Tuesday 23 May 2023

Boris Johnson: Another Fine Mess

Just when you think you're done providing Boris Johnson content, along comes some more. Except this time, a good case of popcorn is best advised. News broke earlier that the Cabinet Office have referred the former Prime Minister to the police. Yes, I had to give it the double take as well.

In preparation for the upcoming inquiry into the appalling mishandling of the Covid crisis, the Cabinet Office had sight of Johnson's private diary entries. In them he apparently recounts holding not insubstantial gatherings at Chequers in defiance of the Covid rules. These events were not employees or for work, as per Johnson's rote defence of his rule breaking shenanigans in Number 10, but shindigs for friends. Johnson's lawyers have written in to say they were lawful and no rules were broken, but the civil servants preparing the papers had no choice but to hand his submissions over to the plod. The Met and Thames Valley are now flicking through the evidence.

What's surprising about this affair is not that there weren't parties. Everyone in the country has grown accustomed to the idea that rules merely exist for Johnson to break them. No, it's that news has not come out about them until now. Obviously, as a respecter of due process this blog will refrain commenting further until more details are in the public domain. But it's worth noting this story handily becomes public knowledge just as Rishi Sunak is under pressure over his handling of Suella Braverman's latest stupidity.

Bad timing, however, for Johnson. Next month the Privileges Committee will return their verdict about the former PM's lockdown lawlessness. Already, Johnson's hope for a tap on the wrist suffered a blow after Margaret Ferrier's appeal against her 30-day Commons suspension for breaking Covid rules fell flat on its face. You might recall Ferrier took the train while she had Covid at the beginning of the first wave of the pandemic. A no-no certainly, but she didn't move heaven and earth to avoid accountability for it - unlike someone else. Given her punishment, the pending recall petition and inevitable by-election, the smart money isn't on Johnson scraping by with a lesser penalty. Throw the Chequers gathering into the equation and the mood accompanying the Committee's deliberations couldn't be worse.

Writing on Twitter Tuesday evening, friend-of-the-Tory-stars Christopher Hope reports of a "gloomy mood" among Tory right wingers. The "Whitehall blob" is to blame. “We are like being gobbled up like we are in Pac Man” chuntered one anonymous backbencher. Actually, no. When Johnson won his thumping majority the Tories were the masters of their own political destinies. They were too big for Labour to lay a glove on them, and yet here we are. The Tories are in trouble entirely because of their own doings. Johnson didn't have to break lockdown rules. Liz Truss didn't have to trolley the economy. Sunak didn't have to re-appoint Braverman, or decide doing nothing would be the hallmark of his government. The Tories might be in long-term decline, but rather than dealing with their crisis of political reproduction they've have chosen to ride it into opposition from whence a rapid recovery is unlikely to come. If there is a conspiracy, rather than prattling about civil servants having the knives out for them the Tories would do well to reflect on the patterns of stupidity and self-destruction their party births with unerring regularity.

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Anonymous said...

We will have to assume that members of the media were also present at said parties hence they've self-censored & not reported. Unlike the uninvestigated Abba party at Number 10 where apparently a senior member of the Royal family (tip: even more senior, now...) was present which presumably prohibits any further investigation...

Blissex said...

Our blogger again puts in evidence that in the factional war between thatcherite factions in Westminster politics is apparently absent and the media present it just as being all about "personalities" and "gotchas" about "bad apples"; whether the "gotchas" are about pandemic parties, speeding tickets, "trotzkysm", "anti-semitism", "mysoginism" matters not as long as they do the job of "getting" the target, whether nationalist "tory" or internationalist social-democrats".

The tactics used by the globalist "whig" right-wing got rid of Sanders, Trump, Johnson, Corbyn, and now are being used against Braverman and potential come-backs of Trump and Johnson.

Where I disagree with our blogger is that I don't think that "the left" should just stand back with a «a good case of popcorn» and enjoy two right-wing factions going at each other over personalities and with gotchas, because the same tactics used against the nationalist "tories" have also been used against our internationalist "social-democrats", and anyhow "the left" is based on principles, otherwise how can we criticize the Mandelson Tendency for selling out to thatcherism?

Note on the tactics: people who are astonished to the point of a «double take» that the cabinet office did this probably never asked themselves who might have present at those "working parties" and then provided photos and videos of the "working parties" to the right-wing press and why in those all faces except that of Johnson were hidden.

Phil said...

Um, no. It's about power. I don't know how anyone could have hung around this blog for as long as you have and not grasped this.

Anonymous said...

Um, no. It's about power. I don't know how anyone could have hung around this blog for as long as you have and not grasped this.

What was that actually in reply to?

A deleted comment?

If it was about "principles"... "Principles" are a means to "power", at multiple levels and on multiple scales, where "power" means "surviving and thriving". That's why "principles" exist. They would not exist and be so widespread if they didn't work (at least some of the time).