His message of “Get Brexit Done” was a simple as it was efficient. Indeed, it was as if Johnson took out a chapter of Trump’s book and his successful slogan of 2016. Johnson’s tactic of promising to end the endless, Britain’s exit from the European Union resonated with the public. Moreover, Johnson was the beneficiary of a Labour leader in Jeremy Corbyn, who was not only the worst candidate his party had to offer but who was unfit to be Prime Minister.
It is a result Johnson had been seeking ever since he came into office: a de facto mandate to deliver Brexit effectively. After all, a task, his two predecessors Cameron and May, failed to facilitate. His victory now equips him with all the necessary freedom and, yes, leverage; he needed for further negotiations with the European Union.
The voters did not mind the latest election, as the Brexit gridlock has been concerning the country for too long. For three years, Westminster continued to disappoint the majority of the country that had voted in favor of Brexit. Countless debates as well as failed votes, and a never-ending demand by Remainers for another referendum are in the past, while Brexit has been confirmed with an emphatic aye.
The question now is whether or not Johnson will be able to facilitate Brexit without the often clairvoyantly proclaimed economic crisis occurring. The negotiations on future economic and political cooperation with Brussels will begin soon; however, one must not think that Brussel has forgotten Johnson’s hardball approach of earlier this year. As a result and despite having received quasi carte blanche by the British, these negotiations will likely be another tester for Johnson’s Brexit legacy.
Despite these previous years not necessarily indicating it but there are also domestic tasks Johnson will have to focus on. Traditional Labour voters in the Midlands and the north of England cast their ballots in favor of the Conservatives in this election and made the landslide victory possible. To bind them, Johnson must implement his promised comprehensive investment program for these neglected regions of the country.
As for his opponent, Jeremy Corbyn’s post result postulations illuminated brilliantly why the Labour party is in shambles. Naturally, Corbyn blamed the Brexit debate. It had taken away the spotlight off his vision for the country. A vision “For the Many, Not the Few,” as his campaign credo stated. Moreover, a quasi-conspiracy by the media that – according to Corbyn – had conducted continuous character assassinations did not only allow him to deliver his message but did all in their power to elect Boris Johnson. In layman’s terms: Corbyn’s manifesto was genius, but no one took notice.
In reality, however, Corbyn’s hard-left takeover of the Labour party, national security concerns under his leadership, the fact that he never committed to a definitive stance on Brexit and his appalling anti-Semitism that had sparked outrage beyond UK borders, alienated even traditional Labour voters and Brexiteers alike. However, one did not expect class in defeat from Mr. Corbyn.
However, more than ten million people voted Labour and, virtually, in favor of a Prime Minister called Jeremy Corbyn despite the implications as mentioned above. It is a concerning display of how the UK has joined the not so exclusive club of politically divided nations, with one fraction on the hard left and one conservative side. This division may create issues for Johnson. While the hard left seldom converts to conservatism, the aforementioned former Labour voters, as well as independent voters, need to be able to find a home in the Conservative party, as, by all accounts, the next Labour leader is unlikely to be as incompetent as Jeremy Corbyn.
Nonetheless, the stage is set for Johnson not only to deliver Brexit and make a shiny example of what life outside of the EU can look like but for him to create his legacy as the most impactful Prime Minister since Johnson’s idol: the great Winston Churchill.