Boris Johnson’s fall gives Brexit a chance to succeed

By Garvan Walshe

There’s an old political joke where a soul is asked to choose between heaven and hell and is given a trial run in each. Down in hell, he’s shown around what amounts to the best country club in the world, plays a few holes of golf with Beelzebub, is served fine venison, and washes it down with long-vanished Bordeaux vintages in a tête-à-tête with the devil himself. Preferring this to sitting on clouds listening to lyre music surrounded by winged toddlers, he chooses hell, only to be thrust into a fire pit, watching his best friend be flayed alive by a pair of oversized demons. What happened to the country club, he asks? Satan wastes no time in putting the poor soul right: “Then, we were campaigning. Now, we’re governing.”

As prime minister, Boris Johnson gave Britain a government that ended up on the lower end of purgatory—closer to the decaying end of a dictatorship, with sex predators being appointed to positions of authority, admissions of mysterious visits to supposedly former KGB agents’ villas, $1,000 rolls of wallpaper, and attempts to extort a $180,000 treehouse for his latest son, all against the background of a once-in-a-century pandemic and the most serious war in Europe since 1945.

The war and pandemic were of course outside his control. Brexit, however, is his responsibility. His decision to campaign for Britain to leave the European Union (he notoriously wrote a pro-Remain and a pro-Leave article before deciding to publish the second) is credited with giving it the 52 percent needed for victory. His takeover of the Conservative Party, ruthless purge of moderate Tories (including even Charles Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, as well as Winston Churchill’s grandson Nicholas Soames), and decisive victory in the 2019 general election enabled him to get an agreement acceptable to the EU through Britain’s Parliament.

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