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boris johnson

Our new PM: The new messiah or a poor man’s Donald Trump?

23rd Jul 2019
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The long-anticipated news that Boris Johnson will be the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has put an end to some speculation.

Now, the former Mayor of London will actually have to put our money where his mouth is. While many of his plans may not impact directly on accountants, those relating to taxation certainly will.

As members of the community, we will also enjoy and/or finance the policies he finally decides to implement.

As always, change is good for those in the professions and one has to imagine that many clients will require additional advice in the near future, which has to be good news.

The most interesting thing to watch over coming weeks will be his efforts to backtrack on streams of promises designed to harness the votes of Conservative Party members.

Putting the European question aside for a moment, the man who seems to share so many attributes with the President of the United States, including attitudes to women and immigrants, as well as a desire to cut taxes and spend, has promised to plough government money into just about anything that anybody has mentioned to him during the campaign.

If he really follows through on these promises, either we will need to borrow like never before or face the kind of austerity that leaves children in the North suffering the kind of Dickensian squalor in which shoes are no more than a dreamed of luxury.

On the tax front, Mr Johnson started out boldly then got significantly vaguer. This columnist would quite like to bet the Prime Minister’s annual salary that the promise of a hike in the higher rate tax threshold to £80,000 will not be forthcoming in the near future.

As a sop to those that have just voted in the member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, perhaps he might stick an extra few thousand on to the current figure, but it is hard to foresee it going above around £55,000.

A much more likely outcome of all of these promises is a need to increase stealth taxes, though the new PM is hardly renowned for his stealth.

Before any of that, he has to decide who will become Chancellor of the Exchequer. Philip Hammond has already announced that he will step down, unwilling to be tarred with the same brush as his new leader.

The next strongest candidate, former Treasury minister David Gauke, is also heading to the backbenches, presumably to watch and wait for yet another Conservative leader to bite the dust. Who knows, they might even help him to fall. In any event, a Budget must be in the offing.

Much as this writer would like to do so, it is impossible to duck the Brexit question. Mr Johnson seems determined to do or die, whatever the cost to the nation.

The two resignations mentioned previously are telling. The former Chancellor and an impressive past Treasury minister both adamantly believe that leaving Europe without a deal is the equivalent to firing a machine-gun into your foot and then keeping your finger on the trigger.

Like his American superhero, Johnson is big on rhetoric but we may well find that he is also someone who follows his power by stepping back when he gets to the brink. However, such an approach will not please his colleagues in the ERG, although having been elected he may not care about offending them.

There is a strong chance that the only way of avoiding a general election or referendum later this year is to find an excuse to keep Britain in the EU until some kind of vaguely sensible deal can be negotiated, which certainly won’t be possible by Halloween.

None of us knows what will happen next, almost certainly including the man who is probably already arranging to change the locks at number 10 Downing Street.

Whether his arrival will be good news for the world, the country and the accountancy profession remains to be seen but now, the die is cast.


Replies (14)

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By Justin Bryant
24th Jul 2019 09:44

You'd think that for someone planning an SDLT cut for expensive residential properties and a no-deal Brexit he would have delayed a few months buying a new £1.3m house.

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By itp33asso
24th Jul 2019 10:45

How about a poor man s tonsorial disaster ?

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By LostinSuspense
24th Jul 2019 10:57

I thought Economy beans were a poor man's trump?

Until we see the people he surrounds himself with, I think it will be hard to judge his success.

As for the 'B' word, I personally believe the summer break should be cancelled until the government (i.e. all MP's) can produce a plan that will pass Parliament.

If our elected representatives don't like it, the answer is simple, they should have put pressure to get it resolved a lot sooner.

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By AndyC555
24th Jul 2019 12:12

"...the man who seems to share so many attributes with the President of the United States, including attitudes to women and immigrants,"


I don't myself have insight into these attitudes. Other than lurid and sensationalist newspaper stories from antagonistic journalists, where did you gain yours?

"immigrants" Is that illegal or legal you are referring to? There's quite a bit of difference.

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Replying to AndyC555:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
24th Jul 2019 12:39

@Andy unless you only read the daily Tory Graph, have you really missed what Boris has been upto?

NB are you suggesting its OK to be antagonistic or downright racists, towards immigrants who are determined as "illegal" as opposed to "legal?". it would be an interesting exercise quite frankly if everyone in the country had to apply to stay in the UK. They would be a lot of people who find themselves "illegal" for spurious reasons such as having revised a tax return.

Immigrants are people, illegal or otherwise.

NB you do know that Boris is an immigrant right? Born in the US, multinational parents.

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Replying to AndyC555:
By coops456
30th Jul 2019 14:57

AndyC555 wrote:

Other than lurid and sensationalist newspaper stories from antagonistic journalists, where did you gain yours?

From pretty much every article Johnson has ever written, and most times he opens his mouth.
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By lionofludesch
24th Jul 2019 22:44

On the positive side, three of the most hopeless members of government in David Gauke, Mel Stride and Karen Bradley have gone.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
By mumpin
26th Jul 2019 10:34

Was Karen Bradley not an accountant? Heard her on the radio once and she sounded good.
Then the NI mob chewed her up and spat her out.

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Replying to mumpin:
By lionofludesch
26th Jul 2019 10:45

Yes - but, to be fair, she was utterly useless.

She's no Mo Mowlam.

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By memyself-eye
25th Jul 2019 10:50

and Grayling!
Millions saved there...

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Red Leader
By Red Leader
25th Jul 2019 12:34

Of the many possible scenarios of how BoJo's premiership will play out, the most likely seems to be an Autumn general election. In which case, he could be the answer to a quiz night question: "Which Prime Minister was in office for the shortest time?".

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By matchmade
26th Jul 2019 11:07

Thanks to Philip Fisher for such a reasoned, non-partisan opinion piece (not). I really wonder why he bothered writing this piece, as he's clearly just playing to a gallery that shares his clichés and prejudices. Here he is, disgracefully and irresponsibly, slingng around accusations of racism, the day after Mr Johnson made a cast-iron guarantee to current EU residents in the UK, abandoned Mrs May's target on immigration numbers, and outlined a very moderate-sounding points-based future immigration system. In this area the new PM is showing himself much more liberal than May and in tune with the welcoming policies and views he held as London Mayor.

Mr Johnson wants out of the EU, which is only what the country voted for, while in domestic social policy areas I find he is most likely to be on the gentle centre-right. He is far preferable to Corbyn & Co in Old Labour, who are really hard-left, and positively relish punitive policies against those they hate: anyone with wealth, higher-rate taxpayers, landlords, businesspeople and the self-employed large and small, of whom nothing good is ever said or thought. Their only role in life, apparently, is their utility: to fund Labour's policies, minimise always-evil profits, dividends and rents, and maximise workers' wages and conditions, even to the point of business non-viability ("if you can't pay workers or charge rents at the level we decide is the right amount, you shouldn't be in business in the first place").

Johnson is no Messiah and has his minor personal faults, like all of us, but he is principally about optimism and hope, with policies to match; Corbyn is all about small-minded, resentful and vindictive class war (including anti-Semitism), virtue megaphoning, and economic self-sabotage (private sector bad, the public sector and client state good, etc etc).

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Replying to matchmade:
By coops456
30th Jul 2019 14:55

"Minor personal faults"?

Johnson has outright lied in order to advance his own career, showing neither conviction nor movement based on new information.
That's one of the reasons many don't trust him.

Another is the nonsense about optimism, as if all that is required to fix the Brexit disaster is a can-do attitude and lots of patriotic rhetoric. Never mind the details, never mind the Good Friday Agreement or undermining the union with Scotland. Just smile and wave, and don't ask tricky questions - that's defeatist and unpatriotic, you remoaner snowflake.

Johnson's promises are worth nothing. E.g. his 2008 mayoral manifesto promised manned ticket offices at every station, then he closed them all. He spaffed money up the wall on vanity projects like the garden bridge.

Johnson has shown his true colours in his highly-paid newspaper columns ("picaninnies", "bumboys") and in his cabinet selection - a right-wing Leavers echo chamber. This is not how you unite a country.

Meanwhile, the Labour leadership is bafflingly inept. But for economic self-sabotage, look no further than the Tories who are pushing for no-deal.

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Locutus of Borg
By Locutus
30th Jul 2019 12:48

I just hope Boris can get Brexit sorted by 31 October and then we can all move on with our lives in the UK ... and the EU can move on in whatever direction they want to (probably something like federalism).

I think many in the EU are also just want an end to it all soon, so I am not sure there would be any further extensions in any case.

There will be a post-Brexit aftermath to deal with for a few years. Whether it is Boris who deals with it or someone else will depend upon the General Election, likely within the next 12 months.

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