Is Boris good for Business?
Leave aside the question of whether UK should ever have decided to quit the EU; forget the vacillating behaviour of Boris Johnson when the issue was being discussed before the referendum; indulge a certain amount of eccentricity – it’s what the British do frightfully well, anyway; abandon the mistaken view that Britain is still ‘punching above its weight’. Apply all these caveats and ask yourself ‘Is Boris good for Business?’
Note that he was good for London when he was Mayor. But the Mayor of London has a quite limited amount of power and the position itself was still relatively new. Ken Livingstone had made it a rabbit warren of his own, prior to Boris’s elevation. Also remember that Boris appeared on the scene as the Old Etonians were coming back into vogue – though don’t get me wrong, I am in favour of Education and Eton and Balliol are two of the best.
They laughed when Jeremy Corbyn became Leader of the Labour Party but when he put on a suit and tie they sat up and took notice. He seems so innocently refreshing after multi-spin Blair. But he had nothing useful to say about Brexit. Mrs May, too, has not refreshed after multi-party Cameron. The Conservatives have not been able to get out of the dark alley he led them into. Might Boris do so?
That the world wants a different kind of politician is obvious. When the United States rocks the political boat – ask Jon Sopel, BBC, how much – and the strong, straight political leaders like Angela Merkel get their cages rattled so violently; when Emmanuel Macron finds the hill steeper than he thought and Petro Poroshenko sees his efforts to rebalance Ukraine turning to ashes; when China finds itself heading for another dynastic reign, then politicians see how much power they have lost and how much control Tough Techie has gained.
How would Boris steer the ship of state in such a tempest? I had hoped to say that it might be well, but I can’t. The politicians who will do best for their constituents will be those who tackle the fundamentals not those who tickle the media. The Tech Tussle affecting us all pales into insignificance alongside the Dreadful Deep Debt the young of the world now carry. The apparent lack of purpose for living makes the struggle to live longer seem somehow absurd. The value of life is being eroded by every act of gratuitous violence, every mass shooting. You need a strong arm at the tiller for this voyage.
Then there’s the matter of just plain business. Recognising the existence of a global world is not visionary. Comprehending the need for mutual trade, not to mention mutual defence, shouldn’t be beyond the grasp of the political intelligentsia. Society was first created by cooperation. Now we can all speak to each other 24/7 is that cooperation to be dismantled? We should be looking at quite the reverse. An overcrowded planet needs 24-hour living.
Nobody likes change. Our comfortable corner is very appealing, but it’s not going to be comfortable forever. We need to brace ourselves to the idea that we will shape the future more than it will shape us. To do that we need leaders who understand that their roles are leading not pandering.
If Boris wants the job he should appeal to our better natures, not our worse ones.