Alarm bells are ringing for some Brexiteers after Project Fear architect George Osborne appeared to endorse Boris Johnson’s candidacy for Tory leader.
The two Tories were on opposite sides of the European Union referendum in 2016, with Boris Johnson — then Mayor of London — serving as frontman for the Vote Leave campaign, while George Osborne — then Chancellor of the Exchequer — acted as the Remain campaign’s “scaremonger-general”, threatening a so-called punishment budget, recession, massive layoffs, and a body blow to pensions if the public backed Brexit.
Losing his Cabinet position after Bullingdon Club playmate David Cameron’s resignation as Prime Minister, Osborne left Parliament to become editor at the Russian-owned London Evening Standard — among many other lucrative positions — where he has fought a rearguard action against Brexit and in favour of mass migration ever since.
Brexit supporters may therefore have been very surprised to see the Evening Standard back Boris Johnson, who many Tory Brexiteers have long looked to as the man to deliver a real Brexit, deal or no deal, by the latest deadline of October 31st, in its editorial section — widely regarded as the voice of Osborne himself.
WATCH | @Nigel_Farage blasts George Osborne's Project Fear stories about mass unemployment, a recession, lower wages.
Project Reality: "More people are in work and those who are are earning more money and STILL on Brexit, all we ever hear is a constant diet of negativity!" 👍 pic.twitter.com/71izW0BL96
— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) August 15, 2018
“Mr Johnson is the candidate who has the most room for manoeuvre to get the country out of the Brexit mess,” the editorial remarks ominously.
“That may seem a paradox, as the one who helped get us into that mess, and who again today says he wants ‘to get Brexit done by October 31’,” it explains.
“But he is careful not to ‘guarantee’ that date — Mr Johnson may be loose with words when it comes to the fates of others but never when it comes to his own.”
The observation may well be prescient, as Johnson has appeared to quietly put to bed suggestions he might prevent MPs from blocking an exit from the EU on No Deal terms by advising the Queen to exercise her constitutional right to prorogue — i.e. temporarily suspend — the parliamentary session until the European Union (Withdrawal) Act of 2017 takes effect, and to hint that he may regard an October 31st exit as a mere aspiration in a hot mic moment with other leadership contenders, who are all willing to delay Brexit yet again.
— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) June 14, 2016
While lambasted by left-liberal critics (and praised by grassroots conservatives) as a possible “British Trump” able to stand up to the EU and deliver policies desired by voters despite opposition from the institutional left and big business, Mr Johnson is not the right-wing radical of popular imagination.
The Eton alumnus has previously backed Turkey joining the EU, an amnesty for hundreds of thousands if not millions of illegal migrants living in Britain clandestinely, and almost backed the Remain campaign in 2016, infamously penning two alternative articles declaring his position — one for Brexit and one against, with his decision to swing behind Leave coming relatively late in the referendum.
He was also highly disparaging about Donald Trump during his campaign to become the Republican presidential candidate in the United States in late 2015, when the establishment consensus was that Mr Trump had no hope against the likes of Jeb Bush.
Flashback: Boris Branded Trump ‘Out of His Mind’, ‘Unfit to Hold the Office of President’ https://t.co/7h87znRa3x
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 30, 2019