On Monday’s Four Corners, Philip Williams’s report “Betting on Boris” asks can Boris Johnson deliver Brexit and keep the United Kingdom together?
“I say to all the doubters: Dude, we are going to energise the country. We’re going to get Brexit done on October 31st.” Boris Johnson, British PM
The elevation of Boris Johnson to the Prime Ministership of Great Britain has been greeted with elation in some quarters, with undisguised horror in others.
“When I even think of the words Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the same sentence, just incredible. Boris Johnson is the guy who has created in large part the damage and the division that somehow in the madness of our politics has made him prime minister.” Former UK political strategist
Elected by members of his own party, not by the people, Britain’s 77th Prime Minister has ridden into office on the back of the big bold promise to deliver Brexit come hell or highwater and the stakes couldn’t be higher.
“He wants to be a great British Prime Minister and the only way he can be a great British Prime Minister is to take us successfully out of the European Union. If we were to fail… it will obliterate the Conservative party… it will be over for us.” Conservative MP and Boris Johnson backer
On Monday the ABC’s chief foreign correspondent and former long-time Europe correspondent, Philip Williams, reports on the rise of Boris Johnson.
“As a very small child, he wanted to be world king. He’s always been tremendously ambitious. I think he learned this from his family, which was a very competitive family.” Biographer
“People who hate him, they love to run that he’s an incompetent and bumbling and so on. People who love him run a different narrative…We might call that [a] Vegemite politician. Some love him, some hate him.” Former Australian High Commissioner to the UK
Johnson’s shock of blond hair and colourful turn of phrase has turned him into a single name brand: Boris.
“He likes being in the spotlight. He likes danger. If he doesn’t have difficulties, he creates them for himself.” Biographer
During his controversial career as a journalist turned politician, Johnson has created epic gaffes and scandals but managed to brazen it out.
“Boris has had a fairly colourful private life. Scandals that would normally have felled other politicians don’t appear to have done any lasting damage to Boris.” Former colleague
The new Prime Minister must find a way to unite a badly divided nation. The years of Brexit brawling have split political parties, communities and even families. Now there are serious questions over whether the United Kingdom can survive intact.
“I don’t think he can deliver Brexit. I don’t think it’s possible…Ever since the referendum, I have felt that Brexit will end up either destroying itself or destroying the country.” Former UK political strategist
In Scotland, Boris’s Brexit is driving renewed calls for Scottish independence.
“I think at the present moment, then the likelihood is that Boris Johnson’s Prime Ministership will be the last prime ministership of the UK as it presently exists.” Scottish Minister
Those that know Boris Johnson well say that his Prime Ministership is good news for Australia.
“He loves Australia. He talks about Australia all the time. He has this affinity with Australians. He likes our sense of humour. He likes the fact that we’re quite earthy, and he likes the fact of our general optimism.” Senator and former Johnson staffer
Some are predicting that his tenure may be short lived and that Britain will be soon back in election mode.
“I think it’s very possible that by the autumn Prime Minister Johnson is saying, ‘I’ve not been able to get anywhere…and therefore it’s time for a general election.’ I can well see him taking that risk.” Former British Ambassador to the EU.
Monday 12th August at 8.30pm on ABC.