Editorials

Britain's New Reality

At 10 p.m. on Dec. 12, the TV screen flashes up a summary of British voting exit polls, showing a landslide victory for the Conservatives. The spectre of a Marxist government under Jeremy Corbyn vanishes, and Boris Johnson now rules the land. He has what no other Western leader has: a guarantee of nearly five years in power. Boris has a majority with a surplus of 80 seats and can do what he likes, within reason. He runs a tight ship: the mutineers have been hanged, and articles of war have been read to the crew. Of the 21 Tories who rebelled against their leaders a few months ago, just four have returned to the Commons, after a suitable grovel. There are 108 new Conservative MPs, and they are not in the business of causing trouble to their leader. They just want a political future stretching ahead of them. A calm sea and prosperous voyage, then?

Perhaps. The immediate signs are promising. Prime Minister Johnson now has genuine, not merely formal, power. He has a single-party, functioning majority government. France, Germany, Italy, and Spain cannot say the same. The untethered pound spiked 3 percent within minutes of the release of exit polling, as the world realized that Britain is now a safe haven for assets.

The rules of foreign policy engagement with Britain are now transformed, and the EU has to recast its attitude. It had been engaged in a stern, punitive expedition to warn off any other country tempted by secession,...

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