In thwarting a Brexit vote, British MPs were seeking additional insurance against an abrupt October 31 exit from the European Union that would hurt Britain. Prime Minister Boris Johnson retaliated in a truculent way as he usually does by sending an unsigned letter to the EU on the need to postpone Britain’s exit. “I am Boris, trust me,” he may say, and have the last laugh as Parliament may vote positively later this week on the new divorce deal he brought back from Brussels. The deal may not be the best, and even signals a betrayal of what the PM promised over the backstop and Northern Ireland. Brexit may be too complicated now for anyone in Britain to be satisfied, including those who voted for it in the referendum. But is Boris the only one knows how to get it done?
The PM’s attitude, his brazen defiance of the British system’s norms and culture — of an unwritten Constitution, but bound by traditions going back to the Magna Carta — and his devil-may-care approach to Brexit by October 31 should make the democratic world sit up. The PM has mocked parliamentary colleagues, sacked some of his own Tories and is cocking a snook at MPs by, quite preposterously, sending an unsigned letter among three to the EU. He is defying the Supreme Court that felt compelled to rule his proroguing of Parliament invalid. In short, Boris is showing all signs of “strongmanship”, which is a term in the making for the present era, dominated by the likes of Donald Trump, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Jair Bolsanaro. A proclivity to believe they’re always right and that they needn’t consult anyone on their decisions is a credo of this club.