UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson equated claims that Britain’s National Health Service was going to be sold to the United States with conspiracy theories like Elvis being alive on Mars in a Brexit speech emphasising the benefits of global trade.
The comments were part of Boris Johnson’s first speech on trade since the United Kingdom left the European Union on Friday in which he sung the praises of free trade deals but noted a virulent strain of anti-Americanism that runs through certain parts of British society — particularly on the old left see can see support for Europe or the United States as a binary choice — which he derided as “mumbo-jumbo”.
Attacks on the government plan to sign a free trade deal with the United States post-Brexit have bordered on the hysterical in recent months, with claims among the left that Britons were soon to be poisoned with allegedly inferior American food, during which time the UK state health provider was to be disassembled and sold to the U.S.
Prime Minister Johnson rubbished these claims and called out anti-American voices during his speech, when he said: “…I must say to the America-bashers in this country, if there are any, in doing free trade deals we will be governed by science, and not by mumbo-jumbo because the potential is enormous.”
UK PM Boris Johnson tells "juvenile anti-Americans" to "grow up and get a grip", as he sets out his vision for increased UK-US trade post-Brexit, adding "the NHS is not on the table" during negotiationshttps://t.co/WnstHrHZZA pic.twitter.com/XNr6womep6
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) February 3, 2020
Likening the repeated claims made about the nature of a future trade deal — despite frequent denials by governments on both sides of the Atlantic — Mr Johnson said: “I share the optimism of President Trump, and I say to all the naive and Juvenile anti-Americans in this country, if there are any, and there seem to be some. I say: grow up! And get a grip.
“The U.S. already buys one-fifth of everything we export… it goes without saying, to all those conspiracy theorists who may still be in existence. All those believers in the Bermuda Triangle, or who think that Elvis is shortly to be found on Mars it goes without saying that the NHS is not on the table.”
U.S. Ambassador Woody Johnson — who was present in the audience during the PM Johnson speech — has been a frequent proponent of the UK-U.S. trade deal and spoke up in its favour on Brexit day, reminding Britain that President Trump was squarely behind the nation. In March 2019, the Ambassador said the scare stories put about on chlorinated chicken were a deliberate tactic to throw up barriers to trade after Brexit, saying Britons should ignore the “smear campaign from people with their own protectionist agenda” — proponents of the European Union.
While the left in Britain has seemed at times hysterical over the thought of eating food imported from the U.S., it has been less animated over the multiple failures of the European Union food control system, which among other recent scandals took a serious knock of credibility during the horsemeat scandal of the last decade.
Contaminated Eggs, Killer Pork, Horse Burgers: Failures of Europe’s Free Movement of Food
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 8, 2017