They say you should kill them with kindness – and its precisely what Boris Johnson will try to do in his speech today on, ironically, Valentine’s Day when he attempts to win the hearts of pro EU campaigners.
But it will likely fall flat if he insists, as the leaked transcripts suggest, that he “cannot and will not allow Brexit to be reversed.” Just a minor detail but clearly, he didn’t get the memo- it’s not completely within your power to decide this Boris!
Attempting to thwart any mobilisation of opposition Boris will, as Paul Waugh writes, attempt to “love bomb” his critics. But even before his speech, has been made critics have accused him of hypocrisy. He was, after all, central to the Vote Leave campaign which as we all know exploited fears on immigration and on government spending on the EU.
In his attempts to supposedly win over pro EU supporters he will warn that Brexit is not grounds for fear but hope. He can’t possibly be taken seriously- his leading campaign slogan was to promise voters vast sums of money for the NHS post Brexit, and we all know how that turned out.
Not only that but by preaching that he is right and dismissing the prop European campaign he is doing the very thing he claims he isn’t. Typically muddled.
As Chukka Umunna said in an interview with Huff Post: “Boris Johnson is totally unqualified to preach about the perils of fear and betrayal when he engaged in disgraceful scaremongering with his ridiculous assertion that Turkey was on the verge of joining the EU and he has already betrayed millions of people by going back on his pledge to secure £350 million extra per week for the NHS. This is hypocrisy of the highest order.
“He has so far failed to explain why he is campaigning in Cabinet to take the UK out of the Customs Union when there is no other solution to the Irish border issue and it will jeopardise the Good Friday Agreement settlement.
“Boris Johnson needs to come clean and concede that we cannot have our cake and eat it when leaving the EU. His speech is on Valentine’s Day, not April Fool’s Day.”
The Government is deluded if it thinks that, Boris, of all people will be the one to win over the hearts and minds of pro Europeans. He doesn’t know how to reach out to anyone who doesn’t believe in ‘Boris-ology’ or who refuses to be part of the campaign to further his own political career.
The only sensible option is to go back to the electorate and ask them if it is satisfied with the deal the Government negotiates- if it ever manages it.