Fintan O’Toole: Johnson must confront tyranny of fact

The PM doesn’t do detail, but the details of Brexit are people's lives

Boris Johnson: has always been able to deal with facts he does not like by inventing his own ones. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

Boris Johnson: has always been able to deal with facts he does not like by inventing his own ones. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

When it comes to Brexit, it is not the devil that is in the details. It is real life. The details are workers, jobs, families and communities. They are the hours and the days and how people get to spend them, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. And one of the things even his fans will concede about the new British prime minister is that he doesn’t do detail.

Boris Johnson is a big picture man – which is a nice way of saying that he can’t be bothered with the specifics of real-world consequences. His appeal to the Tory party faithful who voted for him so overwhelmingly is precisely that he allows them to fantasise about easy simplicity in a world of ferocious complexity.

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