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If he sticks with the EU's failed model then Boris Johnson is doomed - by Dan Hannan

It won't be Party-gate that does for the PM, nor discredited attacks by those with a personal grievance but the litany of government policy U-turns and its failure to take on the 'blob' according to Dan Hannan, former MEP and incumbent Adviser to the UK Board of Trade.

"[The] clumsy attacks have bought Johnson time. But the underlying reasons for his vulnerability remain. The reason he was so blown about by the squalls is that his MPs had already heaped up a mound of grievances against him: that the government is squandering its 80-seat majority; that taxes, borrowing and inflation are shooting up; that private companies are being nationalised; that Brexit is being squandered. As one MP put it to me recently, “I backed Boris twice, but if he’s going to govern like a social democrat, what was the bloody point?”

Some extensions of state power were a one-off response to the coronavirus, though the PM made a choice to push ahead with the national insurance rise and to lead the world in eco-zealotry. Still, these things might be bearable if there were a readiness to boost competitiveness. Which brings us to this ministry’s most serious failing, namely its inability to get reforms past an immobilist and Left-leaning administrative state. Consider some examples.

Paul Dacre was the PM’s preferred candidate to run Ofcom, but his candidacy was blocked. Matt Ridley was chosen, despite squeals of protest, to sit on the official committee on how to regulate gene editing after Brexit. He duly produced a sensible report setting out significant ecological and economic gains. But, after spending months trying to translate his recommendations into policy, he quit public life.

Could a similar frustration have contributed to Munira Mirza’s resignation? Her departure was triggered by the Savile-Starmer row, but she had been instrumental in generating the Sewell Report, a measured assessment of British race relations which, nearly a year on, has made no dent in government policy."

The ultimate litmus test of the Johnson administration will be its response to the Northern Ireland Protocol:

Johnson has maintained since July that the conditions that justify triggering Article 16 and suspending elements of the text have been met – a contention that few seriously question. He has described the EU’s current position as “insane”.

Will he stick to his guns, or again give in to the Blob? By “give in”, I mean agree to a deal where checks on goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland are largely removed, but EU jurisdiction over Northern Ireland is retained. This would not be a compromise but a capitulation. Brussels would withdraw from positions that were always indefensible – the idea that ferry passengers’ bags should be checked, for example – while retaining what it really wants, namely regulatory and to a degree fiscal control of a part of the UK."

Lord Hannan concludes with these words:

Johnson was elected on a promise to “get Brexit done”. That promise, in the end, will determine his survival.

The full article can be read here with a link to the original beneath it:

Article for the Telegraph by Dan Hannan - If he sticks with the EU's failed model then Bor
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