I guess that the world has just gone mad. Or, maybe I went insane back in Spring of 2016, when I saw that Donald Trump was poised to get the GOP nomination, and this is just one big hallucination, while I’m actually in five point restraint somewhere. I know that i felt like I was going insane at the time. And things have gotten steadily worse, not only in America, but now in the United Kingdom, where that other straw haired clown, with the “roadkill chic” haircut, Boris Johnson, just got elected Prime Minister. I confess to being totally appalled. He’s a virtual clone of the idiot we’ve got in many ways. Johnson is more educated and he was Mayor of London. But he’s got the same shock jock approach to politics as his U.S. counterpart and he’s an inveterate liar as well. Bess Levin, Vanity Fair:
When Donald Trump was elected president in November 2016, it appeared as though Western democracy had hit rock bottom. In retrospect, that was the high point of the past two-and-a-half years, which have largely been comprised of tumbling from one new rock to next, tearing society a new asshole with each and every descent. Which brings us to Tuesday, when the Conservative Party chose Boris Johnson to succeed Theresa May as Britain’s next prime minister.
Like an early-aughts Olsen twins movie in which two sisters are separated at birth and years later come to find they’re living parallel lives in different parts of the country, Johnson has been described as the British Trump: both are pathological liars and flagrant racists who’ve had at least five children that they know of with multiple women. Their tabloid scandals are legion and both of their “hair” “styles” could be best described as roadkill-chic. Johnson may not be as aggressively anti-intellectual as Trump, having received some finishing school polish at Eton and Oxford, but he is similarly opportunistic, having arrived late in life to right-wing populism as a path to political power. They represent the low point of evolution, and their impact on the world can best be described as lancing a boil and then having the contents spray back in your face.
For those who buried the 2016 European Union referendum in the deepest recesses of their brain, Johnson was one of the chief cheerleaders of Brexit, which he promoted with a number of lies, the biggest one being that Britain was paying the E.U. “£350 million a week.” (The real number was about half that, but that didn’t stop him from slapping the falsehood on the side of a bus; when confronted in 2018, he said £350 million was an underestimate.) Of course, BoJo was peddling all manner of bullshit regarding membership in the E.U. long before the referendum; back when he was working for the Telegraph’s Brussels bureau, he wrote stories claiming that, among other things, the European Commission had banned Italian condoms because they were “not precisely 16 centimeters long,” and that “sniffers” had been recruited to “ensure that Euro-manure [all] smells the same.”
This guy is nuts. It’s no wonder that the handle “Britain Trump” has been bestowed on “BoJo.” We need to bojo both of these clowns, in the way that that word is commonly understood by people in this community. Like Trump, he claims that he’s the only guy who can get it done and like Trump, he’s got no plan, he’s just grandstanding. Amy Davidson Sorkin, New Yorker
In 2016, Johnson contributed various falsehoods to the Brexit campaign—his phantasmagoric relationship with the truth may be the main point he has in common with Trump, although recklessness, eager exploitation of populist discontent, and breezy bigotry are also in the mix. Unlike Trump, Johnson has had a long career in politics—as mayor of London and as Foreign Secretary. But he did not, during either the referendum or the leadership campaign, present any coherent idea of how Brexit might be executed, unless you count driving the British economy off a cliff and pushing the Good Friday Agreement, which has secured peace in Northern Ireland, over with it. (This is, in fact, Johnson’s plan, known as a no-deal Brexit, and he’s made it clear that anyone who won’t sign on to it can’t be in his Cabinet.) Otherwise, his guiding principle, with regard to Brexit, seems to have been whatever would help him to achieve his ambition of becoming Prime Minister.
Johnson, in his victory speech on Tuesday, treated concerns about his aptitude for the job as little more than fodder for humor. “I know that there will be people around the place who will question the wisdom of your decision,” he told Party members. “And there may even be some people here who still wonder quite what they have done.” Here, there, and everywhere but the White House. President Trump, tweeting his congratulations, said, “He will be great!”
Johnson continued by saying that his program was to deliver Brexit, unite the country, and defeat Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party. He then launched into a riff about how “some wag” had pointed out that the acronym for “Deliver, Unite, and Defeat” was not ideal for a campaign, “since, unfortunately, it spells dud.’ But they forgot the final ‘E,’ my friends—‘E’ for Energize! And I say to all the doubters: dude! We are going to energize the country! We are going to get Brexit done!” But a dude can also be a dud.
Truth be known? I don’t know who’s in a greater world of hurt, us or our British cousins. Right now I’d say it’s even money. Maybe both economies are going to go off a cliff, and all our cherished freedoms as well, like lemmings. Don’t forget that both the Brexit referendum and the Trump campaign were assisted in no small measure by Cambridge Analytica’s psychometric bots, the digital children of Robert Mercer. Make no mistake, Mercer helped put the Brits where they are, and Mercer and the Russians brought the United States to the pass where we find ourselves, where Robert Mueller says that the Russians are interfering in our elections, “as we sit here,” and he believes that to be the new normal. So far it’s been the week from Hell and it’s only Wednesday.