Johnson Reels after Missteps on Brexit and Covid-19
Boris Johnson’s natural tendency to raise expectations has made him a slave to his promises in the two factors that will define his mandate: the coronavirus and Brexit. Separately, both would represent a massive headache for any president. In that case, their unfortunate timing coincides at the worst moment for a premiere scheduled exclusively for positive news. His baseless enthusiasm has caused a severe crisis of confidence when the United Kingdom needs leadership.
Johnson signed the exit agreement with the European Union without considering the practical consequences. It was sold in the December election campaign as oven-ready. On the other hand, the coronavirus cases doubled in a week. This is why analysts anticipate a lethal boomerang effect if it becomes clear that the prime minister’s guarantees did not go beyond the realm of rhetorical emptiness.
He had to acknowledge this Friday the possibility of second confinement. Johnson had calculated that, by November, the social distance would not even be necessary. Now the shadow of restrictions hangs over the entire country.
For some, this gap between rhetoric and reality has been too big. It has led to some of the highest officials’ resignations in legal matters. But for Tory MPs, the UK’s conservative party, the dilemma is more political than normative.
For now, the premier has managed to silence the rebellion that was brewing in the Tory benches. However, the problem is still unsolved. The Government would be violating its international commitments, with a challenge to an entire EU that has already warned that it is willing to take its ex-partner to court.
In fact, his initial optimism improved his popularity and created a sense of national mission on the street, the lack of materialization of his promises exposed him to the chaos.
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