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More Anarchy in the UK

Written By: - Date published: 8:19 am, January 14th, 2022 - 20 comments
Categories: boris johnson, covid-19, uk politics - Tags:

In December last year I wrote a post titled Anarchy in the UK about how Boris Johnson was in a heap of trouble because of a Christmas Party held at 10 Downing Street the year before.  Since then things have only become worse for him.

Boris Johnson’s reign as UK Prime Minister may be terminal. Not because of the utter shambles that is Brexit, nor his catastrophic handling of Covid but because of the duplicity in hiding details of a party held at 10 Downing Street during a time when everyone was meant to be isolating.

Someone high up has leaked an email invitation to the party.  Johnson has been completely on the back foot ever since.

John Grace in the Guardian has this excoriating article where he states that the essence of the defence offered by Johnson is that he is catatonically stupid.  From the article:

So anyway, he and his then fiancee – Carrie always came along to work meetings – coincidentally turned up at the party that wasn’t a party, even though they hadn’t seen the invite, and stayed for 25 minutes just because it seemed rude not to. He discussed a few work matters before going back to his flat and remembered thinking how brilliant it was that so many people were staying late to work outdoors over a few bevvies.

And he hadn’t even thought the party was a party when he saw the staff clearing up the empties from the flower bed the following morning. Indeed it was only when Dominic Cummings had mentioned last week that the party might have actually have been a party that it occurred to him the party could have been a party after all. He now bitterly regretted everything – most of all, getting caught – and all he was asking was that people gave him a bit of wriggle room before Sue Gray submitted the findings to her investigation. Hopefully she would be as gullible as he imagined everyone else to be.

None of which cut any ice with Keir Starmer. This PMQs may have seemed like the most open of goals for the Labour leader but he still needed to stick the ball in the net in front of a packed Commons’ chamber. Which he did six times. Johnson was pathetic: after months of denial, was this the best he could come up with? A dog ate my homework excuse would be less insulting. The prime minister had attended the party. He had broken lockdown rules. He had misled parliament when he had said how sickened he was about other No 10 parties. The country thought he was a pathological liar. He needed to resign.

Boris visibly crumpled. Unlike Prince Andrew, he knew what it was like to sweat. Back in No 10 he had managed to convince himself that his feeble explanation might be enough to get him off the hook. After all, he had a long history of getting out of tight situations by lying through his teeth. But now he could feel his optimism seeping away. He was fooling no one. Not even himself.

The historical context is important.  The Guardian said this about arrangements at the time:

On that day Matt Hancock, then health secretary, had given a 5pm press conference urging people to stick to the rules and not take advantage of the good weather over the May weekend to socialise in groups.

At the time schools were still shut and pubs and restaurants were closed, with strict controls on social mixing. More people had been allowed to return to their workplaces, but guidance said social distancing of 2 metres should be followed at all times and “only absolutely necessary participants should attend meetings and should maintain 2-metre separation throughout”.

In Parliament Labour leader Keir Starmer completely undermined Johnson’s credibility.

It is not the lying or the hypocrisy that will dethrone him although if there is proof of lying to Parliament then convention dictates that he should go.  With sufficient linguistic dexterity he may be able to avoid this particular allegation.

The aspect that will end is reign is slumping polling support and nervousness amongst Tory MPs facing the prospect of losing their god given right to be MPs with all of the incidental financial benefits that brings.  And after a long period of dominance the Tories are now well and truly on the back foot with the latest YouGov poll having Labour on 38%, 10 points ahead of the conservatives and with Starmer on 35% support as preferred Prime Minister compared to Johnson’s 23%.

It seems that Johnson may not recover from this.  And whoever the leaker is now would be a great time to leak news of further gatherings which, based on events to date, I am sure there were.

20 comments on “More Anarchy in the UK ”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    I thought he might survive, at least until after he could be blamed for a disaster in the local elections in May and various bits of authoritarianism being rammed through the British parliament.

    But now I am not so sure. People in the UK are angry. 150,000+ people are dead. They've got families who use various social media to post the circumstances of the death and burial of their loved ones. The inability to say goodbye, the truncated and stilted funerals, the distanced wakes. The families of the dead inchoate anger at the failures of government have been given something to coalesce around, something to focus an incandescent rage at.

    If you spend a bit of time reading through the awful and sad and traumatic tales of loss being expressed on twitter or other social media you quickly realise we have no idea in this country, just no fucking idea, of the trauma that COVID has inflicted and how damn lucky we've been (and like all luck, the better your countries leadership the luckier you are).

    The anger is real and the Tories approval rating is in free fall – last poll I saw gave the Conservatives just 28% of the vote. Expect Rishi Sunak to make his move soon.

    • (and like all luck, the better your countries leadership the luckier you are).

      True, and Jacinda Chris, Grant etc and Ashley need to be given full credit.

      But our Natz and other right whingers are like the Tories – 'born to rule.' Though pathetically incapable of doing so for the whole population.

    • GreenBus 1.2

      " just no fucking idea, of the trauma that COVID has inflicted and how damn lucky we've been".

      So many kiwis just have no idea, zilch. Despite all the screen time kiwi are addicted too

      we appear not to appreciate any of it, vaxxed and anti-vax, especially anti-vax.

      Maybe shit will get real with Omicron, but so far life has been a breeze compared to the suffering poms, and yanks and aussies. We are blessed to have Jacinda and Ash.

    • mickysavage 1.3

      Agreed. Well put.

  2. Pierre 2

    Michael Walker made the the point yesterday that the leaks are being carefully orchestrated. The slowly growing scandal keeps the story in the press and each new revelation is timed to do as much damage as possible. Every time Johnson comes out to dodge responsibility in front of the cameras and it just makes him look increasingly dishonest.

    If he had only come out at the start and said "yes there was a party, here is everything that happened" the whole affair would've been forgotten in a week.

  3. Ad 3

    Dominic Cumming is delivering a masterclass in live political torture.

    Looking forward to Prime Minister Reece-Mogg so the Queen can engage once again with proper Received English vowels.

  4. Koff 4

    John Crace, not Grace – mild, but sometimes biting Guardian political satirist.

  5. Tricledrown 5

    The Bullington bully bites t

  6. weka 6

    Don't know why the UK doesn't shift to a proportional representation model.

  7. Mike Smith 7

    The New York Times notes that the UK monarchy and government have a similar crisis – so they both can't back each other up. The article quotes Alastair Campbell in characteristic boasting mode:

    “Boris Johnson and Prince Andrew,” Alastair Campbell, a former communications director for Prime Minister Tony Blair, said in a Twitter post. “What an image the world is getting of Global Britain.”

    Mr. Campbell was involved in a now-celebrated episode in which a more stable government helped a monarchy in crisis: In 1997, he and Mr. Blair, a popular Labour leader coming off a landslide election victory, persuaded the queen to strike a more empathetic tone in reacting to the death of Princess Diana in a car crash. That defused a growing tide of resentment against the monarch.

    “Normally,” Mr. Campbell said, “they avoid crises at the same time.”

    Campbell missed the mark mentioning Sir Tony Blair, recently gartered by Her Maj. A petition against the grant of the exclusive award, personally decided by the Queen, recently garnered over a million votes.

  8. McFlock 8

    It seems odd that between covid, brexit, govt contracts for folks who did personal favours, and the general corruption of his government, what might sink Boris is a christmas party.

    Straws and camels, I guess – sort of appropriate to the season, too. There's usually a camel in those chinzy nativity scenes, lol

    • weka 8.1

      I think it's because it's so personal. It's one thing to fuck the economy, it's another entirely to force people to give up time with family, or having much needed relief from the pandemic grind, and then go out partying and then lie through your teeth about it.

  9. Tiger Mountain 9

    How much further can the Anglosphere fall? This buffoon was barely fit to be a Mayor let alone a Prime Minister.

    On the other hand, perhaps Brexit voting, mushy pea and fry oop quaffing poms deserve him!

  10. peter sim 10

    The english never learn. They need MMP.

  11. millsy 11

    If only they had a chance to get rid of Johnson before all this happened, and put in a man who believes only a strong state can marshall all efforts to combat the coronavirus and provide appropriate assistance.

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