Boris is in New York at present, co-incidentally the city of his birth, to speak at the UN about all things Brexity (this will be pretty much the sole job of Foriegn Secretaries from now until the middle of the century at least). He warned people not to equate Brexit with a desire for isolationism.
“I would draw a very, very strong contrast between Brexit and any kind of isolationism,” the man with the new grownup haircut declared. “Brexit means us being more outward looking, more engaged, more energetic, more enthusiastic on the world stage than ever before.”
Boris probably does believe this. In fact many more sincere Brexit campaigners than BoJo are actually very internationalist in nature, and their desire to leave the European Union has always been centred on this idea (Dan Hannan is a perfect example). But the reason Vote Leave won on June 23rd was because of isolationism, pure and simple. It was immigration wot swung it and everyone knows it.
This is the problem the Brexiteers now face: they won under a false pretence, scared that their actual reasons for why we should leave the EU wouldn’t have won over fifty percent of the voters. And they’re right, it wouldn’t have.
It is worth reminding ourselves in the shadow of Boris Johnson’s words about isolationism just how far Vote Leave, the campaign Boris headed, reached into the xenophobic barrel to win. The 70 million Turks for example, a mini-campaign launched with arrows headed out of Turkey and headed towards Britian, eerily reminiscent of old Nazi lebensraum propaganda.
So Boris can say that Brexit means whatever he likes – but the line about isolationism already sounds tired and he’s only just said it.