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Comment: Boris Johnson delayed his resignation | Comments from DW Reviewers and Guest Writers | DW

Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister, failed because of Boris Johnson. It was not the electoral defeat or the opposition that toppled the conservative populist politician, but his own character. In the end, after a series of scandals that accompanied Johnson during all three years of his tenure as Prime Minister of Great Britain, he began to be considered a liar, a person who denies the obvious and seeks to hush up unseemly things.

Johnson considers himself irreplaceable and clings to power

His cabinet and his own Conservative Party came to the conclusion that a Tory promising politician at the beginning of his tenure as British Prime Minister was only ashamed at the end. Boris Johnsonwho certainly has political talent and could win power and convince people, ended up mired in a chaotic intricacies of lies, broken promises, and arrogant complacency.

Bernd Riegert

Bernd Riegert

Fitting into this picture is the fact that he now appears determined to remain a lame duck at 10 Downing Street for several more months until the Conservatives elect a new leader at the next party conference. Johnson considers himself irreplaceable, clings to power and doesn’t understand why he has to leaveand that he is responsible for having to leave.

In his resignation speech, Johnson laid the blame for it on the “herd instinct” in the ranks of the Tories (mass resignations in the last days of Conservative ministers in protest against the actions of the prime minister. – Red.). In this misjudgment, he tragically resembles Donald Trump, his populist role model. Like Trump, Johnson does not want to admit that his time is up. Like Trump, Johnson appears unconcerned about the damage his chaotic departure is doing to the UK political system.

Johnson had success

Johnson kept his promise made in 2019 and made Brexit possible, i.e. exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union. What his unlucky but responsible predecessor, Theresa May, failed to do, Boris Johnson, who acted outside the box, did. He signed with Brussels an agreement on the UK’s exit from the EU, which, as Johnson knew very well, he himself would never be able or willing to comply.

The agreement creates a virtual trade and customs border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom and at the same time remains, according to the document, part of EU single internal market. In fact, this provision is unacceptable to Brexiters who have allowed themselves to be blinded by the able populist Johnson. Nevertheless, he led the Conservative Party to a brilliant victory in the parliamentary elections.

But since then, things have gone downhill. Boris Johnson wanted this spring to simply unilaterally break the treaty with the EU, getting off with a few casual and empty phrases. Now there will be no break, because the government in London, which will continue to fulfill its duties, is no longer able to do so.

And in the EU there is now some relief, even joy, that Johnson’s premiership is history. However, to hope that his successor will comply Brexit agreementwould be premature. At the moment it is impossible to predict whether relations between the EU and the UK will improve or worsen under the new government in London.

Through the coronavirus pandemic, Boris Johnson has led his country on a tortuous course. At first he did not take the problem seriously, but then the prime minister managed to organize a campaign to vaccinate the population, which was crowned with success earlier than in continental Europe. At the same time, Johnson violated the lockdown rules established by his own government, throwing parties at his official residencewhich politically broke his neck.

“Lame Duck”

The new British prime minister will have to deal with high inflation, a post-Brexit trade downturn, a tense geopolitical situation following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a global food crisis and a fossil fuel phase-out.

In foreign policy, Johnson’s departure will paralyze Britain for several months. The phase of uncertainty will last until a new government is formed in London. This is very inopportune in view of the many crises and the urgent need for cooperation at the international level. Johnson partially acknowledgedthat the present looks bleak, but at least saw a “golden future” for the next government.

Boris Johnson made no secret of the fact that he imitated the great British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, sometimes even imitating his gait and gestures. But this alone, of course, is not enough. Unlike Churchill, Johnson had no firm principles, no deep convictions, no conscience.

Posted by Bernd Riegert, columnist for DW

The comment expresses the personal opinion of the author. It may not coincide with the opinion of the Russian editors and Deutsche Welle in general.

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