Boris Johnson shows up

British foreign secretary Boris Johnson showed up in New Zealand for a couple of days. Media focussed on his showmanship, but most of the serious stuff will have been done privately.

NZ Herald has little of substance in British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson enjoys ‘beautiful’ hongi during visit to Kaikoura

Barry Soper goes a bit deeper in Don’t be fooled by Boris Johnson’s demeanou

Boris’ thinking when it comes to this country is important, given that he’s widely tipped to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister if she she’s rolled, which is very much on the cards following her recent disastrous election effort where her majority became a minority. And if that does happen, it’s being speculated the OE right of passage to the UK for young kiwis could again become a reality, in view of the right noises being made about that by Johnson when he was London’s Mayor.

One of the big issues for Kiwis – their London OE.

But in reality noise is all it’s likely to be considering Britain’s anti immigration and pro nationalist stance exemplified by Brexit, before and since, which was championed right from the start by the Foreign Secretary.

So nothing much of substance to see here?

Tracey Watkins: Boris Johnson comes bearing laughs, but what about gifts?

His visit is largely a flag waving one – it’s supposed to demonstrate that the Brits are back after a near absence of importance in the region in recent decades.

It’s also a demonstration to the domestic audience back home that Britain is reconnecting with the Commonwealth to fill the vacuum left by Brexit.

It’s a measure of how far Britain’s influence in the region has waned, however, that Johnson’s counterpart, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, made it to New Zealand first.

Of the two, it’s no mystery which of their visits is more significant for New Zealand. Tillerson’s presence here so early in the life of the Trump administration was a significant and important signal about the state of relations between New Zealand and the US.

Johnson’s visit? Not so much. It’s a given that as a Commonwealth country we would expect relations to be warm between our two countries – though Britain’s commitment has waxed and waned since it joined the European Union.

When did a British Foreign Secretary last visit New Zealand?

In fact, were it not for Johnson’s colourful and flamboyant personality, his visit would merit about as much attention as his predecessors, William Hague in 2013 and Philip Hammond in 2015.

I don’t remember those visits.

But even if Johnson may not be bearing many gifts on his visit downunder, we can enjoy the theatre.

That probably suits the media.

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30 Comments

  1. David

     /  July 25, 2017

    Johnson has long championed a commonwealth visa and post brexit will be a useful tool for the UK despite what Soper says. The NHS will be allowed to once again be easily allowed to recruit from around the world and be allowed to recognize NZ qualifications.
    Once they are able to stem the massive inflow of all and sundry from eastern europe our entry will be eased and we will get a trade deal as well. 5th biggest economy in the world and a natural fit for us…Brexit is exciting for NZ

    Reply
    • Missy

       /  July 25, 2017

      I agree on that. I think eventually there will be a form of free movement between the UK, Canada, Australia, and NZ (the CANZUK countries). Some surveys suggest that this is more popular than remaining in the EU with over 60% of those in Britain in favour of it.

      I think Barry Soper shows a lack of understanding – or a blind belief in the Guardian viewpoint being the only one. Britain’s ‘anti immigration and pro nationalist stance exemplified by Brexit, before and since’ that Soper talks about never included Australia, NZ, or Canada in the mix, and all that are anti-immigration that I have spoken to say it doesn’t include us. We are a member of the Commonwealth with the Queen as our head of state, we are not seen as being ‘foreigners’ but rather as family. Most people I have spoken to said that we should have been the ones to have free movement, not the Eastern Europeans. Soper has fallen into the left’s trap here in trying to make it too simplistic – bigoted and xenophobic, he also appears to be conflating nationalism with being something bad, it is more nuanced and complicated than that.

      At the risk of doing what I have accused Soper of, and simplifying the issue, I would say essentially the anti-immigration feeling is directed at Eastern Europe, and the illegal migrants, and Islamic immigration, the Commonwealth are seen as family and the ones they should be having migrating here. That is not to say there aren’t the extreme views of no immigration, there are, but the resentment in general to migration is not towards Commonwealth immigrants.

      Reply
    • Missy

       /  July 25, 2017

      Oh, and David on your last point, I think Brexit is not only exciting for NZ, but could be very exciting for Britain if the Government are brave enough to not cave in to the EU and the Remain lobby in the UK. There are great things ahead for them, that is why I voted for the UK to leave.

      Reply
      • Hi Missy. wouldn’t it be brilliant were we to instigate a free movement and trade agreement with the CANZUK group!

        On Mr Johnson. I love Boris, he’s both my kind of man and my idea of a PM.

        Can’t go past a SOH , brains and quirky self deprecation.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  July 25, 2017

          He’s … um … not very subtle.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  July 25, 2017

            Boris is a bit like Muzza McCully, in the sense that it doesn’t matter what you dress him in – he always somehow manages to look untidy. But I rather like Boris, so that’s a difference between them.

            Reply
            • Please – Muzza v Boris. Not seeing anything but sartorial disarray in common. TG

          • Subtle – hmmph. Subtle man = something to hide, secret life.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  July 25, 2017

              Look forward to Kitty telling us exactly where that’s from. ❤️

        • Missy

           /  July 27, 2017

          Hey Trav,

          It would be great. There has been some research into it, and there are some sound reasons around why it would not be like the EU Freedom of Movement, basically due to similar standard of living, common language and similar legal and parliamentary systems.

          Reply
          • Missy

             /  July 27, 2017

            meant to add to that, CANZUK is an organisation that are lobbying in the 4 countries, there is a twitter account, Facebook page, and a website: http://www.canzukinternational.com

            There are some MPs in all countries that are supporting the idea, in NZ it is David Seymour.

            Of course nothing can happen until the UK have actually left the EU.

            Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  July 25, 2017

      The Commonwealth has 30% of the planet’s population. If we can’t make that an economic success story there is something wrong with us.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  July 25, 2017

        Absolutely. Even Winston was onto that prospect like a diplomat smelling a free lunch & shot over to the UK to put his hand up & wave it about before anybody else did.

        Reply
        • Missy

           /  July 27, 2017

          Indeed he was, gave a great, almost un-Winston-like, speech in the House of Lords pre-EU referendum.

          Reply
  2. Missy

     /  July 25, 2017

    Oh, and another point that Barry Soper seems to be woefully uninformed on is the race to replace Theresa May.

    Boris was one of the favourites, but right from the election was not ‘widely tipped’ to replace May, the main person that has been tipped as the next Conservative Party leader has been David Davis, Boris was never considered a possibility. Currently the bookies have Davis as the favourite, and Jacob Rees Mogg as second favourite.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jacob-rees-mogg-next-tory-leader-betting-odds-david-davis-boris-johnson-a7856011.html

    Reply
    • In a leadership contest, wouldn’t it be cine more widely disseminated that Davis was the one to persuade Teresa to go to the people for a mandate. I know he had no hand in the subsequent campaign, but any future leadership ambitions he has will be irrevocably tied to BREXIT outcomes.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  July 25, 2017

        I’m not entirely certain how the “cine” fits into that trav? 🤔

        Reply
      • Missy

         /  July 27, 2017

        Agree that any leadership ambitions of Davis will be irrevocably tied to Brexit. There is a split on the issue of the leadership and what should happen, they can be broadly put into the following categories:

        1. Theresa May remains as leader for the Brexit negotiation period and then resigns before the next election allowing for a fresh leader and cabinet

        2. Theresa May remains leader through until the next election

        3. Theresa May steps aside and someone (preferably a Brexit MP) takes over to guide the UK through Brexit then steps aside before the next election. This is where David Davis is a popular choice, many want him to guide the UK through Brexit with a view to stepping aside, essentially a ‘caretaker Brexit PM’.

        Reply
  3. Gezza

     /  July 25, 2017

    Well, I watched Boris’s speech in that embedded clip in the Soper article. Apart from mispronouncing “katoa” he totally pulled that off. I reckon he’s an awesome Foreign Secretary. I’d absolutely love to meet the guy!

    Can’t say the same about Trumpy. If Trumpy ever offered me a handshake, I’d say – “nuh uh – not falling for that one, matey – hi-five?”

    Reply
    • No comparison. Then again.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  July 25, 2017

        Trumpy never does “cheeky grin”. Boris is never without one.

        Reply
    • Missy

       /  July 27, 2017

      I have run into Boris, well more correctly he almost ran into me. It was last year before the EU referendum, he was coming across the road on his bike (not a Boris Bike) and I was crossing over the road towards him, it was on a pedestrian crossing, and Boris was riding his bike across it, he almost ran into me, he stopped, smiled, and said sorry. 👍

      Reply
  4. Shakespeare.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  July 25, 2017

      That’s who. Not where. No, don’t tell me – I want it to be a surprise ! 😕

      Reply
      • Fill this in. – – – – – – is your friend

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  July 25, 2017

          Oh, I know I could do that trav. But it would never tell me with the love & poetry & possibly quaint little vignette of my favourite literary pussycat.

          Reply
  5. Zedd

     /  July 25, 2017

    reminds me of a comment, I heard about another famous person ‘his hair was blowing the wind.. but he was too embarrassed to chase after it !’ 😀

    Reply

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