Boris Johnson Is Campaigning Again, But What Exactly Is He Selling?

Three years after he sold Brexit to the British public, Boris Johnson is back on the campaign trail. The prime minister is still promoting a split from the European Union, but this time without a deal.

Officially, he’s selling the idea that he can only persuade the EU’s leaders to give him the concessions he wants by preparing Britain to leave the bloc without an agreement. But the campaign looks like it’s going wider than that. Indeed, many of the announcements have nothing to do with Brexit.

On Friday evening, for example, there was 14 billion pounds ($17 billion) for schools. “My government will ensure all young people get the best possible start in life,” Johnson said.

There’s already been a promise of 20,000 extra police officers and 1.8 billion pounds for the National Health Service. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid said he’d be making more spending announcements and the public would see the government “invest in their priorities,” though there’s been little clarity about where the money will come from.

The strategy is not new. In 2016, Johnson’s team won the referendum on EU membership by talking about things that weren’t Europe.

There were daily announcements that once Britain had left the EU, there would be more money for everything, and especially the beloved health service. The other side in the referendum battle, expecting a fight over constitutional and economic questions, found itself facing something more like a general election campaign.

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