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Boris Johnson: What Now?

Today Boris Johnson will be handed the keys to Number 10 Downing Street and Britain will be led by a Prime Minister who is fundamentally unfit for office. Boris Johnson has weaponised racism and homophobia to advance his political career, he has embarrassed not only this country on the world stage but also our friends and allies.

His lies have played an instrumental role in afflicting the country with Brexit, a never ending saga that has swallowed up the political landscape and prevented the country from being able to discuss matters of real importance such as the privatisation of the health service, austerity, the destruction of public services, a housing crisis and rising levels of child poverty. Now we have to ask ourselves, with this man now leading the country, "what next?"

The National Health Action Party - like many other concerned onlookers - cannot predict with categorical certainty what will happen next. However, we believe the most likely scenario is the following: Johnson will be unable to secure significant concessions from the European Union on the Irish backstop. In turn, this will lead to the ERG refusing to support any (cosmetically) new Withdrawal Agreement that Johnson brings back to Parliament from Brussels.

The most likely consequence of this will then be that Johnson will attempt to push a "hard Brexit" through Parliament. However, there is no majority for a hard Brexit in parliament, it would be nearly impossible for Johnson to succeed in pulling off such a manoeuvre, but Johnson knows this and is in fact banking on it. This is because Johnson believes Parliament's refusal to countenance a hard Brexit will actually play into his hands. Johnson wants to portray the Conservatives as the only party that can be trusted to deliver Brexit. Meaning in other words that he's desperate to ward off the Brexit Party who are currently poised to take a significant chunk out of the Tory vote.

After a hard Brexit is voted down, Johnson with the backing of the right wing media - remember "Crush the Saboteurs" - will fire his guns on Labour, in particular by referencing its having become a party of remain. This will be used to lay the groundwork for a general election, most likely to be called in October. And like Theresa May before him, Johnson will attempt to turn that election into a proxy referendum on a hard Brexit.

But, while all of this sounds incredibly grim, it is important not to despair. Johnson and the Tories can be defeated.

The first step will be for the anti-Brexit parties to work together to challenge the narrative that the general election is solely about Brexit. They will have to offer serious economic answers to the grievances that led to Brexit in the first place. Meaning in turn that austerity is scrapped, for good.

This will require the Liberal Democrats to seriously rethink their current rhetoric and position on working with the Labour Party. At the same time, all parties will need to work together to get the Tories out, meaning in turn the necessary adoption of a Progressive Alliance.

In the past the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats have been receptive to this tactic whereas Labour has not. But now is not the time for tribal party loyalty. It is the time to work across party divides to ward off not just a hard Tory Brexit, but also to prevent the Tories from continuing to implement the neoliberal policies which are destroying the social fabric of the country. The current situation is by no means ideal but progressives can change it. However, we can only do so by working together.

Ends 

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