Boris Johnson is the new leader of the Conservative Party and, in turn, succeeds Theresa May as leader of the United Kingdom.
The vote means two things: the path of the UK’s centre-right towards a sort of British-style sovereignism and the end of May’s fragile and now finished leadership in favour of a new, charismatic leader who, above all, is breaking away from Great Britain’s recent past. Everything is heading towards the north star that is Brexit, even without a deal. As a staunch Leave supporter, Johnson has always intimated what his plan could be regarding the UK’s exit from the European Union: and that is indeed a divorce from Brussels at any cost, whether negotiated or not.
Make no mistake, it is not a protest vote as Donald Trump’s may have been in the United States or of other “populist” leaders around the world. The election of Johnson, as leader of the Conservative Party and successor to the resigning May, does not amount to a pathway to the polls: it is a political vote for a change of leadership within the Tories. This, therefore, lets us know that comparisons cannot be made on the vote. However, comparisons, and certainly parallels, can be made around how Great Britain will be led. This could of course now go in a different direction on several points, strengthening the alliance with the US which, particularly in recent weeks, seemed to crack precisely because of the former party leader’s hesitation around Brexit and other dossiers. Iran, for starters, will be the first crisis the former Foreign Minister and now head of the governing party will have to manage.
It is precisely through this comparison with Trump that the new British leadership can be defined. With an extremely “populist” programme, by English standards, Johnson presents himself to the British people as someone who has to bring London and its environs out of a political impasse also created by the lack of desire in hardline Tories to support May in negotiations with Brussels. It is also significant that Johnson, in his opening statements, referenced Brexit, declaring that his government will bring the UK out of the European Union on 31st October: with or without a “deal”.
His naysayers do not like the idea, adding his anti-EU plan to a stream of ideological and cultural criticisms. Johnson is not liked by the majority of mainstream media, knowing that he has a political style contrary to the standards desired by many key media outlets and political parties. They are not keen on his views on immigration, on Europe and they are certainly not keen on his methods. It is also interesting that an initial wave of attacks (ready to resurface) have already been unleashed against him on alleged ties with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. This is someone who, in reality, has always shown himself openly opposed to the Kremlin, even distancing himself from Trump in this respect. Indeed, if anything, it is much more plausible that he will further strengthen the special relationship with Washington.
So it’s not a pleasing profile but, based on results which are highly regarded, we need to analyse everything with a clear and critical eye. Perhaps many will have to think again: just as they have across the pond.