Go back to any time in the mid-noughties and Boris Johnson’s political clout was about as credible as Russell Crowe’s music career.
He would fluff and puff as he struggled to understand cue cards on Have I Got News For You, seen bike after bike get stolen, and get bitten by various breeds of dog when, ironically, opening a canine shelter in his old constituence. I must say that sometimes, flippantly, I would say “I’d love Bojo to be Prime Minister.” I’m sure I wasn’t the only one – when I was 14 or 15, I didn’t have much of a handle on politics, and although I never meant it, I used to josh that such an endearing, bumbling blonde bombshell would make an excellent leader of our country.
Dear me. In fact, maybe you should blame me. Because what would be uttered as a light-hearted zinger is now in considerable danger of becoming a chilling reality. With David Cameron predictably announcing his resignation, (in the long run) washing his hands of what has been a bloody, wholly disappointing campaign, the notion of Boris Johnson becoming our next Prime Minister looks devastatingly likely. Maybe 30 Odd Foot of Grunts weren’t so bad, after all.
There were signs, of course. There might have been gaffes that made us guffaw (such as when Boris practically bifurcated someone during a celebrity football match, or when he fell in a lake), but there were also numerous amounts of nonsensical jabbering that displayed the kind of jingoism that even Jeremy Clarkson would balk at. The list of countries he has offended in recent years makes Donald Trump look like a UN ambassador – Papua New Guinea, the USA, Palestine and even Liverpool have been condemned by the kind of entitled, eminent piffle that Boris decided to utter from his silver-spooned, malfunctioning mouth. There must have been times when David Cameron, and his predecessors, saw Boris as the troublesome nephew of the Tory family, someone who isn’t allowed to sit too near the backbenches in case he spills his Kia Ora.
Boris Johnson represented a comedy sideshow. Now, he represents a comedy decision. The EU referendum campaign has been, to put it lightly, tumultous – people have been in a thick-skinned flurry, ripping apart family members for their decisions and lambasting anyone who sang along to that Will Young song (and no, I don’t mean ‘Evergreen’). Not only that, but there were a multitude of people squaking and sprinting like headless chickens, completely fuelled by propaganda, hyperbole and the opinions of anyone from Liz Hurley to Canadian-born rocker Bryan Adams. A lot of people – and I’m sure even they would agree with me on this one – were not aware of the facts, either way. For those that opted to ‘leave’, they seemed to be in possession of only one ‘pearl’ of wisdom – “immigrants.”
Even Peter Mannion MP saw the benefits of immigration. For some people (sorry to keep repeating myself, but woe be tied I connect this decision with every voter), immigration has become the go-to excuse for any of Great Britain’s shortcomings. The lack of jobs is down to immigrants, not because of the fact back as early as the ’50s and ’60s, British people considered themselves far too educated and haughty to do the jobs immigrants instead did. Heck, no doubt half of them blamed Roy Hodgson’s team decisions for England against Slovakia as “probably something to do with immigration”.
The undecided voters were urged to vote ‘remain’, purely for the fact it was, if they later decided they wanted to leave, the safer choice. It was also the saner choice. As a ‘regular’ person, I am unsure of how, in five years’ time, this decision to leave is going to affect me. No one can be sure – we’ve all got some well-thought out opinions, we’ve all suddenly grasped an overnight BA in Politics – and no one will truly know. We’re entering unchartered waters, and to paraphrase Cameron’s resignation speech, we are wholly, and scarily, unsure of who will be manning the wheel.
Those that have voted leave in their droves are (mostly) those who, by the time this decision truly hits its, well, nadir, will be (at the very least) retired and probably living in the EU, anyway. At worst, they’ll be dead. Old people are stuck in their ways – have you tried to argue with a 65-year-old about something and won? Highly unlikely. But it seems a lot of old people had become ingrained in anti-immigration, anointing Boris’ blond hair and elevating him to a status that someone who can barely understand where Portsmouth is should not reach.
Now we have left, we face the ardous task of being let back in again. We’ve got to allow 27 countries to get us back in. To summarise, essentially we’ve just pissed off and dumped 27 different girls, and before we can date again, we need to get WhatsApp blue ticks from all 27 of them. Not even that oiled guy from Geordie Shore could manage that.
David Cameron’s resignation throws into sharp focus the fear that lies ahead. He campaigned, like Jeremy Corbyn, for the UK to remain in the EU. He saw the economic benefits, and although some have argued his odious presence actually deterred voters, he genuinely believed the country was better off in than out. Now, humiliated and humbled, he has had no choice but to step down. This now begs the worrying question of who could take over.
Nigel Farage, whose resignation and reinstatement as head of UKIP made him the JD of politics (without the warmth), now has bragging rights and insists they have won “without firing a bullet”, seemingly forgetting that an Leave-campaigning Labour MP was numbingly shot dead only two weeks ago.
Some of my friends are under 18 (and please let’s avoid any jokes about me being under Operation Yewtree). I’ve never considered it an issue purely for the fact they have informed decisions; when I was 16 or 17, I had no idea about politics, but today’s society are much more informed. This decision affects them more than it affects an 80-year-old. We respect anyone who voted, for sure, but this fact rankles with anyone of any age.
In recent years, we have seen people of the same sex allowed to marry. We have seen a coalition government. We have seen progress and equality. In 2016, we couldn’t be more far away from progression if we tried. The world is going backwards – the Orlando shootings, the death of Jo Cox and now this decision.
Suddenly, the idea of an eccentric, posh child running the country doesn’t seem as entertaining as it did when it was for half an hour on a comedy panel show.