Boris Johnson’s inept and immoral response to Party 10 will reduce public confidence in the new Covid restrictions, hampering the officers who must implement them, writes LGC editor Nick Golding.
The events of the past 24 hours have confirmed the extent of hypocrisy, deception and general evil at the heart of Boris Johnson’s government. This is on top of all the previous incompetence, favors from friends, and leadership vacuum.
Mr Johnson is a serial liar. Nothing he says is trustworthy. No decision he makes can be assumed to be made in the best interests of the country. He and those around him have a culture of law – the rules don’t apply to them, and they shouldn’t be held accountable.
With a large parliamentary majority and an electorate often looking the other way, Mr Johnson got away with it. Until there.
The reveal of the Downing Street party – well, the parties, it seems – strikes a chord. Across society, people have made sacrifices for the greater good, often putting their lives on hold, depriving themselves of the rich tapestry and the family of life, even missing family funerals, all because they were following the rules. Within local government – at all levels – staff have worked above and beyond what one would expect, with nothing like office cheese and wine parties to compensate, for their selfless service to their community. . Mr Johnson’s attitude was the opposite.
Throughout his life, Mr Johnson did not respect authority. The shamelessness of his disregard for the rules sets the tone for his Downing Street operation and the government in general. So, bully Priti Patel remains in office and parties were held at number 10 as the little people followed the rules he imposed on everyone.
In all walks of life, things go wrong, people behave badly – no one is perfect. However, Mr Johnson is unable to genuinely apologize or learn from his mistakes. While the party would not have been forgotten if he had admitted it a week ago, it would have imposed a far lesser threat to his post as Prime Minister.
His decision today to ask Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to investigate the rule violation is a typical Johnson dodge. He knows a party took place in his house – Allegra Stratton and Ed Oldfield clearly know – but he doesn’t have the honesty to admit it. Investigation, a favorite tactic of struggling governments, saves time. The investigation will not cover the other cases reported in Downing Street, some of which are believed to have been frequented by Mr Johnson.
The other dramatic action expected today is less typical. The government is expected to announce that it is implementing ‘plan B’, the Covid relief plan that ministers have repeatedly said was not on the cards, which would impose homework for many and certificates of compulsory vaccination for certain activities. As of this writing, a press conference was scheduled for 6 p.m., during which it is expected that Plan B will be announced.
Of course, Omicron cases are on the increase. It is clear that the latest variant of Covid is highly transmissible and is starting to be transmitted widely in the community, with 131 cases recorded today, bringing the total to 568.
But the timing of the expected implementation of Plan B is highly suspect, raising suspicions that the reason the government is restricting our freedoms is not to protect the health of the people, but to protect the Prime Minister – a secondary spectacle to distract from his lack of integrity.
With Nolan’s principles absent from Johnson’s modus operandi, it is not unreasonable to question the rationale for implementing Plan B. After all, leveling has been used to throw money into constituencies. marginal conservative parliamentarians, PPE contracts ended up making conservative donors. obscenely rich and welfare reform ended up being widely used to consolidate estates of wealthy retirees, the foundation of conservatives, rather than to improve services.
With Plan B, it is of course the municipal officials who are among those tasked with imposing more severe restrictions. When it is not only LGC which questions the justification for its imposition at this stage – the general population is surely disgusted with Party 10 and the cover-up – it is going to be much more difficult to implement restrictions this time around. Plan B could be the right policy imposed for the wrong reasons.
A head of council told me this morning: ‘I don’t know how Downing Street and the government can ask us to try to restrict the liberty of individuals again in the name of public health.
“It’s not OK. Shame on any government member who is closing ranks on it, rather than calling it out. “
“It’s a really difficult position to find yourself sometimes in trying to apply some of these measures,” said a senior official, fearing the workload of environmental health teams. And a district officer told us that unless there is swift action against the party’s perpetrators, “the public will not care about current and future restrictions.”
And a public health director told LGC: “The measures of Covid are respected by the public when they see their leaders model them. And when we don’t, that’s when governments fail in their measures – when they have what’s seen as one rule for them and another for everyone.
So Mr Johnson could implement Plan B to save himself, but also undermine Plan B by his own actions. Council agents – and local politicians who are unfairly stuck with the same brush by some voters – will therefore pay the price for Johnson’s misdeeds.
The incompetence and behavior of Johnson’s government increasingly affects local government, or society in general – and the world for that matter (given the scale of the Foreign Office’s failure on Afghanistan also revealed yesterday, and the Prime Minister’s decision to go on vacation in October rather than working on diplomacy which could have led to a strengthened COP26 agreement).
I find it hard to get too excited about the ever-delayed upgrade whitepaper, even though it was finally due out after Christmas. Whatever Michael Gove and Andy Haldane try to do to turn a bold slogan into politics, it’s hard to envision the government having the capacity to implement it. The prime minister – who should have prioritized leveling action the day after his election victory two years ago – is unable to lead, leading to repeated government failures.
As has been the case with so many things in Mr Johnson’s life, it is up to others to pick up the pieces of his lack of integrity and his mistakes. Only his departure will give us the national leadership we need.