Boris Johnson's announcement that he will vote to leave the European Union, aka Brexit, smacks of the lustful calculation of a political campaign to become prime minister. On the climbing frame of politics, where one must constantly strive to find a footing to beat the competition to the top, it looks like Boris has concluded that his choice of stance on the EU is the risk he must take in order to succeed -- with barely a sideways glance at the long-term consequences for his country's economy nor for the political stability of a disintegrating world that a weaker European Union will endanger.
It seems he, too, has now had a "Granita" moment with the Justice Minister Michael Gove, the two of them perhaps going Dutch on taking the helm of a future conservative government. If so, this pact could well come back to haunt us, but, hopefully, just them.
So now we must fear not a waning Britain but the launch of a resurgent England, hoisted by the petard of a resentful Wales, an economically weak northern Ireland and an independent Scotland, dreaming that it can sustain a post-Brexit relationship with the US that is special.
America today loves its partner's sexy appeal in the pragmatic knowledge that it is a real and trusted political player within a powerful European bloc of 500 million people. Trying to remain faithful to a "Dad's Army" England outside the EU will be as difficult as keeping up a teenage crush, when the superficial handsomeness of youth turns into a cluster of pimples and lip fluff. The same goes for China, with any good ol' days of a shared history with Britain at zero. Talk of losing sovereignty: all of Britain's previous traction with the two superpowers will disappear. And, without the powerhouse of an empire nor the support of a continent, England will be smart, wily and lonely.
Good luck then with thinking that the world will come to its aid when thousands of migrants learn to swim the Channel and the Jungle moves to Dover. There's always the upside that England's economy declines to the extent that migrants stop coming. Oh, and good luck also with containing IS to 200 kilometres of Libyan coastline, as well as a proxy war with Russia in Syria and Ukraine, and expecting Europe's undivided attention when cybercriminals shut down its national grid.
Boris's tripping platitudes about fighting for a new set of trade relationships outside the EU are misleading, knowing that the nature of trade today is not a version of Amazon, nor does it lie in its 1950's version of "we make something, you buy it and we send it to you". Rather it is ensuring one has a seat at the table when the rules are written that will determine British companies' access to the EU or any other market. So better take a ticket and wait in line, and hope to revive the fishing industry on the back of new English trade deals with Papua New Guinea and Burkina Faso, carbon mile overheads notwithstanding.
Boris Johnson's pledge to fight for a better Britain penetrates an island's sea of concerns like a tossed headstone, pinning down people's hopes with a thickness of thinking that he would decry in others. His idea of batting for his country is to leave the EU in order to get a better deal with Europe. With the country's newly established pulling rank of a boutique hotel, how would that work exactly?
To manipulate a nation's anger and frustrations at faulty governance in pursuit of one's short political career, at the expense of the country's long-term health and the planet's security, is what much of the anger and frustration is about in the first place. That he would be prepared to push others off a boat into Europe's choppy waters should not be surprising when the same grown man flattens a ten-year-old child in a friendly game of rugby. Be careful what you vote for; Boris will be a lot less gentle about his own survival when we have to ask for his help inside a listing boat going nowhere.