"Brexit is no longer a slogan. It’s a political project, and even an ideology. ”

Boris Johnson, in London, March 3, 2020.
Boris Johnson, in London, March 3, 2020. FRANK AUGSTEIN / AFP

Chronic. Brexit is gone. As if by magic, this word which, for three years, fevered the United Kingdom, tore families apart and bewitched the House of Commons, was erased from public discourse. Boris Johnson no longer pronounces it, his ministers keep silent. The front pages of London newspapers on Monday March 2 were searched in vain for news of the opening of the second phase of negotiations on the British withdrawal from the European Union the same day in Brussels. Banned, fired, punished: Brexit was the last decade.

Is he struck with amnesia, this Prime Minister who won the elections in December 2019 on the slogan "Get Brexit done" ("Let's achieve Brexit"), or does he consider a little prematurely that the mission is accomplished? In any case, he understood that his fellow citizens wanted to turn this nightmarish page, once the release took place on January 31, and move on to something else. And even if, in 2020, the British will still live under the European regime for nine months, while having abandoned orders in Brussels, in their heads, the step is taken, for better or for worse. We close the ban.

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And we move on to happy news. The pink notebook replaced the Brussels dealings, with the announcement of the birth in June of a baby at 10 Downing Street, the first for the companion of Boris Johnson, Carrie Symonds, but the sixth, we calculate expertly at Westminster, for a 55-year-old prime minister who definitely has a providential sense of timing. Overwhelmed by its bitter December election defeat, the Labor opposition is too busy dressing its wounds and looking for a new leader to attack it on the real issues.

Power and purpose

Fortunately, the British press is not completely anesthetized. The internal agenda and the style of government of Boris Johnson, who will perhaps accomplish the feat of bringing together the faults of both Donald Trump (attacks on the media and senior officials), Emmanuel Macron (the temptation Jupiterian) and the Polish leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski (attacks on the Supreme Court), are dissected and criticized. But this Tory populist of a new type does not only have faults: he now has power and a purpose.

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This design, which he presented on February 3 with great fanfare in Greenwich, in the aftermath of Brexit, is that of the bright future of the United Kingdom, whose exit from the EU will have solved all the problems. "We have the moment, we have regained power, and we know where we want to go: forward in the world", proclaimed Mr. Johnson. The deregulated fantasy of "Singapore on the Thames" has been stored in the accessories store. Boris Johnson wants to reinvent his country and, through a Keynesian public investment program, to rehabilitate the underprivileged regions of northern England and the Midlands that deserted Labor to bring him to power.


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