This election is about stopping Boris Johnson

by Jonathan Todd

“Politics,” as JK Galbraith sagely put it, “consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.”

While Jeremy Corbyn’s approval ratings indicate that some find him unpalatable, there is no doubt that Boris Johnson is disastrous.

“Who governs?” asked Edward Heath. “Not you,” came the general election verdict. “Get Brexit done,” Johnson says. “No, thanks,” must be the response.

Done, in the Johnson lexicon, means endless debates about our relationship with the EU sucking the oxygen out of our country for years. The end of the beginning of Brexit’s joyless revolution. A decisive threshold, depriving us of hard-won rights to live and work across our continent, but only an appetiser.

The main course propels Northern Ireland towards a united Ireland, Scotland out of the UK, and the bedraggled remains of the UK on a desperate trajectory towards a US president who finds so much to dislike in a European Union founded on the rule of law, committed to tackling climate change, and acting together to have more clout.

The UK best endures, only remains recognisably what we have known it to be, by remaining in the EU. We only stay in the EU via the confirmatory referendum that the 2017 parliament has denied us.

Of course, it would have been better to have had that referendum and then this election. Labour should have offered to support Johnson’s withdrawal agreement in exchange for that referendum.

But, as Labour moderates surely know, we deal with the world as it is, not as we would wish it to be. That referendum was not going to emerge from the 2017 parliament.

We respond to that by seeking opportunities elsewhere (as per Owen Smith and perhaps other disgruntled Labour backbenchers) or by stopping Johnson. And in that defeat turning the UK around.

Years of austerity weakened us. Made us vulnerable to lies about money for the NHS. Made us nervous about all of Turkey coming to live next door. Made us believe that anything must be better than now.

But Brexit’s sunlit uplands never arrived, and the decline of the UK will quicken under its snake oil salesmen. Anyone with a heart must fear what they would do with a parliamentary majority. They’ll shed no tears for public services made unaffordable by stalled growth and tax collection under their Brexit.

The pathologies of recent years will harden. A shrivelled economy will induce more austerity. A broken society will produce more xenophobia. An economic and social cocktail that we cannot swallow.

This election is about stopping that. It is about Johnson from beginning to end. He talks about delivering Brexit and can only get a withdrawal deal, just the start of getting Brexit done, through broken promises. He wants to unite the country and gets booed everywhere. He got us into this mess and can’t get us out.

It is time to put him under the scrutiny that he runs from. To hold him accountable for what he has done. To make him pay by finishing his destructive political career.

No Labour candidate should speak without attacking Johnson. The idea that he can fix what he has broken should be relentlessly exposed for the cruel nonsense that it is. Now is not the time for faint hearts but for throwing everything we have at Johnson.

“In the really hard cases,” Galbraith continues, “you’re choosing between the disastrous and the catastrophic, and it’s hard to tell someone which one is which.”

Some equivocate over Johnson and Corbyn. The prospect of prime minister Corbyn seeming to them disastrous. But he has not been responsible for the indignities of the past decade. It would be catastrophic to reward those who have.

The communities that Labour represents, the values that Liberal Democrats cherish, and the hopes for Scotland’s membership of the EU that the SNP holds dear have all been trashed by Johnson. To say nothing of the climate change response that the Greens agitate for. And he must have somehow offended Plaid Cymru too.

The combined forces of these political armies should be thrown at Johnson. Then we will see what emerges from an election in which Johnson is inviting us to be puppets on his string. Being more, much more, than that, we must refuse.

Jonathan Todd is Deputy Editor of Labour Uncut

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10 Responses to “This election is about stopping Boris Johnson”

  1. Alf says:

    Labour’s socialist and Tory-lite wings must work together to defeat Johnson. We just can’t afford a repeat of the 2017 campaign when the latter faction actively undermined the leadership. We’d already be in power if that had not been the case. Here’s hoping, anyway.

  2. Tafia says:

    If you think Corbyn and that treacherous, traitorous, financially incontinent shambles he surrounds himself with are in anyway electable then you are a cretin.

  3. Anne says:

    I fully agree with this article. For the sake of our country’s future prosperity we must get rid of this disastrous government – especially Johnson. I fear it is now too late to save the union – Scotland will vote for independence with Ireland not too far behind becoming a united country.

  4. Joun P Reid says:

    Get brexit done- Boris
    Thanks must be the reply
    Well that would be the reply if you want labour to be destroyed forever

    The communities labour represents have been trashed by Boris
    So what communities do you think labour represents- because it’s not Democrat’s and the working class in what way do the communities labour represent ,victim identity middle class white collar public sector pension workers? Labour are basically sending out leaflets to students saying labour policy is to canvass for Remain in a 2nd referendum
    Yet up north labour have leaflets we’ll fight for a good brexit deal from the EU up north
    Of course labour does think it speaks for ethnic minority communities and the Tories don’t, as it decides if a black persons says something they disagree with then it’s not the view that minorities have and that person is mistaken

    Anne surely it’s up to the people of Northern Ireland if they want to be independent
    For the record seeing as the British parliament pushed on the north of Ireland Abortion and gay marriage laws that many there disagree with despite the SDLP catholic’s being told give up in a United ireland and Stormont can decide their policies
    I know SDLP catholic’s in Northern Ireland who disagree with those things, I dint hold their views , but the only reason the British parliament brought those things in was, student politics of Stella Creasy doing it to spite The DUP

  5. Vern says:

    Jonathan, for your own sanity and to stop you regurgitating the same silly lines please try talking to those that voted to leave. Talk to the aspiring working classes, talk to those in communities who have seen the EU in full force over the past 4 decades. Ask why Walesand Cornwall want out despite being given sizeable EU funds.
    Forget the wankers who sneer over the top of the Guardian at the grafters whose taxes pay their wages.
    Have a full English in a greasy spoon in the rough part of town if you have the bottle. I guarantee the conversation you hear will be wholly different to your usual liberal and PC crap.

  6. Tafia says:

    Anne talking her usual BLX again.

    Just so as you are under no illusions Anne, the SNP intend to take Scotland out of the UK as soon as they can, irrespective of who wins this general election or whether we leave or stay. Sturgeon made a benchmark speech the other day in which she lambasted Labour, Tories, Johnson and Corbyn and in which she said that both Labour and the Tories are as equally bad for Scotland and that Westminster must not have any control over anything to do with Scotland at all, ever again.

    As for Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein – who will be the largest party in NI within a decade, have always been virulently anti-UK (more than even the SNP) and remain so to this day and have always stated their aim is a united Ireland as soon as possible, by election or by violence. Remember their two-pronged strategy designed by Gerry Adams – “By the ballot box and the bomb”. There isn’t a single Sinn Feiner in existance that has any desire at all to remain British.

    Some times I struggle to believe that you have absolutely no idea of what parties actually stand for.

  7. John P Reid says:

    Living in demographically the most white and elderly part of the U.K. With a very high Brexit count, to the point the libdems hardly exist
    When it doesn’t give you the impression that the remainers she weren’t the sort to concede move on, nothing will
    Plus haven’t having had more than a handful of Councillors or a labour amP for well over a decade
    I could understand the younger members anger with those running the local party who’d, keep to the rules on spending making sure selections were within legal processes, enough time to make meeting legitimate ,and minutes recording spending pledges both in manifestos,and accounts of running the party, that the younger members felt this was  taking away valuable resources from not helping labour win
    By not promising edition all popularist idea, not enhancing local online forums and newspapers to trash the opposition(mainly the tories ) too shift he nartive away from the tories wanting to talk about the economy and stability, ans on to their ideas about the environment and university education
    But the younger ones came across as unaware the legality of things were neccasary, and un achievable promises are illegal,and that by them feeling they could set the narrative, they didn’t realize it also disrespected the majority of the electorate outside their area who like the older working clas traditional labour members who’d been their for years,their views offended the ones who they were there to represent

    Peaking where younger groups were setting up Facebook pages too promise undeliverable things in building thousands of new homes or building in the green belt

    Ans ad hoc meetings to propose motions on spending money they didn’t have, their views on a second referndum foe remIn, feeling the working class racist,or transgenderism, was self achievable, and they knew best as are middle class, would see them shout down anyone who said keep to the rules on libel,or what you can promise or spending

    When we sue this they felt we were being rude to them, because we were putting a stop to their enthusiasm,to sit around in rooms, discussing how they could our do each other in being woke,

  8. Vern says:

    Its day 2 Jonathan and the wheels have come off already. Boris Johnson is so disastrous that Labour MP’s now recommend voting for him. London could fall to the Lib Dems at this rate.

  9. John P Reid says:

    After the “get progress magazine out of the Labour Party Plot of Len Mckusky in 2014 “, and their choice of mayor and deputy losing in 2015
    It became completely irrelevant
    I’m watching labour list full of gimmicks about all women shortlists and the next leader should be A woman and it occurs to me when labour not only lose the election by A mile
    But the party wing twigs it’s completely irrelevant to so many of the public
    That all the gestures of saying the Tories are nasty to virtue signal to each other thinking it’ll win appeal, the party will have no significance for whole chunks of the population

  10. Daniel says:

    I haven’t been to this website for a while as I thought all the sensible Labour people had given up.

    This article just goes to how so called ‘moderate’ remainders have lost all sense of perspective.

    Leaving the EU will have negligee impact compared to the disaster of a Corbyn government.

    Boris Johnson is a moderate and if you review his policies there is not much difference to Blairism, other than the obvious difference on Brexit.

    I’m not the only one to say that:

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