Boris Johnson acts like a spoiled brat


It looks like the US is not the only nation with a petulant, childish head of state. In the UK, prime minister Boris Johnson, already a fan of Donald Trump’s oligarchic-friendly policies and brash style, seems to also be an admirer of his practice of doubling down on wrong-headed actions and words when criticized for them, and trying dubious methods to circumvent what is required of him by the usual norms and even the law.

The UK parliament had passed a law that required the UK to ask the EU for an extension to the October 31 Brexit deadline if a deal was not passed by October 19. Johnson failed to meet that deadline. But Johnson had vowed never to ask for an extension, saying that he would rather “be dead in a ditch”. Since parliament blocked his deal, he was faced with defying the law and risk being taken to court or backing down. So what does he do? He sends a letter to the EU asking for an extension that was unsigned, accompanied by another letter signed by him saying that he did not want an extension. You can read the letters here and here.

This is ridiculous. Johnson is like a child who is forced to apologize for doing something and promise to make amends and doing so grudgingly while crossing his fingers behind his back. It is no wonder that he has been accused of acting like a “spoiled brat”.

The EU leaders have been far more sophisticated in their negotiations on Brexit than the bungling UK efforts and have shown a massive amount of patience with all the posturing in London. They seem to have a pretty good idea of UK politics and are likely to grant the extension, something that Johnson would prefer they not do since he could then crash out of the UK with no deal and blame any negative consequences on them, which is clearly what he wants to do. Johnson now says that he will bring his plan to a vote in parliament again on Monday, even though he has lost every vote so far.

More and more it seems like there is a need for a referendum on whatever deal the UK parliament and the EU agree upon, if they ever do, which is what the call for a People’s Vote is asking. I am mindful of the sentiment that the people have spoken once and that it is not right to have people vote repeatedly until the ‘right’ outcome is obtained. But on the other hand, it is clear that unlike with the first Brexit referendum, given the furious debates that have taken place within the last year, this time pretty much everyone in the UK would have a much better idea of what Brexit actually involves and thus would make a much more informed decision.

It may well be that the vote is again to leave, perhaps by an even larger margin than the previous one, since I am sure that many people are furious at the delay in implementing Brexit and others may simply be sick of the whole thing an want to end it all. If so, so be it. But at least the vote would be based on a specific plan that spelled out the implications rather than a vague sentiment in which each person could project their own ideas on to it.

Comments

  1. Acolyte of Sagan says

    According to Cameron at the time, the Brexit referendum was only being used as a method of gauging public opinion over Europe. We were told that the result would merely act as a guide for future policy, not that the government would instantly trigger Article 50 if the vote went in the leavers’ favour.
    Had Cameron not been such a lying shit back then but had stated that the referendum was to be binding from the off, the outcome may have been different, especially as the ‘remain’ camp might have put more energy into refuting the lies that Boris, Rees-Mogg, and the rest of that shower of shite were spouting. As it was, because the outcome of the vote was not thought to be so important, the bullshit was largely given a pass.

  2. fentex says

    According to Cameron at the time, the Brexit referendum was only being used as a method of gauging public opinion over Europe.

    It ought never have been called a referendum if it was only a poll then.

    Cameron is the worst PM the UK has ever had, the immense stupidity of using important constitutional issues so casually as leverage because he couldn’t control party members was breathtakingly foolish and arrogant.

  3. Lassi Hippeläinen says

    A signature used to be a proof that a letter is authentic, but that was medieval technology, based on contact magick. Modern technology has better means.

    In this case Johnson has confirmed in his second letter that the first letter is genuine. Even the contents match what the Parliament has ordered. The EU can treat the first letter as an authentic one. The lack of a signature on that piece of paper is irrelevant.

  4. Dunc says

    Cameron is the worst PM the UK has ever had

    I’d rather say that he was the worst PM we’d ever had, but that unfortunately both of his successors have been worse…

  5. Holms says

    More and more it seems like there is a need for a referendum on whatever deal the UK parliament and the EU agree upon, if they ever do, which is what the call for a People’s Vote is asking. I am mindful of the sentiment that the people have spoken once and that it is not right to have people vote repeatedly until the ‘right’ outcome is obtained. But on the other hand, it is clear that unlike with the first Brexit referendum, given the furious debates that have taken place within the last year, this time pretty much everyone in the UK would have a much better idea of what Brexit actually involves and thus would make a much more informed decision.

    There’s also the issue of initiating a move with generational impact, on the basis of only a minority of potential voters bothering to vote. The Leave vote only constituted about 37% from memory of the population of registered voters, and only about 34% if people old enough to register are included.

  6. Jazzlet says

    More and more it seems like there is a need for a referendum on whatever deal the UK parliament and the EU agree upon, if they ever do, which is what the call for a People’s Vote is asking. I am mindful of the sentiment that the people have spoken once and that it is not right to have people vote repeatedly until the ‘right’ outcome is obtained.

    As far as the ERG and other Brexiteers like Johnson are concerned they have the ‘right’ result, and they certainly don’t want a better informed electorate, that has lost older supporters to death and gained younger opponents to the age of majority, voting on the issue as it is understood now. Whether the change in the composition of the electorate or the greater understanding of the issue leading to some to change their minds to remain and others who didn’t bother to vote remain last time to vote in a new referendum would be enough to change the result is unclear to me, although there are a lot of remain politicians who are convinced that that it would be enough.

  7. file thirteen says

    I am mindful of the sentiment that the people have spoken once

    in a non-binding referendum. And yet somehow that qualification has been wilfully ignored ever since.