Boris Johnson sentences to ponder

He has done what no other conservative leader in the West has done: He has co-opted and thereby neutered the far right. The reactionary Brexit Party has all but collapsed since Boris took over. Anti-immigration fervor has calmed. The Tories have also moved back to the economic and social center under Johnson’s leadership. And there is a strategy to this. What Cummings and Johnson believe is that the E.U., far from being an engine for liberal progress, has, through its overreach and hubris, actually become a major cause of the rise of the far right across the Continent. By forcing many very different countries into one increasingly powerful Eurocratic rubric, the E.U. has spawned a nationalist reaction. From Germany and France to Hungary and Poland, the hardest right is gaining. Getting out of the E.U. is, Johnson and Cummings argue, a way to counter and disarm this nationalism and to transform it into a more benign patriotism. Only the Johnson Tories have grasped this, and the Johnson strategy is one every other major democracy should examine.

Here is more by Andrew Sullivan, interesting throughout.


Some 3D chess going on here. I am sure Boris had the vision of entering the political stage to avoid backlash from EU enabled mass migration.

EU enabled suicide.

Coming from NYMag, this is so rich it's wealthy. The thing must not be called what it is. It is not a defeat! It is but a flesh-wound!

This is from a publication that has published pieces so thoroughly ensconced in leftist overreach and hubris it like so many others could sit in the top 100 mouthpieces for the very positions Boris and the people that just voted represent.

These people are blind. So blind. He's brilliant. He's restoring the center. Just don't call it defeat for the very thing we were working so hard to preserve.

You're correct.

Sullivan is wrong as usual. I often think of libs as lemmings. Now, it's more ostriches burying their heads in the sand when they see the lion.

I get NY Mag for his writing and only his writing. It is like 10 dollars a year on kindle. But everything he writes is worth reading.

'But everything he writes is worth reading.'

Like his personal ads?

I'm reminded of the Napoleonic wars. Specifically the Wars of the Coalitions that were a direct result of Napoleon's adamancy regarding his Continental System, specifically designed to exclude Britain.

History doesn't repeat itself, but it definitely rhymes. This time, Britain and Brexit is the UK's way of excluding itself from yet another continental system that doesn't have its best interests in mind. And what do they do? The continentals flip out yet again.

Its not nationalism or 'far-right' to unplug yourself from a system when it's a bad system, one fundamentally disadvantageous to the very idea of the existence of the UK and its people.

I know why they flip out. They know that the EU experiment is dead if countries like the UK, or Poland, or Hungary walk away. It creates precedence for others to walk away, legit or not.

P.S. they're already calling Boris 'racist' in the streets. 'Not my Prime Minister'. Mental infants.

Is it true British Intel with the help of Steele has a dossier of Russian interference in the election?

Yep. Super true. It involves something to do with urine and smells like it to. They keep it in airtight box no one will ever see because of the smell.

What I heard was the EU welcomed Boris get grexit fone.

Now the EU will get to exert sovereignty over the UK as they no longer need to let the UK have veto power over important EU matters.

And from news reports, the major EU ports to the UK are ready to impose customs checks on UK exports, plus park all the trucks the UK is not prepared to process on entry.

"Boris get grexit fone"

Boris sad
Boris British Islander
Boris no Grecian Islander
Want Brexit fone make prank calls on herd-think continentals
Now no way to prank continentals except
Do what British islanders have done 3 different times
In last 300 years
Oh well
At least Boris call friends in Greece
They next

If it wasn't for Northern Ireland and the lack of any coherent plan from the U.K. on what to do with it, Brexit would have been wrapped up a long time ago and the EU would have moved on.

But Boris Johnson and a critical mass of his allies cling to the fantasy that Northern Ireland can remain an integral part of the U.K. while leaving the EU Customs Union entirely but that somehow there will be no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. In a sane world, Northern Ireland would become an autonomous region with its own immigration and customs rules and a vote on what sort of relationship it wants with the EU while Great Britain can pack its things and leave. The opposition and obstruction to such a proposal is coming entirely from the Conservatives and the DUP.

Now that the Conservatives don't need the DUP to form a coalition, maybe its negotiating position will become a bit more realistic. Will be interesting to see.

And the notion that the EU is "flipping out" is a pretty odd framing, as well. The EU has agreed to Brexit plans several times with two Prime Ministers in a row -- these PMs failed to get the votes for these plans from members of their own party and their party insisted on asking for an extension to stay in the EU longer.

Boris is easy to underrate. Dude has formidable political instincts, like Trump, but he's much more likeable.

I think you missed that the entire piece was a contrast. A naked one. It says that if you are going to put on a populist suit, it's better if it is a thin one, and you are a shrewd and classically educated elite beneath it.

To be honest, that's a bit cynical for me to take. I'd prefer people who can honestly wear their educated and compassionate skin. Without disguise.

Here's a question. What if being smart and educated means you sometimes have to be heartless? Or boorish? Or uncouth? What if being a "classically educated elite" wearing a "disguise" is the whole problem and why things are such a mess?

It's a wonder - nay totally and completely unprecedented - that boorish and uncouth people with unhealthy twitter habits or resistance to illegal immigration are winning globally. No one - especially at the NYMag - saw this coming....

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Good on us, I say.

Truly great words indeed. Substantially complimentary to the Constitution - a legally binding document - that makes free speech, including uncouth and boorish speech, protected speech.

Here is Boris's ambivalent and nuanced take on Brexit from 2013:


"If we left the EU, we would end this sterile debate, and we would have to recognise that most of our problems are not caused by “Bwussels”, but by chronic British short-termism, inadequate management, sloth, low skills, a culture of easy gratification and under-investment in both human and physical capital and infrastructure."

Populism is all about pandering and feeding on most people's sense that they're somehow getting the short end of the stick, as we see on the left and right in the good old USA, not accusing the electorate of 'sloth'.

I don't think he's a populist so much as the one politician in the UK who sees a way of cutting the Gordian knot associated with the Brexit vote that was paralyzed the country for years.

In a democratic society, the ability to listen to the people and devise a policy that doesn't ride roughshod over their wishes is a crucial political skill, I think Boris has this in spades, and it ain't populism.

That piece was better than Sullivan's, and it certainly shows Johnson was not trying to hide erudition in 2013.

How has erudition been redefined to mean being ruled by unaccountable bureaucrats in another country?

Most rational people know how political sausage is made. It seems to offend some people who imagine that if it is done out of sight it isn't happening.

What I can't figure out is how they would think that the base instincts of power then don't apply. Maybe these erudite and honorable people simply aren't very bright. To think that these enlightened well educated people who have carved out unaccountable sinecures would act in a craven and short sighted way that causes serious societal damage seems beyond them. But they speak so well!

How has "elite" been redefined to mean an individual member of an elite group, rather than the group?

Yeah. McGovern '72 was so long ago. People forget.

Or Mondale '84.

Or a senile Biden in 2016 challenging voters to push up contests

Note to the senile: it's 2019

Oof, hit submit too quick on that one.

I'd have to disagree at this point in any case. Currently Joe Biden looks like one of the few Democratic nominees that can beat Trump in the general election. Granted, if Biden starts having problems tracking later in the campaign that would obviously backfire for the Democrats. However, I suspect that Trump would clobber Sanders or Warren in the general election.

Imagine that, if you stop calling people racists, listen to their concerns, and enact some common sense policies in response (even if the NY Times disagrees)...they settle down. What an insight.

"The Left is being held down by some heavy garbage bags."

The answer is staring everybody in the face and the pundit and elite classes squirm like a toddler being force-fed spinach: white middle- and working-class votes.

It's who they are. They can't help themselves. Thank God.

People voted for the least right-wing party that supported Brexit and immigration reform. This suggests these are not extreme positions, just overwhelmingly important ones.

No exactly sure why the Brexit Party is considered "far right". The party has pretty main stream economic and social policy and its platform was based around exiting the EU and controlled immigration. As such it has little in common with many of the right wing anti-immigration, highly nationalistic political parties that have emerged in Hungary, Poland, Italy etc. I would also note that the Brexit Party did not contest Conservative held seats in yesterday's election, yet in some of the Labour strongholds like Barnsley Central and Barnsley East, the Brexit Party came close to unseating the incumbent. Moreover, as at today it will I think cease to exist.

"No exactly sure why the Brexit Party is considered "far right". "

It's part of the narrative.

Because of the things in their manifesto?

Yes, Tony, If people would take the time to actually read the platform Johnson ran on and contrast it with Corbyn's views, the results of the election would be less surprising. Also, if you listen to ten minutes of Johnson followed by ten minutes of Corbyn, you'll be even less surprised.

What is exactly is "far right" about a party that affirms its commitment to socialized medicine and to shower the NHS with more money, promises freebies to college students like abolishing student loan interest, modify the Universal Credit system, proposes to fund more public housing and infrastructure, etc.? Brexit, limiting immigration, and abolishing the death tax is pretty thin gruel for "far right."

Sullivan still works on a single left-right dimension model, with undefined criteria for positioning.

I know, I know. It's funny in this day and age that any serious commentator should be so archaic.

You're saying that Corbyn is crazy? I thought everybody knew that. A disgusting anti-Semite, too.

Will getting out of a customs union make England Great Again.

I doubt it. Those who have jobs that served EU customers are moving to the continent.

With respect to at US-England trade agreement, watch out for the terms of financial regulation and oversight ...NYC may argue that England has an unfair financing advantage and we should change our financial regulation, or they will insert in the trade agreement cutting back US financials laws or regulations.

Then comes the next recession.

if only Bill could have had a say in the referendum. Nobody said anything like this.

England may or may not become Great Again after leaving EU but it will be marginally more England.

Indeed. To detach themselves from the well known center of innovation and economic dynamism is foolish. The British should aim for the peace and harmony of the French, the fiscal rectitude of the Italians and the warm caring nature of the Germans.

You know the one:

In Heaven, the cooks are French, the police are British, the cars are German, the lovers are Italian, and everything is run by the Swiss.

In Hell, the cooks are British, the police are German, the cars are French, the lovers are Swiss, and everything is run by the Italians.

"the E.U., far from being an engine for liberal progress, has, through its overreach and hubris, actually become a major cause of the rise of the far right across the Continent."

True. And...

The academic/media/government establishment, far from being an engine for liberal progress, has, through its overreach and hubris, actually become a major cause of the rise of the far right across the US.

Some people are so smart that they can’t recognize what’s right in front of their nose.

I watched his "Brexit, Actually" ad. Gag. Or faint sensory memory of a gag at least. A risky move? But then I guess the UK and the US don't necessarily share much, culturally, beyond a love of Harry Potter and Bart Simpson. Not a Tory ad, precisely, but has "The Crown" been as popular over the pond as here?

"And they should nominate some geriatric liberal to remind half the country that they're going to take their guns"

How many school children more do you want dead?

Exactly. Please do keep it up.

I would like to be able to say the same, but, you know, schoolchildren.

Dick is right; y'all can't help yourselves. #KAG

As much as you can't help bejng a psychopath, thirsting for human blood.

"How many school children more do you want dead?"

Blood libel. Calumny. Appeal to emotion. False equivalence. Non sequitur. None of which is a rational argument.

More GOOD news: "A Trump impeachment would guarantee the president's re-election, according to political expert Jeanne Zaino."
The dishonest, unconstitutional, predetermined (Nanny Pelosi - "We've been working on it for over two years.") impeachment qualifies President Trump for a third term.

On Black Friday 29 November 2019, Americans purchased (FBI background check data) enough (400,000) guns to arm the US Marine Corp. Recent ATF report: Americans now own 442 million guns (including 17.7 million so-called assault weapons). If law-abiding American gun owners were a problem, you would know it.

Just how scared are you? Why are you so insecure? Is your life that terrible?

"On Black Friday 29 November 2019, Americans purchased (FBI background check data) enough (400,000) guns to arm the US Marine Corp. "

I guess the problem is children are too small to make good targets. Loonies end up missing many shots.

Sullivan is and has always been a Tory. Duh. He always goes back to momma.

Sullivan can write beautiful sentences. He is poetic. Now, whether those poetic sentences are rational is a different matter. Here, Sullivan argues that the way to counter and disarm nationalism is to be more . . . nationalistic. Our interest is to discourage the "little countries" from the pugilism that gave rise to every destructiven nationalistic movement, from Napoleon to Hitler. Little, insecure countries, like little insecure men, are capable of mass destruction. Is Sullivan a little insecure man? I don't know.

Napoleon and Hitler were imperialists.

Sullivan's a decent-sized gay guy. He doesn't strike me as little or insecure.

Does lots of cardio make people little and insecure and cause them to cast moral aspersions on complete strangers because of a political column they write?

Insecure little men are prim little socialists... or so would the nationalists say were they to stoop to the level of their opponents.

For those with little memory, Sullivan cheered on the invasion of Iraq, while describing those who questioned the coming fiasco as "a fifth column". If one looks at Sullivan's career, he is always wrong when an issue arises, but when he is proven wrong by the ensuing events, he marches on in his own fifth column. He's an idiot with the gift of gab.

Cartman licks your tears of unfathomable sadness.

We'll see if Johnson governs as he campaigned, as anti-trade and anti immigration. He certainly could betray all the Brexiters and Little Englanders who voted for him, but does he have the courage to do so?

'courage' really doesn't sound like the right word here.

Johnson is widely known to be an adulterer.

It may be useful to understand that migration to the UK this century has been unprecedented, peaking in 2015, at the same time Merkel insisted on throwing open the EU borders to refugees. Why can't the yokels just keep their traps shut and be respectable?

Whatever dude. Broadly stable at record high levels. The British, like most Europeans are saying enough is enough. And your ridiculous take is that evil people are making this position 'respectable'.

Got it... the EU is "far-right" so now it's a GOOD thing that the lefties lost the UK.

Whatever makes you sleep better, Ty.

A quibble. The brexit party didn't win seats but lost them for Labour.

My default is that you lose elections, don't win them. Labour lost badly. The Scottish nationalist took most of Scotland, traditionally Labour. Conservatives won stalwart Labour ridings. There news clips seemed to be dominated by Labour people hollering at each other. Corbyn hard left with the woke educated seemed to alienate the traditional working class voters. The Lib Dems won a reasonable proportion of the vote but few seats, but of interest their leader was unable to say clearly what a woman is, and was relieved of responsibility to allow her time to sort out her confusion.

Boris put together a very centrist platform. The Tory remainers lost their seats. The few votes of hardcore remainers were easily replaced with working class voters. Trump did the same thing.

The reaction from the continent will be interesting.

How, exactly, has the Brexit Party been "neutered" if all of its policies have been adopted by the Tory Party?

"From Germany and France to Hungary and Poland" to Hong Kong to Iran to Iraq to Lebanon to Chile, Bolivia, Venezuela Argentine back to France. We are one our second loop, what Boris did was find a temporary pause while the rebellions take the spin and participants start measuring the total price, peak to peak. They gonna be a whole lot of deju vu.

Parody twitter account, but the comment is pretty accurate. And presumably the accounts she linked to are not pardoy.

"Following tonight’s devastating election results, it’s time for the left to reflect. 😞

We have clearly failed to win over the hearts and minds of our fellow citizens.

The obvious conclusion is... we didn’t call them racist often enough."

Yup. That's the strategy now. It's pure Brecht. Let us hope the left can dissolve the electorate and try again.

Another excellent quote from the piece: "the ability of most people to move on from difficult subjects once they feel they’ve been listened to should not be underestimated"

But at least he should give the blog bashing a rest, because it would be too obvious then.

It seems many commenters here are unreflective about the nature of their agreement.

Give it a rest troll.

See, that's what's amazing. That link was to a fairly even handed analysis by a Professor of Public Law. You see it as a troll because you don't want to hear it. You think you have a silo where free thinking, and public policy analysis left of right, is not allowed.

Ian Haney López is a law professor at UC Berkeley and the author of the forthcoming “Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America.”

Fusing sounds nice. As opposed to dividing.

But 'merging left' to 'save America' doesn't sound very 'even handed'

You can start reading that book for free at

I didn't find it very scary, but it does remind that Americans have a lot of racial baggage, which the author *doesn't* think rises to racism in most situations.

Even handed:

"As the study of implicit bias shows, almost all of us — whether we voted for Trump or not — both embrace ideals of racial equality and harbor deeply internalized racist assumptions. Few of us are entirely racial saints or racist devils."

You are obviously not up to date on the state of the literature on 'implicit bias'. Social psychology is a mess.

I know some studies haven't replicated, but based on what we know of consciousness and neurobiology, it's not a heavy lift.

There are things we decide, and there are stories we tell ourselves about why we decided.

It's entirely reasonable that a history of "dark associations" shape our decisions. It's also expected that we will tell ourselves the best story we can about those decisions.

The public version of our stories tends to sound even better

Interesting story you're telling yourself there about what you clearly have already decided....😒

I don't invent it. Read Antonio Domasio, Oliver Sacks, Steven Pinker, Daniel Gilbert, Lee Dugatkin.

There is an interesting related thread here, the political science view.

Did Sullivan ever discover who was the real mother of Trig Palin?

A terrible person, whose views are of no account.

I don't think Boris has much of a strategy for anything, except for getting Boris into power.

What a load of crap about The Brexit Party. Farage is interested in only one thing, Brexit, and he recognized that Johnson is the best way to get it. If he didn't believe that, he would have contested the vote in all 650 elections.

And Farage hasn't gone anywhere- he will watching to see what happens.

Australian conservatives have been doing that for 2 decades now to great effect and sensibility

B bloody D. Anti migration fervour calms because... net migration drops.

The Tories, as a voter, frankly are no more damned socially centrist than under May.

Johnson is no magician. You confuse the poor choices of Corbyn with the bon idee of Cummings.

The Tories must keep migration low, else lose their majority. Libertardians seek to imagine in Johnson some formula to keep their immature idiocy* populist and vital, but they must simply accept that they were wrong, and always wrong.

*the idiocy of social liberalism and economic conservatism, or rather, radically progressive capitalism. put another way

Net migration drops by about 100k from EU sources, rises by about 50k from non-EU sources.

BBC using ONS info 2018 -

ONS themselves 2019 -

It isn't a drop down to very low levels but has been on a down overall trend. Not driven by less overall incoming migration, but by more emigration, and that emigration is mainly not by born and bred British citizens. With any luck net migration can be got down to the tens of thousands again.

More important, uncontrolled migration from the EU is down, and the perception about being in control of who lives here then improves.

Further even within EU migration, the drop is predominantly of Poles and SE Europeans, less so in terms of Western Europeans who no one had a problem with (as they largely took high paid skilled work and paid high taxes).

There's a bit of a silly meme about among the Left that a vote for Brexit is a vote for "bad" immigration that's higher and that's not from good little Europeans. Wrong, of course. Most of the increases in non-EU migration is from short term students! (And very much genuine students at that, since the Tories have put paid to Labour era fake student scandals).

(Also, a Prior comment not deleted yet? how's about that then... don't see them in the wild too often).

Let us rather actually look at the numbers and be quantitative.

If you take an overall fall of 33% as within the bounds of "broadly stable" then indeed you could argue that the numbers are "broadly stable" (and perhaps the ONS may mean it in such a sense), otherwise that quote is clearly at odds with what the ONS actual numbers show.

I think this is the fundamental attribution error in action. Johnson didn't plan this; he got lucky. I'll believe something was planned when someone (anyone, not necessarily Johnson) predicted it in terms as sure as in the article.

Now, expect to see more articles in the spirit of Tyler's in the near future.

While Johnson and the Tories were on the backfoot, he was of course the embodiment of anti-democratic, anti-business populist-nationalism, and it was of course argued by bien-pensants that he demonstrated the inevitable downfall of such a stance in the face of our inevitable post-nationalist, pro-business future.

While when they succeed, he and they are of course re-branded as an example of the inevitable success of pro-business social liberalism.

Success has many fathers, failure is always an orphan!

This is all ridiculous though. The Tories succeeded merely by offering something reasonably sensible - fairly modest increases in spending (albeit poorly costed), actually implementing a referendum result almost everyone (sane) agreed should be implemented, a sensible migration policy - in a race where...

The Labour Party offered a weird new economic model with strong metropolitan biases - a massive transfer of infrastructure to public ownership and huge subsidization of higher education (a cash transfer to the well off highly educated, effectively), on the argument that this was investment in business and in service of market capitalist growth, with some sort of role in this for workers councils (Singapore With Socialist Characteristics). Plus a dodgy Brexit policy. The Liberal Dems seemed to forget all of their prior principles about First-Past-The-Post majority governments (guess majority governments voted by a minority of the population can impose huge decisions, like remaining in the EU, by fiat after all, Swinson?). Meaning both split what little vote they could get outside the metropole. And finally, the Scottish people seemed to persist in stubbornly voting for the SNP - a party of "Tartan Tories" who want to break up the United Kingdom who will never, ever be able to form any sort of coalition with the Labour or Conservative Parties.

a party of "Tartan Tories"

Actually a party of sh!ty Peronists with burrs, who want out from Westminster in order to be ruled by Brussels.


Tyler is so good on many fronts, it's alarming that he is so wrong in the area I know well.

Wait a minute, that implies....

With all the celebration over Brexit, it's important to remember how the EU and other multilateral institutions came about. After the centuries-old European civil war, with the terrifying destruction wrought by competing nationalities, in 1945 the US lead the charge in establishing a different political structure. The result was NATO, the Coal and Steel Community, eventually the EU and, of course, the United Nations and its various specialized agencies such as the OECD. Not only did this bring about national and regional security, but untold stability, political moderation and economic prosperity. Do we really want to return to the old days of competitive nationalisms, confrontational militaries and ethnic hatreds?

Well, great, international institutions can have some role, sure. They aren't all purely drek (or if they are, it is not logically required that they must inevitably be).

What that has to do with the precise ambitions of the European Union and its precise structures and arbitrary four freedoms, is much more elusive.

Better mechanisms to manage tensions between states perhaps, though I doubt it mattered much to reduce war compared to having similar parliamentary democratic constitutions and economic relations. But this has little to do with European federalist dreams of homogenizing all Europeans into something resembling Oswald Mosley's "Europe a Nation".

I use this "reasoning" as a teachable moment for junior analysts:

"Are the members of the EU democracies?" - "Yes"

"Is democracy sufficient to explain general peace between them?" - "Yes"

Given that you have a sufficient explanation for peace with "democracy", do you need to add "EU membership" as an explanatory factor to your model? - "No".

(There is a worthy secondary argument; that the EU contributes to peace by sustaining the democratic nature of its constituents, but it's not statistically supported over equiv OECD states).

is this a joke?
Boris is even more far right than Trump.
he tells EU citizens living in the UK they shouldn't feel at home.
he makes racist jokes in TV and in the press every week.

Sullivan consistently mis-understands, and mis-represents, and smears the positions of the Conservative party, the Brexit Party, Nigel Farage, and large swathes of the British electorate. He sprinkles his piece with remoaner chestnuts; "Leave Lied!", confusing "Europe" with "The EU" and shows almost no introspection into his own biases and pre-conceptions.

This is why liberals like Sullivan are failing. They are blinded by their own moral conceit.

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