Opinion | A democracy lesson from Boris Johnson
By Edward Hei Leung, LegCo Member
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced his resignation recently amid the growing pressure from the conservative party, party-gate scandal and Chris Pincher's misbehaviors. He will stay until the new leader is found. The breaking news not only highlights the end of Johnson's era, but also convinces us the devastating effect of western democracy.
In the time full of machine-like politicians, Boris Johnson's fun-loving image and remarkable campaigning skills attracted millions of Britons trusting him to drive the country on a right track. Meanwhile, Johnson was also one of the culprits to get Brexit done in the 2016 EU referendum.
Sad but true, the political turmoil of Brexit continues, probably for a longer while than Johnson expects. The United Kingdom comprises of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The referendum result angers the majority of Scots and Irishes. 62% of Scots, for instance, voted Remain, the opposite of Brexit.
Scottish National Party, on one hand, asks for an independence referendum before the end of 2023. One of the party's hard-lines is to rejoin EU. On the other hand, Sinn Féin becomes the largest ruling party in Northern Ireland, where the region exercises a special trading arrangement, namely Northern Ireland Protocol, to align with EU standards, customs and tariffs. Owing to increasing political influences of Sinn Féin, the UK government starts pushing a bill to scrap the protocol selectively. As a result, the EU takes legal action against the UK, blaming the ex-member of violating international laws and heightening the possibility of trade wars. That is to say, Brexit tightens the tension between the UK and its neighboring regions.
Economically, Brexit worsens the labor shortage issue as well. According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of job vacancies in the UK rose to 1.3 million in May. The lack of human resources jeopardizes the daily operations in industries demanding foreign workers, for example, the agricultural, transport and hospitality sectors, to name but a few. Even until now, the insufficient number of lorry drivers contributes to the recent empty supermarket shelves in London.
In fact, Johnson substitutes the Global Britain strategy for the original EU membership. No matter how grand his idea is, the country loses 178 times higher than what it gains from Brexit. In other words, Boris Johnson has nearly destroyed UK's foundations, both politically and socio-economically.
Nowadays, the UK suffers from soaring living costs. The latest inflation rate hit 9.1%, a new 40-year record high. Faced with the national energy crisis, Johnson did not feel guilty to a certain extent. On Good Morning Britain, the hostess sought Johnson's advices for a 77-year-old widow who relies on pensions and rides us all day to avoid the soaring energy bill. Johnson exaggerated his introduction of 24-hour Freedom Bus Pass on the TV program. His response quickly drew criticisms afterwards.
Though attractive to young voters at first sight, Johnson's rule-breaking culture and irresponsible character undermine UK's coalitions. More importantly, it demonstrates how dangerous the western election is, especially in terms of pushing extremists to take aggressive policies, which are in turn detrimental to national interests. To enrich people with a stronger sense of fulfillment, happiness and security is the top agenda of our city's governance. There is no need for us to follow western rules, choosing politicians like Boris Johnson. Instead, we adopt the result-oriented approach, while developing a democracy system with Hong Kong's characteristics.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of DotDotNews.
Read more articles by Edward Hei Leung: