Theresa May has ascended to the Iron throne and the Conservative party, with their usual brutal efficiency, closed ranks around her the millisecond Leadsom resigned. It’s almost comical that the Tories embody ‘solidarity’ within their party far more than Labour at this time. Since her coronation, May has appointed her Four Horsemen of Brexit: Boris Johnson as Secretary of Foreign affairs, David Davis as Secretary of Brexit, Liam Fox as Secretary of International Trade and Priti Patel as Secretary for International Development. I was intending to draw parallels between them and the traditional horsemen, however, I soon realised that “Conquest, War, Famine and Death” is just the Conservative Party’s manifesto in four words.
Theresa May has been incredibly devious in appointing her Cabinet, she’s thrown the Eurosceptic side of her party a bone by giving all the international affairs positions to Brexiters. Meanwhile, all the important domestic departments are held by her allies. She’s also ensured any future rivals, Boris Johnson, cannot cause any trouble on the backbenches. Instead, by placing Boris on her cabinet he cannot openly rebel against her without having to resign from the Cabinet and tarnish his reputation. So when Brexit inevitably causes a disaster, Theresa May can shift large portions of the blame onto her Four Horsemen. If that does happen I’m going to have to do an article called “the Four Scapegoats of Brexit”, although in hindsight that sounds like I’m referring to four European immigrants or whoever it is the Murdoch press are blaming these days.
Boris Johnson is probably the worst person to be Secretary of Foreign Affairs apart from maybe Nigel Farage and whichever immature little boy is in charge of Britain First. Johnson is, of course, the man who compared the EU to the Nazi’s and claimed that Obama had an “ancestral dislike” of Britain because of his Kenyan heritage. Although having a hatred for the British Empire is understandable given the atrocities it committed and the long term damage it caused to third world countries across the world. Boris Johnson feels very differently to me on the subject, he’s quoted as saying “The problem is not that we were once in charge, but that we are not in charge any more.” Johnson’s fetish for Winston Churchill and the empire seems to have blinded him to the realities of the world, which is incredibly worrying when this man is our representative on the international stage, let alone negotiating our exit from Europe.
Sadly, David Davis, the Minister for Brexit, is no better than Johnson. In fact, he is almost completely clueless when it comes to the EU which seems to be a shockingly common trend among Brexiters. He thought that it was possible to negotiate trade deals with individual member states within the EU despite the entire point of the single market is that the EU is one trading bloc to provide economic security to member states. Liam Fox, who is actually Minister of International Trade, is a disgraced former defence secretary who resigned due to taking a friend and lobbyist with him on official business which was a severe security breach as his friend had unofficial access to MoD documents. Maybe when he’s negotiating trade deals he will take Johnson and Davis with him and just never come back, I can dream. Rather hypocritically, Liam Fox advocated the prosecution of the Guardian for leaking documents provided by Edward Snowden. Clearly, if you leak to a corporate lobbyist it’s not a problem, but if you leak to the public you’re a traitor.
The new Secretary for International Development, Priti Patel, actually advocated the department being scrapped and replaced by private sector investment. Usually, you would hope that a minister at least believes that their department is important in some way or another, especially when the Department of International Development’s budget has increased to £12bn. However, Priti Patel’s empathy towards other countries seems minimal at best. She claimed that large class sizes were due to EU migrants, instead of a lack of investment in the state schooling systems, and argued it would only get worse when “Albania, Serbia and Turkey” join the EU. In reality, it’s more likely that Russia would join the EU before Turkey did, but the threat of a middle eastern country joining the EU fits perfectly into the xenophobic narrative that the Conservative Party love so dearly.
Ultimately, these ministers will be crucial in negotiating our exit from the EU, and yet they are completely incompetent. The left need to draw up a plan for Brexit and form a progressive alliance to force the Conservative Party out of power. If we don’t do that, the Four Horseman of Brexit will destroy our international relations, and in a globalised society that would be lethal for Britain.