Okay, seriously. How bad is this going to get?
Think "donald trump" but with fewer golf courses to his name.
Okay, that's a little too unserious. Here's serious. From Sam Knight at the New Yorker:
This is the Johnsonian way. The lies, the performative phrases, the layers of persona—they accrete, one on top of another, flecked here and there with Latin, until everyone has forgotten what the big deal was. In Brussels, Johnson confined himself to dodgy journalism. When he returned to London, he brought the same approach to jobs, extramarital affairs, and political stances. In 1999, Johnson became the editor of The Spectator, a witty, right-wing magazine that is traditionally close to the Conservative Party. The magazine was owned by the news magnate Conrad Black, who would call Johnson and ask him how it was going. Johnson would say that he was trying to turn the magazine into a cookie. “ ‘An opening of solid meal followed suddenly and dramatically by a chocolate taste explosion,’ ” Black recounted to Gimson. “It’s all rubbish, but it’s imaginative.”
In 2001, at the age of thirty-six, Johnson was elected a Member of Parliament for Henley, a safe Conservative seat in Oxfordshire. When he came under pressure to resign from The Spectator, because of the conflict of interest, he demurred, and coined what has become his best-known political aphorism: “I want to have my cake and eat it.” Johnson hates choosing between things, even right and wrong. In 2003, Lynn Barber, of the Observer, asked Johnson what principles he would be prepared to resign over. “I’m a bit of an optimist so it doesn’t tend to occur to me to resign,” he replied. “I tend to think of a way of Sellotaping everything together and quietly finding a way through, if I can...”
Already you can see the trumpian sins of self-indulgence and arrogance. And there's a reason why Knight titled his article "The Empty Promise":
On the morning of June 24, 2016, after the result had become clear, Cameron resigned. Johnson and Gove, the two most high-profile Conservative Brexiteers, appeared at a news conference, looking terrified. Johnson was expected to be installed in Downing Street within weeks. But, not for the first time, when he was confronted with something that he desperately wanted, Johnson lost focus. The day after the most momentous event in British politics for several decades, Johnson went to the countryside to play cricket with the ninth Earl of Spencer. The next day, he hosted a barbecue.
Johnson and Gove paired up to form what was known, very briefly, as the “Dream Team,” to lead a new, pro-Brexit government. The pact lasted six days. The afternoon before Johnson was due to launch his campaign to become Prime Minister, he still hadn’t written a speech. Boles, the M.P. who had advised Johnson when he became mayor in 2008, remembers finding him surrounded by a few lines jotted on scraps of paper. “Johnson was proud of his writing skills, his way with words,” Shipman writes. “And in his hour of maximum exposure they appeared to be failing him.” Johnson told Boles, “I’ve got nothing.” Gove ran to become Prime Minister himself. Johnson withdrew from the contest before it began.
The implosion of the Dream Team opened the way for Theresa May to become Prime Minister. To Johnson’s great surprise—and to everybody else’s—May chose him as her Foreign Secretary. (“What next, Dracula as health minister?” a spokesman for Germany’s Social Democratic Party asked.) At the age of fifty-two, Johnson was appointed to one of Britain’s great offices of state. Given the chance to frame a credible narrative for leaving the E.U., and to influence and improve Britain’s relationships with its neighbors in Europe and around the world, Johnson did none of those things. It is true that he was impeded by May’s close control of Brexit from Downing Street. It is also true that Johnson’s sole contribution to the conversation about the difficult trade-offs involved in Britain’s most important political challenge since the Second World War has been a reheating of his two-decade-old adage: “My policy on cake is pro having it and pro eating it.”
Johnson talks a game but rarely plays it well. At yet even with all these obvious flaws, his Conservative Tory party is going to vote him in to the Prime Minister's office to replace the resigning May (whose constant failures with Brexit hastened her career's end).
In terms of leadership he'll likely rely on two things: clownish buffonery and having someone else clean up his mess. As trump has proven, that makes for poor governance.
And he's going to create a mess because Boris has made it clear his disdain for the EU - he was one of Leave campaign's biggest liars - will lead him on a singular path towards a No-Deal Brexit: the one deal most likely to cause economic chaos with the UK's own financial system and also likely to cause in no particular order 1) Scotland's independence from the UK, 2) Northern Ireland's willingness to merge with Ireland just for the sake of border sanity, 3) Queen Elizabeth II punching Boris in the face for fucking up her Commonwealth.
Boris will also (might also, there is an alternative choice for the Tories to pick but Boris has been the intraparty favorite throughout the process) inherit a situation where not everyone among the Conservative ranks will accept him. There are enough ministers who don't want a No-Deal result and are willing to put their careers on the line to stop that (via Rowena Mason at the Guardian):
...But several Conservative MPs said they would regard Johnson’s first speech to the nation and cabinet appointments as a test of whether he was capable of reaching out across parliament to find a majority for a plan to leave the EU that can find approval from Eurosceptics and more moderate Brexit supporters.
If he does not, then organisation will start again in earnest to prevent him pursuing a no-deal Brexit, with some senior Tories already sending out feelers about the possibility of a “national unity” government with opposition MPs...
...One former minister said a “sizable chunk” of the 42 Tories who voted against a no-deal Brexit last week were prepared to put their own careers on the line to stop Johnson pursuing that path – either through a legislative block on leaving the EU without a deal or a confidence vote if that proves impossible...
...While Tory moderates are biding their time, Eurosceptics are also circling Johnson to ensure he keeps to his promise of taking the UK out of the EU by 31 October and ditching May’s Brexit deal. One senior Eurosceptic on Johnson’s campaign team said they were perfectly prepared to “take him out ourselves” if he failed on his promise to deliver a clear-cut Brexit by that date...
There are two opposing forces right now in British politics: Those who want to back away from a hard Brexit (if not canceling it outright) and those (the Tory hardliners and Farage
Right now, the game plan seems to be:
Step One: Boris enters 10 Downing Street and immediately sets the place on fire.
Step Two: Boris goes to Brussels with the strong belief he can get a solid Brexit deal from the EU that Theresa May never could... all because he's convinced *he's* better at dealing than she was, and that his No-Deal stance gives him a stronger negotiating position.
Step Three: Boris gets laughed at in Brussels and ships back home in tears.
Step Four: Boris goes back to Parliament to report he's following through on a No-Deal stance, at which point enough moderate Tories quit the party for the Liberal Dems to force a collapse of the government.
Step Five: Boris either suspends Parliament (!) or is forced to call for a General Election before the October 31 deadline, facing the likely possibility of a narrow Labour plurality win.
Step Six: Brits march on London and force Queen Elizabeth II to nominate Larry the Downing Street Mouser as the new Prime Minister. I am not joking.
Step Seven: Billionaires who relocated to Amsterdam get to make PROFITS because there's always money to be made in crisis situations. I am not joking.
There's a lot of fantasy in those steps: mostly surrounding the Hard Brexiters thinking they can resolve a crisis that May spent
The Brexiter's belief in using a trade system in GATT - with an Article XXIV provision - to override the damage of a No-Deal collapse is proving to be a bad idea if not an outright lie (if not to the public then certainly to themselves).
Johnson seems to think he's got an exit strategy for Brexit in the form of a big trade deal with the United States. He forgets a few things, not the least of which is how his plan may violate existing trade laws that will be untouched in a No-Deal Brexit. He's also forgetting any deal with trump would have to pass both houses of Congress, and the Democratic-led House is not going to sign off on some half-baked scheme (especially where trump is involved). Worse, Boris is forgetting trump is a terrible deal-maker: trump ALWAYS wants to win the deal and may well break the arrangement if he thinks he loses anything in it.
There isn't a lot of room to maneuver for Boris, there aren't a lot of sane options to begin with, and we're looking at the likelihood of a shattered and broken United Kingdom on Halloween night.
Trick or Treat, Brits.