Saturday 11 December 2021

Boris Johnson's Christmas Quiz

He was having a wonderful Christmas time. But those awful Scrooges in the press pack keep digging up info about Covid rule-breaking. Not very good will to all men and stuff. According to the Sunday Mirror - with picture proof - Boris Johnson hosted a Christmas quiz on 16th December last year while London was under Tier two restrictions. These forbade social mixing between households, let alone parties in 10 Downing Street. Johnson dropped in to deliver questions for 15 minutes, showing he knew what staff had planned in contravention of the rules. So much for the repeated denials about parties.

Curtains for this greased eel of a politician? Initial indications suggest he's going to style it out. Responding to the fresh allegations, a Johnson spinner said "This was a virtual quiz. Downing Street staff were often required to be in the office to work on the pandemic response so those who were in the office for work may have attended virtually from their desks." Testimony accompanying the Mirror piece suggests not. Given the febrile mood in the country and the firm swing away from the Tories in the polls, it's definitely time for his would-be successors to mobilise the troops. But can he hang on?

As plenty of Tory watchers have noted, Johnson does not have much of a hinterland in the parliament. Their tolerance of him is down to his election-winning ways and very little else. His stronger support has always been in the wider party; there are genuine Johnson fans populating the local government base and dwindling membership. The question is will they cling to him and provide some sort of praetorian guard in the constituency associations against rebellious MPs? And the answer to that is doubtful. He delivered Brexit and kept them happy, but dumping on the Covid sacrifices the members have made (like everyone else) is so much a taking of the piss.

His position has deteriorated all over the place, but he'll try clinging on. There's a Churchillian fantasy to fulfil, after all. But the situation could not be more grave. The emergence of Omicron is a clear and present danger, and the government's track record is appalling. Throwing the boosters out the doors, mandating masks, encouraging homeworking all seem a bit weak sauce when the R number is creeping upwards. And with further precautions to be announced on 18th December - determined not by "the science", but by the school term - for the government's authority to be shredded now is at the worst possible time. Most people will go along with the new rules, but given the Prime Minister's example the refuseniks and non-compliars find an excuse to indulge their civil disobedience fantasies - and help spread the virus further.

There is something very simple the Tories can do to strengthen confidence in their mitigation measures, and that's by publicly demonstrating that there are consequences for egregious rule breaking by those at the top. And that's by hurling Boris Johnson out of a window at the earliest opportunity.


Blissex said...

The political aspect of this tempest in a teacup is, put another way:

* All the participants in the partying event committed the same rule-breaking, and possibly offence, so there was a good expectation by all of them that the event would stay "confidential", like for Bulligdon Club "events".

* Therefore that one year later the story emerges and with evidence can only mean that it is being pushed by Conservative or "deep state" sources that have made a deal with some of the participants. Most likely a "whig" vs. "tory" plot.

I think that it is quite naive to reckon that this is good for the "left":

* Personal attack non-politics does not benefit the "left" in large part because the target is usually someone on the "left".

* Regardless of the benefit or not, politics based on murky behind the scenes plots is not what the "left" is about, as a matter of principle because "winners do whatever it takes" and "devil take the hindmost" are part of the ideology of the right.

I am not defending a despicable spiv like Johnson, just pointing out that in a dirty underhand fight among factions of the right the "left" should not be happy to cheer on the nastier dirtier side just because "two minutes of hate" feel so good.

PS The plot of the currentac story looks somewhat like the Christmas special "Party games" of "Yes Minister", where the "Deep State" uses dirty tricks to get the stronger candidates for PM to give up, and get pliant Jim Hacker to be their frontman. How life imitates art... :-)

Anonymous said...

Who won the quiz?