Close your eyes for a moment and picture the biggest, blondest, most bigoted politician you can.

Who did you go for, Donald Trump or Boris Johnson?

The striking physical similarity between the two may be a source of amusement, but don’t let that throw you off guard – that’s exactly how we’ll end up with Boris Johnson as our Prime Minister.

The PR genius that is Boris has cultivated the persona of lovable class clown, who puts their foot in it constantly (isn’t that one of our British values?) but ultimately isn’t a bad sort, old chap.

Because really, what harm could he do?

Following the Conservatives’ catastrophic European election night, in which they clung on to just 9.1% of the vote, it’s likely Johnson, given the chance, will swing his party even more sharply to the right to shore up votes.

While I don’t like to agree with anything that Nigel Farage says, he may have had a point when he said that the Brexit Party’s landslide victory would likely be repeated in a general election if the Conservatives fail to deliver Brexit by the 31st October.

Add to this Johnson’s famously divisive “f**k business” remarks on the risks of a no-deal Brexit and you’re looking at someone who isn’t afraid to lurch his party away from the middle ground in order to appease extreme voters. Taking into account the near 50/50 split between pro-Brexit and remain parties on May 23rd, I’d argue we need someone to plonk themselves in the centre now more than ever.

So he’s made a stand on Brexit, but he’s a nice guy really.

A cursory look at Johnson’s voting history may keep his One Nation Tory disguise intact – he did, after all, vote for equal gay rights and against tuition fees. However, take a closer look and you’ll find someone who generally votes against laws to promote equality and human rights, is in favour of expanding the UK’s nuclear weapons collection and is against higher taxation on banks – unlikely to solve our shameful poverty crisis anytime soon, then.

Okay, lots of right wing politicians might have a similar track record, do we really need to fear Johnson?

When you consider that the man is also a serial liar, I think we do. From the famous £350m NHS bus myth to the seemingly harmless fib that he’d voted in the local elections, it seems Johnson just can’t tell the truth. Lots of people behaved badly in that election, but so far Johnson is the only one to be called to court over it.

Well, if Johnson’s so divisive, he’ll never make it to Number 10.

It’s true that, on a surface level, Johnson’s prospects look mediocre at best. Fellow MPs are unlikely to lend their support, while at the end of May YouGov reported just 32% of the public as having a favourable opinion of politics’ ‘lovable’ clown.

However, when considering that Johnson’s popularity stands at double that of the next most favoured candidate (Sajid Javid on 16%), things become a little more worrying. Furthermore, 97% of the public at least know who Johnson is, whereas the figure is less than 50% for Matt Hancock or Dominic Raab.

Even fellow MPs, scoff as they might, are so concerned that they’ve felt the need to launch a campaign against him.

Okay, I’ll keep a lookout. But what has this got to do with Trump?

Do you remember the run-up to the Presidential election, where the prospect of Trump actually getting into the White House was frankly laughable?

Some commentators saw it coming, but on the whole, the US was taken by surprise. Similarly with Brexit, so many remainers never really believed that it would happen, yet here we are.

We, the public, are watching as our country slowly hemorrhages, consistently failing to act fast enough to do anything about it.

By posing as the booby politician, Johnson has laughed his way to the position of Mayor of London, into cabinet as Foreign Secretary and is set to be the next Tory Prime Minister. We in the UK, who have been so disparaging of Trump, need to watch before the same thing happens to us.

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    David McKee 2 weeks ago

    As a student at SOAS, I am encouraged by my teachers to evaluate and, if necessary, challenge received wisdom. Ms. Edwards’ piece, I am afraid, reeks of Received Wisdom. So, in a friendly spirit, I will attempt to dissect Ms. Edwards’ arguments.
    She accuses Mr. Johnson of bigotry. Now, if you are a homosexual in Russia, or a Christian in China, or a Jew in the Labour Party, you will be well acquainted with bigotry. The worst she can bring against Mr. Johnson is that he has opposed laws on equality and human rights. This is somewhat flimsy evidence for such a strong word.
    She thinks that the Brexit crisis is best solved with a compromise. Three years ago, it would have been resolved in this way. Not now. The natural process of prolonged crises is for opinion to polarise. This has been given a powerful helping hand by arch-Remainers, who had no intention of accepting the result of the 2016 Referendum. Their attempts, in the law courts and Parliament, to frustrate or render meaningless Britain’s exit from the European Union, has eroded trust in our institutions to a dangerously low level.
    The stakes have risen, far beyond Brexit per se. It is now a question of democracy. Will the people’s verdict of 2016 be honoured or not? Mr. Johnson appears to want to honour the result. It is a little hard to interpret this as ‘extreme’ (that familiar Remainer trope) or ‘bigoted’.

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