You Brexit ... you fix it.

Author:Rock, Robert H.
Position:LETTER FROM THE CHAIRMAN - Political ideologies analysis - Column

In my column for last year's DIRECTORS & BOARDS Year in Review edition I recounted some of the adventures undertaken by my Book Club, including our visit to England in early 2015 for an "immersion" into the life and times of Sir Winston Churchill. One of the highlights was a meeting with Boris Johnson, who was finishing up his term as mayor of London. Enamored with Churchill, Johnson had just published his widely acclaimed book, The Churchill Factor.

Eloquent and erudite, though somewhat disheveled and, in his words, "shambolic," Johnson fancied himself a Churchillian politician who could turn the ship of state as easily as he could turn a phrase or turn a head. As one of the most visible and vocal leaders of the Brexit movement, Johnson had vigorously campaigned for Britain's departure from the European Union, stoking fear of globalization, anger over immigration, estrangement from elites, disdain for Brussels-based technocrats, and resentment with social liberalism. The Leave campaign hammered home that many Brits "had been left behind" because foreigners were taking away British jobs, welfare benefits and national identity. Britain needed "to take back control."

To the surprise of many pundits, politicians and pollsters, the Brexit campaign won. Turmoil quickly ensued. The British pound plunged to its lowest level in over three decades, London real estate values collapsed, the FTSE 250 plummeted, and the rating agencies stripped Britain of its top credit rating. David Cameron, never an enthusiast for the EU but who nonetheless campaigned vigorously to remain, resigned. The opposition Labour Party imploded. Johnson himself seemed to be caught by surprise, and within days of the referendum he renounced his intention to seek the leadership of the Conservative Party, a post he had un abashedly sought. As one of my Book Club members so...

To continue reading