Boris Johnson on Tuesday was declared as the Conservative Party’s next pick as the prime minister of the UK. This new development has been due to the resignation of Thresa May on account of her Brexit deal not being passed. He has already taken the office of PM today. One of the most pressing issues with his election was to lead Britain successfully out of the EU resulting in a successful Brexit in the next three months by the 31st October.
Johnson’s primary rival was Conservative party’s, Jeremy Hunt. Johnson secured two-thirds of the votes of the 160,000 members strong Conservative party across the UK to become the next PM pick. He, an ebullient campaigner for Brexit has been the former mayor of London and Britsh Foreign Secretary. The chief points for his success were his promise to deliver Brexit “come what may”. Johnson has said that he will bring the EU to the negotiating table, a stance that EU has rebelled against and have placed an ultimatum to take the deal struck with Theresa May or have no deal at all.
He is also the self-declared “son-in-law” of India and has stressed that modern democracies like Britain and Indian need to work together. Johnson has also said that as soon as Brexit in place India and Britain should come together to develop a new Free Trade Agreement deal to deliver more jobs and give impetus to development. Whilst Johnson’s promise to deliver Brexit has given many citizens hope for the country that has been stuck in limbo for a long time but economists are worried that if Johnson does stick to his word and walks away from Brexit without a divorce deal, he might plunge trade and send UK’s economy into recession.
While Brexit is the overarching issue that he is going to have to deal with, Johnson also has to deal with a host of other challenges such as freeing the British oil tanker from Iran and also forging a relationship with the US and Donald Trump. Interestingly, Johnson has widely been compared on the Internet to Trump who himself has declared Johnson to be “Britain’s Trump” to a group of teenage audience in Washington.
Trump and Johnson though do have quite a bit of similarity. Looking past their hair, both the leaders have an established history of scandals. They have a very frank style of talking which leads them to “say it like it is”. Both leaders also have a track record of being openly racist, homophobic and sexist. They also hail from privileged backgrounds. This is not to say there any differences between the two but the similarities are indeed striking.
One major difference is the electorates of these leaders. Johnson got voted in by about 160,000 members of the Conservative party which only account for about 0.02% of the British population as compared to Trump who was voted in with 46.1% of the population coming out in his support even though he lost the popular vote to Hilary Clinton. Johnson’s electorate is also decisively older and whiter as compared to Trump.
Boris Johnson has also built a reputation for his funny antics and has an enthusiastic disposition.
Boris Johnson may also have set himself up for failure with EU leaders. It is very difficult to take the leader seriously now with his previous track record. Leaders of the EU might not just be receptive to his ideas but might despise him. This a huge challenge to Johnson’s credibility. Apart from the wide range of issues, he is going to have to deal with skepticism regarding his decisions from the majority of leaders that he is going to be interacting with. Johnson faces a long road ahead of him and he can’t afford to screw-up anymore.