No matter how much nationalists say they value unity, democracy, and tradition, nationalism always turns out to be the most divisive, anti-democratic, and disrespectful political principle imaginable.
Brexit is no different. It was quite predictable that he was not going to liberate a sovereign country from its so-called European shackles, but rather liberate the political elite from all restrictions.
Now that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has fallen out of favor and been exposed for who he is and who everyone knew him to be, there is a sense of relief in Brussels. And, of course, on the European continent there is a share of gloating (indulgence in someone else’s misfortune) because he finally got what he deserved.
However, no one is under the illusion that Johnson’s march from Downing Street will solve any of the underlying problems in relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union. The damage done by the outgoing prime minister with the blueprint he used to reach power remains.
As far as the economy is concerned, it persists to such an extent that even Labor cannot distance itself from the central issue that is now hurting Britain: Brexit itself. Trying to “make Brexit work,” the slogan used by Labor leader Keir Starmer when he rules out future EU re-entry, could become a political imperative for at least the next generation. But it’s still economic nonsense beyond any logic.
No amount of adjustment to the practical details of Brexit can fix the fundamental inconsistency it creates. Self-isolating from the closest and most important trading partner hurts small UK businesses when they try to trade with customers in neighboring countries, encourages big business to seek other places to invest, and disrupts labor markets to the detriment of employers and employers alike. as well as job seekers.
Self-destruction of democracy
As far as the UK’s political relationship with the EU is concerned, I think – though I’ll be glad to be corrected if I’m wrong – that none of the names that come up in the Conservative Party for the candidacy for prime minister matter much more. constructive attitude than Johnson.
As for the geopolitical unity of the democratic West, make no mistake, there may not be an exact translation of the word “gloating”, but autocrats from Moscow to Beijing are well aware of this. They enjoy every minute of the show, which is not just about the elimination of the prime minister, but about the self-destruction of one of the world’s leading democracies and the impact that this has on their democratic alliances.
Johnson was trolled by the Chinese Embassy in Ireland last week after he tweeted that the UK had fulfilled its obligations to Hong Kong. “We made a promise to the people of Hong Kong 25 years ago. We intend to comply with it,” Johnson boasted. The Chinese government responded sarcastically to his statement with mockery: “Two years ago we made a promise in the Northern Ireland Protocol. We are determined to break it.”
Each policy has a global scope. The discredited, debilitated and fragmented populist politics left behind by Johnson and the man he so admired, former US President Donald Trump, will haunt us all for years to come.
If anything positive can emerge from the looming leadership struggle, it is the next British Prime Minister’s commitment to resolve outstanding issues within the Northern Ireland protocol and to abandon the destructive bragging and actions that undermine the right-wing international.
The citizens of continental Europe can only hope that the British Conservative Party turns its back once and for all not only on this man, but on his method. It is time for democracies to get back on their feet.
Guy Verhofstadt is a member of the European Parliament. In 2016, he was chosen by the European Parliament to represent the EU in the negotiations on the UK’s exit from the EU. He was Prime Minister of Belgium from 1999 to 2008.
Translated by Emma Reverter
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