Great news for Michael Bloomberg and, for different reasons, Donald Trump and champion’s of nationalism everywhere.
Exit polls show Conservative Party leader and current Prime Minister Boris Johnson has won big in the U.K. elections.
Mr. Trump, Mr. Bloomberg and the rest of us were able to smile early — by early evening actually — on Wednesday because although voting ended across the pond at 10 p.m. British Isles times, it was 5 p.m. East Coast time.
Mr Bloomberg is happy because if the Labor Party had done well, with its promise to nationalize major private sectors in England, Scotland and Wales, it would have dampened the billionaire ex-New York mayor’s claim that he’s the one who can save the Democratic Party from the oblivion that the nomination of Taxahontas or Bernie the Red would invite.
Back here in Trumpland, Nanny State Mike, believe it or not, is running as the moderate, sane alternative to the left-of-left wing of what was the party of Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Wednesday’s results mean Brexit — Britain exiting the European Union — will happen quickly, after years of delay by those Conservative Party members in Parliament who wanted to remain in the union.
The EU started out as a common market but as was inevitable, has become a one-government über alles monstrosity in Brussels.
Britons voted to leave in large part because the union rendered England borderless, unable to stem the tide of radicalized or unskilled migrants flowing into the other 28 EU members.
Mr. Johnson is facing a fierce backlash and claims of racism after saying migrants had been “treating Britain as their own” for too long.
With just a few days to go before the general election, the prime minister was accused of adopting an “anti-immigration dog whistle” tone and “blaming migrants for homegrown problems.”
Vowing to “bear down” on immigration, particularly the influx of unskilled workers “who have no job to come to,” Mr. Johnson toured the country, shaking his shaggy blond mane and promising to institute a system that uses points to determine who gets a visa.
A Trumpian notion if there ever was one.
The British press quoted him as saying that “over the last couple of decades or more… we’ve seen quite a large numbers of people coming in from the whole of the EU […] able to treat the U.K. basically as though it’s part of their own country.
“And the problem with that is that there’s basically been no control at all,” Mr. Johnson said. “And I don’t think that is democratically accountable.”
The U.K.’s singular culture, Mr. Johnson hinted, was turning into something unrecognizable. That freaked and undesired transmogrification was in the minds of most among the 1,269,501-vote majority who had voted to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum.
Yes, it was that long ago.
So, yes, on Wednesday, there are smiles at 10 Downing Street — and at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Mr. Johnson leadership of Jolly Old England is now unquestionable — as is the potency of British nationalism and the appeal of a Trumpian kind of conservatism.
The prime minister has treated Mr. Trump like an ideological-philosophical pal, and the president has reciprocated.
It’s a relationship that mirrors the 1990s chumminess of President Clinton and Third Way Socialist Prime Minister Tony Blair — except this alliance is so different in goals and world views.
Mr. Johnson, born in the U.S., champions a United Kingdom-first! policy that equates to Mr. Trump’s America-first! nationalism.
That pride of country and culture now seems poised to sweep the nations of Europe and beyond.
And it won’t mean a return to endless wars among nationalistic governments. We already have endless wars among nations united by the United Nations — over seven bloody decades.
Coming to a port near you soon: Bilateral trade pacts between the U.S. and U.K. that both leaders promised if Mr. Johnson prevailed. The new trade deals will be important to both countries but especially to Britain.
In exiting what amounted to a united states of Europe that has almost no trade barriers among member nations, Mr. Johnson’s England and its manufacturers and farmers and bankers will face some painful early losses in export earnings.
British consumers will feel an early pinch in some of their favorite imports.
But Britain will, by and large, have its economic independence back and will make its own rules regarding what to make, how to make it and how to market it.
And its cultural integrity will be on sounder footing.
What’s not to like about the outcome of the elections in the land that gave us the Magna Carta, the Industrial Revolution, the concept of private property, the rule of law, representative democracy, freedom of religion and a symbolic monarchy as opposed to a crown of unlimited power?
⦁ Ralph Z. Hallow, the chief political correspondent of commentary, served on the Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Washington Times editorial boards, was Ford Foundation fellow in urban journalism at Northwestern University and resident at Columbia University Editorial-Page Editors Seminar.
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