
Critics are skeptical. The Economist magazine fears that Johnson will come to be compared not with Churchill, but rather with Churchill’s hapless predecessor.
Here’s my view:
What historians will say
About Theresa May
Is unlikely to be very much debated.
Her European deal
Was a plan without appeal
Which the Parliament repeatedly negated.
Came a Tory party race
And Boris Johnson took her place.
Of Brexit he had been a prime supporter
But the first time he had fought
His bid had fallen short
Now to reach the highest goal he gave no quarter.
But what exactly does it mean
To be anointed by the Queen
When you won’t find a reliable forecaster
Who leaves the slightest doubt
That if you come “crashing out”
You’ll be facing an unqualified disaster?
As everybody knows
The “backstop” he’ll oppose.
It‘s a subject he will never be reviewing.
So in Ireland we expect
Customs borders they’ll erect,
And tensions north and south
They’ll be renewing.
When all is done and said
It’s clear what lies ahead
Is enough to make a heavy drinker sober.
To avoid a costly fate
He must renegotiate
And do it by the ending of October.
Well, it seems he’s made a choice.
For Brexiteers he’ll be the voice,
Their provocative, uncompromising phraser.
A new Churchill he would be
But I fear his legacy
Will be similar to that of poor Theresa.