by Johanna Ross, Consortium News:
From Brexit to Scottish independence and escalating tension with Iran, Boris Johnson has his work cut out as PM. Has he got what it takes? asks Johanna Ross.
With a mandate of only 0.2 percent of the British people, perhaps the most notorious and colorful candidate ever to be prime minister, Boris Johnson, defied all criticism to win 66 percent of the Tory party vote in the race to become party leader by beating out Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Johnson survived serious attempts to discredit him in the media, including a report on a domestic quarrel which sought to derail his campaign amid a barrage of attacks on his character and competency. It did not deter the Tory faithful who, believing staunchly in Brexit, have put their trust in BoJo to deliver.
Charisma and ambition have carried Boris through. In response to a Channel 4 journalist’s questionregarding how long he had wanted to be PM, his father said even as a child he wanted to be “king of the world.” But ambition alone will not suffice. This is a man famed for his inaccuracies and for struggling to get his facts right when put on the spot. As one Guardian journalist put it: “I don’t understand how a man can be fired twice for cavalierly making stuff up and reach high office.” He has been called everything from the more endearing “clown” and “buffoon” to more serious accusations of being a “racist” and “liar.” It seems the general consensus is he would say or do anything to get to the top.
And yet on Wednesday, after being granted official permission from Her Majesty the Queen, Johnson became prime minister of the United Kingdom.
He comes to power at one of the most difficult and daunting periods of modern British history. The overwhelming task of negotiating Brexit and the complexities of the Irish border question, together with rising Scottish nationalism, means that he faces not only the challenge of exiting the EU, but of exiting the EU while maintaining the territorial integrity of the United Kingdom. As reported previously, it is no exaggeration to say the unity of Britain is under threat.
The Scottish Question
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon could not have been more explicit in communicating this in an interview when she gave her reaction to Johnson’s election, emphasizing that support for independence had only been boosted by the prospect of a Johnson premiership. Citing a poll from a couple of weeks ago, which showed majority support for Scottish independence if Johnson were to become PM, Sturgeon said it was no surprise that Scots were increasingly wanting out of the Union. “Scotland faces Brexit which we didn’t vote for; we’ve got a Tory government at Westminster that we didn’t vote for and we certainly didn’t vote for Boris Johnson as Prime Minister,” she said.