Boris Johnson, the outgoing Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, faced ‘Prime Minister’s Questions’ for the final time in the House of Commons on July 20. He was characteristically upbeat — and after thanking all those present in Parliament, he signed off with a nod to the Hollywood movie Terminator 2, declaring with a flourish, “hasta la vista, baby”, before walking out amid thunderous applause from Conservative MPs, many of whom had earlier called for his resignation.
“Hasta la vista”, which literally translates to “until the view”, is a Spanish farewell that means “see you later”, or “goodbye”. The phrase, with the addition of a jaunty “baby” at the end, gained global prominence, and became entrenched in popular culture after it was famously said by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1991 blockbuster hit, Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
In the movie, Schwarzenegger plays the T-800 Terminator, a muscled cyborg from a dystopian future that is sent back in time to protect a teenage boy, John Connon, who would later lead humans in the resistance against an all powerful malevolent artificial intelligence.
The Terminator, as he is known in the film, becomes friends with the young Connor, who teaches him the phrase “Hasta la vista, baby”. In one of the most iconic scenes in any Hollywood action flick, the Terminator repeats the now oft-quoted phrase in deadpan fashion before shooting the chief antagonist, a more advanced cyborg, and saving the day.
The line, “hasta la vista, baby” is placed at #76 in the American Film Institute’s ‘100 Years… 100 Movie Quotes,’ which lists the 100 most memorable lines in American cinema. (Chosen and ranked by a jury of 1,500 experts in 2004, the lines are only from films released until that year.)
In Parliament, Johnson listed the achievements of his three-year reign, telling MPs: “We’ve helped, I’ve helped, get this country through a pandemic and help save another country (Ukraine) from barbarism.” He added, “And frankly, that’s enough to be going on. Mission largely accomplished.”
Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs), is one of the most unique features of British politics. It takes place every Wednesday when Commons is in session, and gives MPs the opportunity to question the Prime Minister directly.
With the House of Commons going into summer recess on Thursday (July 21), this was the last time that Johnson would answer MP questions as Prime Minister in his current tenure. His successor — one among Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss — will likely be announced on September 5.
While Johnson attempted to end his final PMQ with a bang and not a whimper, his reputation has been deeply damaged with scandal after scandal, and it remains to be seen when, if ever, he is able to deliver on the promise of the other iconic dialogue from the Terminator series — this one ranked at #37 in the ‘100 Quotes’ list. In The Terminator (1984), where he plays a different cyborg, this one sent back in time to assassinate John’s mother, Sarah Connor, Schwarzenegger famously says: “I’ll be back”.