Johnson's Brexit isn’t "done", it’s only just begun - and it already stinks!

إطبع
5 February 2020

B-Day - 31st January - came and went.  TV screens were flooded with Union Jacks and nationalistic sound-bites.  But did this make any difference?
    Hardly any, in fact.  Sure, Britain has now lost its seats in the EU Parliament and European Council.  But who over here will notice?  Closer to home, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay also lost his job, while his department disappeared and civil servants were ordered never to use again the word "Brexit" again, since it is now "done", according to Johnson.
    For all Johnson's blustering, however, Brexit is anything but "done", "baked", or whatever else his spin-doctors may invent.  The British economy remains just as dependent as ever on the vast EU market and its freedom of movement for workers, goods and funds.  In fact, Johnson has only managed to complete the first leg of Brexit - the easy bit - after playing a significant role in paralysing it for 3 years and 7 months!
    The second leg of Brexit should now start in March.  This is the much harder bit - meant to dismantle and redefine the myriad of economic ties woven over the past 47 years between Britain and Europe.  How long will it last?  How much more chaos will it create?  These are the real questions.

The overbidding game is back

Already, the Tory right-wingers' overbidding and sniping has restarted.  One of Johnson's cohort of new faithful MPs was caught cosying up to racist neo-nazis in Germany.  Meanwhile, Michael Gove, one of Johnson's most senior ministers, went on record to say that the government could just as well slam the door on the EU and go it alone.
    Just as it did during the first leg of Brexit, the government is responding to the right-wingers' offensive by yielding more ground to them.  Hence Johnson's new aggressive stance against any form of regulatory alignment with the EU in return for frictionless trade.  His call for a so-called "Canada plus, plus", deal is no less than yet another "cake and eat it" scheme, whereby British goods and services should be allowed to flow freely into the EU market without observing any regulations.
    Everyone knows this negotiating position won't wash with the EU.  Just as everyone knows that Johnson's attempt to justify his strong-arm stance by claiming the high moral ground and boasting that Britain's regulatory standards "lead the world", is a bare-faced lie.  After all, where did Britain's current regulations on paid holidays and working hours, among others, originate - if not in EU regulations which filled a gaping hole in British employment legislation?
    But never mind.  Whether or not his position makes sense, Johnson is determined to avoid being overtaken on his right by some of his very own hard-Brexiteers.  For these Tory right-wingers, Britain is the centre of the world and their only concern is what happens in their own little bubble.  What do they care if their rivalry and overbidding causes economic mayhem and threatens our jobs and conditions for decades to come?

An anti-working class weathercock

One can only think of Johnson as a British version of Trump, remoulded by Westminster.  While the real Trump borrows his postures from the New Jersey real-estate mafia, Johnson displays all the snobbery of the Eton-Oxbridge "elite".  There's no other difference between them.
    Like all demagogues, Johnson has no ideas of his own.  Like a weathercock, he follows the direction in which the wind blows - either by conceding to his Tory rivals or by seeking to grab the headlines, or both.
    So, Johnson himself says that he doesn't have a clue about climate change.  Nevertheless he has a policy: to achieve every target earlier than previously set.  So, for instance, diesel and petrol cars will be discontinued in 2035 instead of 2040.  How this will be achieved, with what resources and what planning?  All this is anybody's guess.
    What matters to Johnson is the "radical" spin given to his pledge by the media headlines!  After all, talking about how wonderful Brexit Britain will be in 3 decades time, is a convenient way of avoiding talking about the predicament that car workers are facing today, as car manufacturers are restructuring production on their backs.
    Of course, Johnson has nothing to say on this. Beyond being a demagogue, he reflects the social prejudices of his class - i.e. its hatred for, and fear of, the working class, and its entrenched worship of big money.  So, Johnson won't shed any tears over car workers' fates!
    Just as Mr "End-of-Austerity" Johnson won't shed any tears over the impact on the working class of the 5% spending cut that his Chancellor has just announced for this year's budget!
    Johnson is a demagogue, yes, but first and foremost he is anti-working class!