The Free World Needs Boris Johnson

(The Washington Post) -

President Donald Trump has been wise to stay out of the election in Britain; the almost insanely left-wing Labour Party was desperately hoping that Mr. Trump would provide fodder for its imaginary allegations that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is some sort of apprentice to the Sith Lord Trump.

But while American officials from both parties should keep their distance from endorsements or condemnations of any figure in British politics, everyone in the West has a stake in Thursday’s vote. If Johnson is returned to No. 10 Downing Street with a working majority, the United Kingdom can finally and with certainty be free of the European Union except for any agreement the U.K. and EU reach in the coming year, on terms fair to both sides and favorable to economic growth worldwide. The bureaucrats of Brussels will have received a lesson they won’t easily forget, and its remaining nation-members can expect to see a loosening of the absurd excesses of the administrative state that risk further defections from the union from states that see in Britain’s escape a path to renewed national energy and growth of the best sort.

This is why I am rooting for Johnson and the Tories on Thursday. As a life-long Anglophile — and a descendant of both Ulster and the Republic through a green-orange marriage of immigrants from County Down and County Clare — I’m for a United Kingdom at peace with a vibrant Ireland, together serving as strong allies of freedom.

The American Navy is inextricably bound to the Royal Navy, as is our common law to the ancestral common law of England. Our nations are cousins, and while the baton of leadership of the West passed from them to us in the aftermath of World War II, it isn’t because of a Netflix series that we call the relationship “special,” but because of shared values. It isn’t the genes or the memes; it’s the history and commitment to freedom that make the U.S.-U.K. friendship so enduring and remarkable.

Countries make mistakes, and the U.K. joining what was then the European Economic Community in 1973 was one of those that has required decades to undo. Once free of the fetters of the calcifying continental system, Britain can become again in the Atlantic what Singapore has been in the recent past in the Pacific: an island nation of dynamic economic innovation and political freedom that all in their region look to. By any economic measure, the free markets of Singapore have created a standard of living for its people that is envied by almost the entire globe.

The United Kingdom, burdened by the catastrophic costs of two world wars for which its fortitude and sacrifice were essential to victory, layered horrible political choices in the form of socialism on top of the wreckage of the wars. It has taken mighty and intermittent steps to return to the cusp of international leadership, with phase one undertaken by Margaret Thatcher and phase two waiting for a starting gun.

The free world requires economic growth and military preparedness. Johnson is committed to free markets and to maintaining and expanding the British military, especially its fleet of four Vanguard-class submarines that make up a crucial part of the West’s nuclear deterrent. The House of Commons voted to replace the existing four submarines in July 2016. (Jeremy Corbyn, standing opposite of Johnson as the only other viable candidate for prime minister, voted to end the submarine renewal program.) The four new Dreadnought-class submarines are expected to come into operation in the early 2030s and remain on patrol until at least the 2060s. The West needs this and every other part of the British military.

If you want economic growth for Britain and the world, as well as the international security that comes with a well-provisioned alliance of freedom-loving states led by the United States, you have a clear favorite on Thursday: Boris Johnson and the Tories.