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Boris’s Turn

Like his American counterpart, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is best known as a preening media magnet, not as a sober steward of public affairs. In practical terms, then, what should we expect of his government?

In this Big Picture, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown worries that Johnson’s approach to diplomacy and foreign aid will diminish the last asset it has: soft power. Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group in the European Parliament, suspects that “Leave” supporters will soon have to accept that Johnson and the hard-line Brexiteers in his government sold them a false bill of goods regarding the country’s post-EU prospects.

But much will depend on the type of Brexit Johnson delivers, and according to Antatole Kaletsky of Gavekal Dragonomics, a no-deal scenario has become less likely. But Yanis Varoufakis, the leader of the MeRA25 party in Greece, disagrees, arguing that Johnson actually has left himself with no alternative but to invite just such an outcome.

And in a new Opinion Has It podcast, PS’s Elmira Bayrasli discusses with Bill Emmott, a former editor-in-chief of The Economist, how Johnson’s interactions with Parliament may play out between now and the October 31 Brexit deadline.

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