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BoJo Used Brexit Win To Impose Socialism And Eco-Extremism On The UK

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Is this the time for a mea culpa, or as our outgoing Prime Minister might have once put it, even a mea maxima culpa, for supporting Boris Johnson three years ago? The answer, dear readers, is an emphatic “No”, and not only because I’m not a Roman Catholic. …

Johnson’s tragedy is that he outlived his usefulness so quickly and turned from an exceptional asset to a prohibitively costly liability in record time, which is why so many erstwhile Johnson loyalists and voters turned on him decisively. [bold, links added]

He misunderstood his early luck and success and refused to build a proper structure around himself, rather than a dysfunctional court made up of warring factions.

His staggering lack of self-awareness extended to the moral realm: he didn’t seem to grasp that voters are allergic to double standards, hypocrisy, and downright lies.

His lack of a guiding ideology, other than personal ambition and self-interest, meant that he failed to understand why so many of his supporters feel ideologically betrayed by his high-tax, high-spend agenda.

It became apparent well over a year ago that there would be no lengthy Johnsonian era, as I fleetingly thought might have been possible in the immediate aftermath of the election, no new economic and social model named after him, no great project to remodel Britain a la Thatcher.

It is a bitter disappointment, a catastrophic waste of an 80-seat majority, a seismic defeat for the forces of conservatism in an increasingly Left-wing culture, the ultimate proof of the futility of purposeless ambition, of the idea that charisma, slipperiness, and off-the-cuff verbal dexterity beats principle, thoughtfulness, organization, reliability, focus, and managerial ability.

Johnson’s performance went downhill almost immediately after the General Election, with his decision to approve HS2—the first of many errors.

His greatest failure was to make fools of those of us who believed his assurances that he was broadly a Reaganite, freedom-loving supply-sider, albeit one with an unfortunate weakness for Keynesianism, municipalism, Helseltinian central direction, and grand projects.

For a short while, at least in the second half of 2019 and until the start of Covid, it felt as if there was some sort of plan, a fusion between his ideas and those of his advisers.

I didn’t like all of them by any means, but it felt as if we would end up with a mix of tax cuts, deregulation, a radical reform of the Civil Service and procurement, the end of the license fee, a semi-libertarian embrace of freedom, a semi-consumerist, conservative (rather than collectivist) approach to environmentalism, as well as lots of extra spending in many areas.

We ended up with massively more spending, a vicious series of tax increases, global corporation tax harmonization that made a mockery of Brexit, a hard-Left green agenda that is barely less authoritarian than that of Extinction Rebellion, and a war on consumers, including drivers, meat-eaters and anybody with a suburban lifestyle, a full-on paternalist agenda, more red tape and bureaucracy, no planning reform, an unleashing of the Civil Service and further gains for the woke classes.

None of the good things have been delivered, and all the bad ones have happened, and worse.

His management of Covid was middling, average even by global standards, but no less disastrous for that. Yes, he faced difficult choices, but he refused to follow his supposed principles.

Why did he not conduct proper cost-benefit analyses? Why didn’t he tell the public that furlough was strictly temporary? Why all the mendacious, demagogic nonsense about the NHS?

The vaccine’s success was one of the few positive outcomes, but even that was squandered when Johnson returned control to the bureaucracy.

The British state has learned none of the right lessons from Covid when it comes to future pandemic management.

Covid would have damaged any PM, but it permanently derailed this one, and not just because he suffered so badly from it.

It gave Johnson a taste for unlimited spending and state power from which he never recovered. It also exposed the hypocrisy of an elite that thought it could party while the rest of the country was locked down, destroying Johnson’s greatest political advantage: the idea he was different and on the side of normal people.

Perhaps Johnson’s most perplexing failure was to misunderstand the purpose of Brexit, the policy that will define him forever more.

Instead of a traditionally Eurosceptic pro-growth agenda, he chose to ape the continental economic model we had struggled so hard to escape.

Instead of renewing our institutions, he happily embraced the technocratic status quo.

His semi-socialist economic model is incompatible with growth, and will now need to be scrapped if his successor is to have any hope of rescuing the Conservative Party and the Brexit legacy.

Now that his Government has imploded in a sordid, chaotic mess of resignations and frustration, Johnson will soon have a lot more time to reflect on how it all went so pathetically, absurdly wrong.

Read more at Daily Telegraph

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