Boris Johnson oozes confidence. The Conservative Party achieved a convincing victory in the local elections in England.
Johnson was written off months ago for his chaotic handling of the coronavirus crisis, and now feels like a strongman from London – and more like the King of England than ever before. But here his field ends. Johnson is in fact the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, but the results of the recent general elections in Scotland and Wales make it clear that he rules a deeply fractured country.
One could roughly say, following Julius Caesar: “Britannia est omnis divisa in partes tres” – Britain is divided into three parts. One of them, to stay with Caesar de Bello Galico, inhabited by the Scots. A parliamentary majority was elected on Thursday to support independence from the rest of the kingdom and Scotland’s return to the European Union. Prime Minister Nicolas Sturgeon has already announced that plans for a new referendum will be pushed forward. The second part is inhabited by the Welsh. In stark contrast to England, voting in large numbers for Johnson’s biggest opponent, Prime Minister Mark Drakeford is demanding more concessions from the state government.
This leaves Part Three, The Real Kingdom of King Boris: England. The map of the greater British part of the country has become more conservative than it has been for a long time. In the traditionally red northern Labour region, huge Tory blue spots have recently emerged. Johnson’s party has practically plowed communities and county councils in many places. The Conservative Party held about 200 seats, many of them from the Labor Party. The Social Democrats lost important parts of their homeland, including for the first time ever – in a by-election – the House mandate to Hartlepool.
But how are these three different parts of the country supposed to come together again, to form the United Kingdom, along with the special case of Northern Ireland? Johnson attempts a magic attack and immediately after the election he sends letters to the Sturgeon and Drakeford chiefs. The Prime Minister is excited that ‘Team UK’ has mastered the coronavirus pandemic together.
At a big meeting – some also say: the top of the crisis – Johnson wants to talk together about how to get out of the crisis. “We all have our own views and ideas—and won’t always agree—but I am confident that by learning from each other for the benefit of the people we serve, we can move the country forward together,” says The To write. These are humble words that do not fit the general behavior of the shirt-sleeved populist. On the other hand, suspicions are high. “Stop spitting, just show respect,” Prime Minister Sturgeon said of Edinburgh.
Her Welsh fellow Drakford was somewhat more conservative. “Now is the time to resume some relations within the UK,” he said, calling for a “really serious look at how” the four countries could work together for a prosperous future.
Above all, it is the lack of respect that frequently denounces the prime minister’s opponent. Johnson’s Conservative government took a very England-focused approach. Their policies are geared towards the English and anti-European nationalists and neglect other parts of the country, so the claim. In Scotland and Wales, critics complain that the Conservative Party has not won elections there in decades. However, London is ordering parts of the country what to do. In Scotland, “Westminster”, the area of London in which the British Parliament sits, has become a derogatory battle term. “Those at Westminster” have always forgotten the Scots and criticized the independence advocates – successfully.
Boris Johnson faces a difficult task, especially as observers expect a chain reaction in other parts of the country in the event of Scottish independence. Then everything can slip out of the prime minister’s hand. Or, as the English poet Shakespeare once said in Macbeth, his great tragedy of a Scottish king: “Nothing is profited, all is there, we reach our goal with an unsatisfied mind.”
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