Back Boris and boost Britain – Washington Examiner
We do not envy Boris Johnson.
The new prime minister of the United Kingdom has a challenge ahead of him greater than any newly elected leader in the West has faced since the Cold War. Johnson must deliver his country from the clutches of Brussels and deliver his party from the depths of dysfunction.
Somehow, by Oct. 31, Johnson’s Conservative Party must negotiate a Brexit deal with a European Union that wants Brexit to fail while expecting no help from an opposition that wants his party to fail and amid quiet resistance from mates in a party on which he has basically just executed a hostile takeover.
Johnson’s cause, saving Brexit, is noble. It is the fight for self-determination and democracy. For that reason, it is up to the United States, the beacon of self-determination and democracy, to help him lift his heavy burden.
President Trump should do all he can to support the prime minister in his effort to renegotiate a commensurate Brexit withdrawal agreement with the European Union.
The former mayor of London is somewhat eccentric and has made some questionable decisions in his personal life. But Johnson’s buoyant personality and unashamed support for free markets are just what Britain needs.
We also note with gratitude that Britain finally has a pro-Brexit leader in charge. A Brexit party governing a Brexit nation deserves a Brexit leader. Finally, three years after Britons voted to leave the European Union, this is true.
Theresa May’s premiership was afflicted by the sense in European Union headquarters that her heart wasn’t really in Brexit. The European Union believed that if they exerted enough pressure, the British people would somehow change their minds.
Brussels, sadly, was right. In the absence of decisive leadership from No. 10 Downing Street, Brexit was delayed from March to Oct. 31. Until Johnson moved into Downing Street, it was not clear whether the Oct. 31 deadline would even hold and even whether Brexit might occur at all.
No longer. Johnson’s opening statement as prime minister made clear that he will see Britain break free from the EU on Oct. 31. If no new agreement can be reached with the European Union, Johnson says Britain will leave on Oct. 31 regardless.
The willingness to execute a hard Brexit is necessary and is not foolhardy.
Its minions won’t admit it, but the European Union has a vested interest in ensuring that any Brexit is carried out in an orderly manner. A hard Brexit would risk serious economic damage not simply to Britain but to European economies. After all, the European Union is a net exporter to Britain.
Johnson knows this, and his credible threat allows him to bring leverage to upcoming renegotiations. President Trump should do all he can to support Johnson here, if necessary by threatening tariffs on European nations that fail to support good faith negotiations with America’s closest ally.
To adapt a phrase from his predecessor, Trump ought to convey that if Europe won’t deal in good faith with Britain, Europe should be put at the back of the queue.
But Johnson’s premiership deserves our support for another reason: the prime minister’s unabashed free-market conservatism. Notably, the alternative to Johnson at this point is far-left Jeremy Corbyn.
Johnson’s spending pledges seem excessive, and we hope he will moderate them. But Britain will benefit from a leader who believes in business and in reducing the state’s influence over the economy. These sentiments fit with Johnson’s broader Atlanticist sympathies. Born in New York City, Johnson is an enduring pro-American in words and action. Escaping the European Union’s leashes, we expect the special relationship to grow closer under his watch.
That’s why we’re backing Boris. We believe he will boost Britain at home and abroad.