Boris’ Brexit Deal: It All Comes Down To The ‘Boris Factor’ In This Charge Of The Light Brigade | Bradley Goodwin
So here we are. A deal has been reached, the nation finally hears. Both sides confirm a deal has been reached that works for them. And all that’s left is for Parliament to ratify it and away we go! All this sets the scene for the fiercest of battles in the grandest of Parliaments, the Father of all Parliaments.
A D-day scenario? More like Groundhog Day.
The one thing that seems to surprise me more than anything, is that people seem to feel genuinely different about this moment compared to the last deal. Consider Boris Johnson’s first line when the news broke, “We’ve got a great new deal that takes back control”. That line could have been, and perhaps was, uttered straight outside the doorsteps of Number 10 when Theresa May announced her own deal.
And that, at the heart, appears to me to be the reality of this whole “breakthrough” moment. I don’t doubt there are some changes that make this new deal different to the old one. For I know one thing, Boris Johnson is not a politician devoid of intelligence. On the contrary, in some aspects he is one of the most intelligent politicians this country has.
By intelligent, I certainly don’t mean as an ideological figure. Boris Johnson is certainly not an ideologue. A simple search on the internet or Twitter or any social media forum can show you his contradictions, his backtracking on things he once claimed to believe but no longer does, from the new proposal on mandatory ID cards in order to vote to even the whole EU issue. Of course, everyone changes their mind or they would cease to be human, but when Boris Johnson changes his mind, it always seems to be the same way as the wind of political opinion and the way the people want it. And, let me put it this way, I don’t think Boris leads with ideas and the people all magically follow, I think the people who lead Boris, if you catch my drift.
Regardless, the facts remain that the arena of the battle over this new deal seems almost a mirror image of the last one. A deal hailed as the means of “taking back control of money, laws and borders”, the key players defending as it as the truest way to a smooth Brexit. And the enemies emerging from the pit to condemn the new deal: the DUP because it doesn’t meet their demands, Labour for whatever nonsensical reason they can generate. And most importantly, a Parliament ready to make its voice heard, to make or break this vital legislation.
And that the heart is the problem with the whole scenario. The scene is largely unchanged, bar the man at the helm.
But actually, that minute difference, might, just possibly, make a difference to the outcome of this moment compared to Theresa May’s attempts to pass a deal.
As I said, Boris is no ideologue by any stretch, but not every intelligent person has to be (not even in politics), and very few intelligent people are. And, believe or it or not, the truth is: Intelligence has got Boris Johnson this far, be it a distinct form of emotional intelligence. Fine, he takes the cause he thinks is most in his favour, but Boris makes it his own in a way quite like no other person ever could, and certainly in a way that Theresa May never could.
I don’t think it’s quite charisma, but something else that is hard to define, and certainly not something I think I can get my head around. The point is, whatever has got Boris this far, it is the only variable of any significance compared to last time that can make an impact. With the predictions for Parliament approving the legislation being razor tight, the Boris factor is going to be under more pressure than it will ever face in Boris’ political career.
Will the Boris factor work? Political predictions have become as useless as a chocolate teapot, so quite frankly I have no idea. But I will say there is one other factor that might work in Mr Johnson’s favour. Apathy.
Everyone quite frankly just wants the entire issue over with, to move on. An imperfect motivation, certainly, but a powerful one, especially when it damages the politician at the ballot box. An imperfect combination of Boris’ unique ability, and the fact that everyone just wants this over with and to get forget this whole sorry affair ever happened, might be the magic combination that finally cracks this problem once for all.
The pessimist in me can’t help but think of the Lord Tennyson’s Charge of the Light Brigade:
“Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
Rode the six hundred.”
It should probably be the 650 for 650 MP’s, but you get the idea. The tenacity, the sheer scale of the challenge against a group who have no option but to fight and pray for a victory. I don’t like the chances, being a natural cynic, but if there is a route through this mess, a light at the end of the tunnel, these small new factors, if they all neatly fall into place, could be the way to end this nightmare for good.