Guest comment: Boris Johnson fails – and that has nothing to do with the Downing Street parties
But what is really important is the resignation of Brexit Minister David Frost from the cabinet. Frost cited the reason in a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier that he disagreed with the current direction of the Conservative Party. The latest corona resolutions are said to have been the trigger. Tax increases and Johnson’s climate policy should not correspond to the ideas of the ex-minister.
In contrast to the first reports, I believe that this is not about Covid. It’s about the UK government’s failure to develop a post-Brexit strategy. The Covid passports are part of it.
When the pandemic broke out, the EU’s first instinct was to create passports to allow travel across borders. Cross-border travel is, however, sometimes further restricted depending on the infection situation.
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So why should the UK copy this exact system when it is no longer in the EU?
Start-ups as an opportunity for the UK
What Brexit primarily requires is an economic model for the post-Brexit period. If any country in Europe is able to change its business model, it is the UK.
Brexit Minister David Frost resigns
There are many start-ups in business. But the UK would be wasting this capital if it did not decouple itself from the EU regulatory system, which it has not done yet.
The EU is not the master of the start-up sector. Herein lies the chance for a wise British government. The high-tech giants of the middle of this century will be companies that don’t even exist yet.
Unless they do not arise because they are overloaded with, for example, the EU’s general data protection regulation, which the UK has fully adopted.
Of all the post-Brexit visions I’ve heard, the high-tech entrepreneur’s version is the only one that has ever made sense to me. The idea of a “global Britain” as a classic trading nation is nonsensical. If the country is about to trade in widgets, it should have stayed in the EU.
Can Johnson still turn things around?
Johnson put all his energy into making Brexit happen, not making it work. I assume that whoever manages to come up with a plan on how to deal with Brexit will receive the grand prize in British post-Brexit politics.
Liz Truss was appointed Secretary of State three months ago. Nevertheless, in addition to her foreign office, she also takes on from Frost the impossible task of bringing the deadlocked negotiations with the European Union (EU) on the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol to a successful conclusion. However, the Conservative Truss has not yet voiced a coherent vision for the post-Brexit world.
Frost is not a leader, but he was one of the few in government who understood that Brexit requires a serious effort from the heart of the government.
Can Johnson still turn things around? The answer is that he can because he is still prime minister. But I am not sure if he will. My guess is that he will try to save himself by changing the outside rather than the content. Maybe a new haircut? A diet? A slimmer version of Boris? It is even possible that the party will fall for it. But voters won’t.
Johnson should ask Frost to come back
If Keir Starmer becomes Prime Minister after the next election, it will be because Johnson had no plan beyond Brexit. It is the governments that lose elections. The opposition seldom wins them because of their merits.
The new leadership of the Labor Party consists of experienced top candidates such as Keir Starmer himself, Yvette Cooper and David Lammy. But all three were also the leaders of the campaign for the second referendum. They won’t be the ones to come up with creative ideas on how Brexit can work. More likely they will try to undo it.
With a serious leader committed to a serious post-Brexit strategy, the Tories will at least be able to justify their re-election.
These arguments cannot be advanced at the moment. So if the pandemic fades from our collective consciousness, Keir Starmer could prove to be a safe partner.
If I were Johnson’s political advisor – which luckily I am not – I would tell him to focus his entire operation on this one issue: getting the post-Brexit economy up and running. And to ask Frost to come back.
The author is the director of www.eurointelligence.com
More: Liz Truss – The “new Margaret Thatcher” should complete Brexit