Boris Johnson and his Failures at the G7 – Conservative Article
In this article, we shall discuss our three main takeaways from the recent G7 Summit and Boris Johnson’s failures as the host; (1) How President Biden usurped Boris Johnson, essentially taking over the event; (2) President Macron’s comment about Northern Ireland; and finally, (3) Boris Johnson’s (and other G7 leaders) hypocrisy with regards to not following COVID guidelines.
This was Biden’s first G7 summit, and during it, he did the most American thing possible, which was to take over. Johnson should have attempted to take control back from Biden. As the UK is the current chair of the G7 and was hosting it, he had every right. But he instead took a backseat to his own event. This was a missed opportunity to present the UK as a force on the global stage.
Biden was clearly the proponent of pushing against Chin, not Johnson. Biden tried to unite the bloc on a ‘building back better’ promise for the world, and push for criticism of China. However, Biden himself misses the mark of his criticism of China, as it is targeted at their “unfair economic competition”, instead of directly calling out their human rights abuses.
Even in his takeover, Biden misses the mark. The US has labelled China’s crimes as genocide, they shouldn’t hide from this fact.
This is a missed opportunity for Johnson. His levelling up agenda and ‘build back better’ plans fit extremely well with this joint rhetoric to rival China’s own infrastructure plans. Yet he did not push for joint levelling up across the nations. Johnson also didn’t call for a united front to stand against China, and thus did not push the promises of Global Britain. The UK would not have hidden behind the cover of economics in its critique of China either.
Biden also made unneeded comments about Northern Ireland. He warned both the UK and EU not to imperil the peace or threaten Good Friday. Now, we have confidence that the UK won’t threaten this peace, as Johnson has repeatedly assured us that Brexit will not threaten the Good Friday agreement, but I have less faith in the EU.
However, this is an issue America shouldn’t be inserting itself in. While Biden’s heritage does contain Irish ancestry, this does not make him an expert on the complex political issues there, issues that don’t have anything to do with him. This is a row concerning the EU and the UK alone.
Biden doesn’t need to make passing comments on it. Especially because back in America, Biden has a border crisis of his own to deal with on the Mexican border. Neither the EU nor Johnson are making comments for Biden to secure the border, so Biden should take his nose out.
Another leader who failed at the G7 was Macron. The G7 is supposed to be a diplomatic event, and yet Macron failed to adhere to these principles. The UK pointed to several problems in the Northern Ireland Protocol, especially that of sausages. This protocol needs renegotiation, yet all that has come of this so far is political spats. Macron took this to another level at G7 by claiming that Northern Ireland is not part of the UK. This shows the contempt he has for not only basic geography but also history as well. These comments only serve to elevate the situation surrounding Northern Ireland and do nothing to get an agreement to solve the issues.
With the EU triggering Article 16 back in January then quicking making a U-turn, relations between Northern Ireland and Europe are already sketchy. Macron’s actions at the summit will do little to improve them, and most likely worsen them. If the EU is desperate to have Northern Ireland become a part of Ireland (and therefore the EU), they are certainly going about it the wrong way. Perhaps they should leave British business to be sorted by Britain.
Arguably the aspect of the G7 summit that gained the most traction amongst ordinary people was the hypocrisy shown by leaders with regards to COVID safety measures. Our Prime Minister seems very keen to keep England locked up, yet not follow COVID guidelines himself.
In the same week that Boris Johnson announced England will be extending lockdown restrictions by four weeks, pictures emerged of him (and the other leaders) not wearing masks or keeping two meters apart. Even more infuriating to look at is the fact that the staff catering for the G7 are standing in the background forced to wear masks and socially distance whilst the leaders stood shoulder to shoulder, and wrapping arms around each other. The phrase ‘one rule for them, one rule for us’ seems to adequately describe lockdown for our politicians. This seems reminiscent of how the Parliament’s bar remained open whilst other hospitality venues had to follow a curfew.
The G7 Summit was just another instance of the ‘one rule for them’ at work. After several lockdowns and being told to come together to fight COVID-19, instances like that at the G7 Summit and the Parliament bar exemption are jarring. They are clear examples of the disconnect between politicians and the people. It appears they have forgotten that we elect them to serve us, the nation, not keep us locked down for longer whilst they enjoy a jolly to Cornwall and taxpayer subsidised pints.
To top this off, Boris Johnson announced the lockdown extension to the media before the House of Commons. This prevented our elected MPs from holding the PM to account by questioning his decision and debating it. It seems that Johnson has forgotten our democratic processes. We have elected our MPs, we do not elect members of the press. Speaker of the House, Lindsay Hoyle, justifiably berated Boris Johnson for this as you can watch here.
The failures of the issues presented above show that Johnson has missed a great opportunity at the G7. Johnson allowed his role as G7 President and host to be taken over by President Biden; hasn’t renegotiated the Northern Ireland Protocol (though the EU shares blame for this); and also failed to follow COVID-19 guidelines he is so keen for everyone else to follow.
While the other two have larger policy and international implications, to the average person on the street the images of the G7 leaders will be the most egregious failure. We are repeatedly reminded these restrictions are for our own good and have sacrificed so much for them. These images will confuse and anger people, and rightly so. The G7 summit is an opportunity for the host country and president to present themselves as assertive on the world stage, though Johnson has failed in this aspect.
Written by Deputy Chief of Conservatives, Peter Pearce & Senior Writer, Kieran Burt.
Point of Information
Johnson Shows The Worst of British Foreign Policy Yet Again – A Labour Response
It’s no surprise Johnson failed to deliver at this summit. Looking back at Theresa May’s cabinet and his role as foreign secretary, an aide famously said working with Johnson was like “walking a few feet behind a horse shovelling its sh*t”.
It was a blunderous tenure. Joking about dead bodies lining the beaches in Libya, making the President of Egypt walk out on him; failure to release Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe; and singing “Road to Mandalay” while in Myanmar, having to be told to shut up by an advisor.
Boris is as British as jellied eels. Loved by patriotic Brits, oozes English ‘charm’ but doesn’t exactly travel well.
Fast forward to the G7 summit… our allies are running out of patience with us.
Biden’s focus on beating China economically was obvious. Since the start of his term, he’s sought closer ties with allies to counter China’s growing economic integration through the Belt and Road initiative. In response, China called out the US for police brutality and treatment of asylum seekers last summer.
You can’t beat China in a mud fight over human rights abuses, you can in economic power. There is no way the UK can keep up with China’s infrastructure plans. China is building a $50 billion railway through Tibet; the UK has a diet-nationalisation of the railways.
There’s bewilderment from my colleagues that Biden dared speak up about Northern Ireland. Biden probably knows what’s happening with Northern Ireland. It’s a dispute between the US’ two major allies and said allies are all at a summit together.
The blame simply lies at this government’s feet. The UK has continuously pushed back the implementation dates of checks for goods moving from Northern Ireland to Britain well after the protocol was signed. The government has been crying that the EU is not being flexible but no one made us sign the agreement. My colleagues can say “trust us we won’t mess this up” but why should the EU trust us?
It’s baffling my colleagues’ solution is renegotiation but also the EU to “leave British business to be sorted by Britain.” That’s not how that works. When two sovereign entities negotiate an agreement, they should stick to it. Renegotiation at this point makes no sense.
This horror story of the EU looking to steal away Northern Ireland from us. In reality that is just as much as mythical as a leprechaun. It is said Macron was explaining “that Toulouse and Paris were on a geographical unity of territory, Northern Ireland is on an island.”
Would Macron even be wrong? The Northern Ireland Protocol and Good Friday Agreement’s raison d’etre is that Northern Ireland is not British. It is a colonial outpost. What’s more offensive to me is that this government has put the people on both sides of Ireland in jeopardy due to a deathly allergy to cooperating with the EU. The Conservatives can clutch their pearls but nothing has pushed Northern Ireland away more than their own policies. The Tories will reap what they sow; unrest, calls for Irish unification and sectarian violence. I hope the sausage is worth it.
The outrage over Boris’ dodging COVID restrictions has been warranted. The man really knows how to add insult to injury. Under his leadership, this pandemic has been handled with total disregard. Additionally, Boris has always been keen to subvert democracy in this country whenever he can. I hope these images of Boris larking about in Cornwall stick in the public’s minds as after the pandemic. I hope they stick out when we really question the excess deaths, the dodgy contracts, and lack of direction that have defined this pandemic.
Written by Junior Labour Writer, Joseph McLaughlin
Optimism is lacking – A Liberal Response
What stands out the most from the G7 summit is the lack of optimism it has left. It’s not just the aptly criticised commitments made, but also the fact that they are unlikely to even be met.
To start with, the promised ‘G7 legacy cash’ for Cornwall is a commitment that’s been announced at nearly all Johnson’s publicity stunts for over a year. The reality Cornwall faced was a spike in Covid numbers and over a hundred made homeless.
The theme of failed promises, re-promises, and repeated failures is not just a Johnson thing, although he is better than most.
The pledge for $100 billion a year to contribute to poor countries to fight climate change is simply a renewal of the 2009 pledge to do just that. Scary when you think climate change is only getting worse at a faster rate. But as long as climate destruction can be capitalised off, the problem will continue to escalate.
The hypocrisy highlighted in the article is of no surprise, it’s second nature to Johnson. Johnson and his government have repeatedly demonstrated that they are not part of the public they claim to stand for. They were never part of the “we’re in this together” attitude towards Covid. Before even getting to the summit, Johnson’s acts contradicted his words as he flew to Cornwall, a region central to the UK’s green technology sector.
The most pressing global issues we face are the pandemic and climate change:
On climate change, under the current leadership, we’re going to ruin the climate and the climate is going to ruin us back.
On the pandemic, it is clear that the Western leaders aren’t committed to a fair recovery. Of the 11 billion vaccine doses recommended by the WHO, less than 1 billion doses have been pledged to reach poorer countries at some point in the near future.
As the article has pointed out, Johnson has once again acted as a showman, not a leader.
Written by Senior Liberal Writer, Abby Milnes
I am going into my second year at the University of Exeter studying a flexible combined honour in Geography and Politics. My interest in politics and geography stems from an interest in current events and the wider world, with geography being the study of all world processes.
Hello, my name is Kieran Burt and I am going into second year at Nottingham Trent University studying Politics and International Relations. I first developed an interest in politics through reading the Dictator’s Handbook by Alastair Smith and Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, when I was 16, and have furthered my interest by studying politics at A level and now at university.