TORY LEADERSHIP CONTEST & BREXIT
Barring any serious gaffes or damaging revelations, Boris Johnson is now likely to become the next UK prime minister. A scary prospect or a reassuring one?
If leaving the EU without a deal does not bother you, then a no-deal Brexit has now become more likely with Boris Johnson in pole position in the leadership contest. He has said that the UK will leave the European Union by the 31st of October this year, with or without a deal if he becomes prime minister.
Almost all economists as well as key business institutions in the UK have indicated that leaving the EU without a deal would be economically disastrous for the UK.
So how have we in the UK arrived at this point with Boris Johnson poised to become prime minister?
Throughout his political career, nothing else mattered more than becoming prime minister, which explains why almost every public statement that he makes is a calculated and cynical exercise of self promotion and advancement.
Johnson's duplicity and cynicism were evident in the fact that he prepared two articles presenting the merits and reasons to either stay in or leave the EU.
The articles supporting either side of the EU debate, were submitted for one of them to be published under his Telegraph column, just before he made the decision to throw his support behind leaving the EU in 2016.
The article that was eventually published was in support of leaving. In a leaked copy of the unpublished article supporting remaining in the EU, he wrote "this is a market on our doorstep, ready for further exploitation by British firms. The membership fee seems rather small for all that access. Why are we so determined to turn our back on it?”
Furthermore, in his biography of Winston Churchill, he betrays his brand of self-serving politics when he wrote "to some extent all politicians are gamblers with events, they try to anticipate what will happen (in order) to put themselves on the right side of history".
That line from the Churchill biography seems to sum up Johnson's conduct in relation to Brexit. Just before the beginning of his party's leadership contest, he attended a meeting of the extremist anti-EU parliamentary group in his party - the ERG (European Research Group).
He promised members of the group that if he became prime minister, then the UK would definitely leave the union by the 31st of October with or without a deal. His meeting with the group secured their support in the leadership contest.
However, after the meeting he attempted to calm fears in the remain camp of his parliamentary party by suggesting that his primary objective was to find common ground and negotiate a new deal with the EU.
As the expression goes, he is speaking from both sides of his mouth - simply saying different things to the different factions in his party in order to win the leadership contest.
Many in his party a willing to trust him, especially grassroots members, even though he is a serial liar and has been fired from previous jobs including as a correspondent, for lying and making up quotes that he used in articles.
But he is charismatic (some think), and is the only one in his party capable of stopping the Labour Party's Jeremy Corbyn from winning the next general election.
The biggest fear for the Tory Party is the prospect of a Labour government under Corbyn. And so it seems they are all prepared, at least for now to put their faith in a man who really cares about only one person - Boris Johnson.
I believe reality will ultimately begin to bite, demonstrating that the Brexit condundrum is truly a devilish riddle wrapped in an enigma, with all the same challenges. A change in personnel with Johnson at the helm will make no difference to what needs to be done.
In fact, one of the other Tory leadership contenders, Rory Stewart (International Development Secretary) has promised that he and about 100 Tory MPs are ready to bring down a Boris Johnson government if he attempts to go for a no deal Brexit.
So watch out, Brexit's influence on the economy is a long way off from stabilizing.