It was only in the past few weeks that anyone in America paid serious attention to Britain’s looming vote whether to leave the European Union (aka. Brexit) which finally took place on June 24 with a shocking “yes” outcome. After all, it seemed that the forces behind Brexit consisted largely of yammering xenophobic yahoos who like nationalists in the mid-20th century blamed all woes on foreigners. The betting money was on the “Remain” cohort if for no other reason than to leave the 28-nation EU would be to enter never-visited territory fraught with peril, both economical and security-wise.
As of the Monday before the June 24 vote, world stock markets were in positive territory. Hell, even the hedge fund managers – the smartest people in the world, just ask them – were lulled into false complacency. After the results were revealed, markets lost a couple trillion and the British pound got pounded – proof that most people were absolutely certain Brexit would go down in flames.
And when I say most people, I include many of the strident proponents of Brexit who by their complete lack of a plan to deal with a “Leave” outcome showed they also believed the vote would fail. Behaving like so many fraudulent and craven politicians, they ginned up catastrophic imagery to scare dimwitted voters and to buff their nationalistic bona fides while secretly hoping the UK would stay in the EU. Chief among the frauds was Boris Johnson, former mayor of London.
Despite a well-documented position in the past of keeping the UK in the EU (“We can’t leave Europe. We’re part of the European Continent. What is the English Channel? It’s a primeval river that got slightly too big … We’re always going to be a part of Europe psychologically.”), the toe-headed Johnson more recently latched onto the notion that the EU had become too dysfunctional for Britain to remain. He and his ilk conjured doomsday images of roaming hoards of swarthy immigrants trampling the heath. And they massaged numbers to make it appear the UK was being duped out of billions in subsidies to the continent.
In any event, when “Leave” trumped “Remain,” the received wisdom was that Johnson could become the next prime minister, replacing the disgraced David Cameron who announced his resignation moments after the vote tallies were completed. Like many crafty politicians, Johnson positioned himself on both sides of an issue so he could claim vindication no matter which way it went. Tony Travers, a professor of government at the London School of Economics said, “He’s presumably calculating that even if Britain stays, he’s the kind of election-winning politician that Cameron would want to embrace, to show that the Tories are a big happy family. And if he’s leader of a winning campaign, he’ll be seen to have had excellent political judgment.”
So, after flip-flopping on the Brexit issue, exaggerating the problem, and energizing enough rural euro-skeptics to favor “Leave”, Johnson got what he wanted: a vote to exit the EU opening a clear path to lead the UK.
Then just days later, big Boris Johnson went flaccid. Once his colleague, justice secretary Michael Gove threw his hat into the ring, Johnson withdrew. Boris interruptus. Some say Gove betrayed Johnson, but what self-respecting politician would drop out so quickly in the face of a new challenger? Seems BoJo (as Johnson is known in the tabloids) is more bluster than substance, a BoJo with no MoJo.
Who knows how the whole Brexit melodrama will play out in the coming months and years. Already the US stock market has largely recovered as though nothing ever happened. No doubt the rest of the EU will impose serious pain on the UK, and Britain will suffer for it. Scotland may likely bolt as well, leaving behind a diminished Great Britain.
But one thing’s for sure. BoJo would make a great Vice President for Donald Trump. The hair combo alone would justify the choice.
Trump to China: Fuck off (and speed up my order, will ya?)
Speaking of Trump, the man is on a tear to rip up trade treaties and chastise evil China for currency manipulation and unfair trade practices. Which begs a question. To whom will he turn to for his junky merchandise once he cuts the cord with China, which supplies the bulk of it?