This from a Brit living in the States–one with a pretty good understanding of the cultures on both sides of the Atlantic, à la the late Alistair Cooke,
I write regarding “Partygate” and the transgressions of the British Prime Minister and his little clique at Number 10.
Let’s start by being perfectly clear about a few things: I deplore the oft-on-display tendencies of our betters in public life to ignore and do end-runs around rules that they impose on the rest of us. We’ve all seen it–Gavin Newsom at The French Laundry, Sandy Cortez, maskless and fancy-free, dancing in the midst of a huge crowd on a drag beach in Florida (so sue me, I didn’t know such things existed. Nancy Pelosi, sans mask, at the hairdresser (who shouldn’t even have been open, and wouldn’t have been for schlubs like me). Dominic Cummings driving 260 miles (Lord, that wouldn’t even get me to the other side of Pennsylvania) to see Mum and Dad. (Nice to know he has parents, anyway.) Or the Mayor of Denver, Colorado, who flew to Mississippi (about 1,300 miles, but who’s counting?) to spend Thanksgiving with his family, at the same time as he was telling his constituents to abjure family gatherings and stay at home for the holidays. Hypocrites all. There are many more.
I equally deplore the culture of snitching and shame that has been fostered by the authorities in almost all Western-style democracies/republics, where virtue-signaling, self-righteous, and excited people turn in their friends, and neighbors, and families, for the smallest infractions. With the result that an old-age-pensioner in Croyden cannot sit in his garden with his wife quietly enjoying a cup of tea during lockdown without being cited and fined by police who turn up within minutes at the behest of his next-door neighbor, or some poor so-and-so in a city park is ticketed for walking his dog while not wearing a mask, when there isn’t another person within a hundred yards of him (except the police who show up to arrest him). This exhibition of gossipy, petty, spitefulness and vindictiveness seems to have reached its apogee in Canada and Australia, but it’s prevalent elsewhere too.
Third, I deplore the politics of lockdown, through which, on all sides, more–or less–extreme measures are justified based on the political cause in play. Thus, we had almost a full year in which any sort of gathering of an anti-lockdown nature was banned and/or quickly shut down for health, safety, and “social-distancing” reasons, at the same time that often-violent and destructive–and sometimes even deadly–Black Lives Matter protests were allowed, and even encouraged as “necessary”–because “progress,” Or something.
All of which brings me to Partygate, in which BoJo (who’d almost died of Covid himself not all that long before) is accused of having parties with his staffers, of having BYOB sessions–resulting in inebriation and immature play-acting–in the garden at Number 10, and, at some point, of having (Shock! Horror!) an actual birthday cake presented to him by his wife.
Poor optics? Sure. Expecially if you’re going to have a party the night before Prince Philip’s funeral.
Worth taking down the Prime Minister for? Only if you’re trying to claw yourself up the ladder, and he’s in your way.
Risky, on both counts.
But here’s the thing: As far as I can see, these “parties” consisted of Johnson and his staffers enjoying some time off, sometimes in the garden, after they’d already spent the day working together, It’s not as if people were flying in from Ibiza or driving down from John O’Groats and descending on Number 10 out of the blue. (Surely we’d know if that were the case, particularly since there’s a Metropolitan Police officer on duty outside Number 10’s front door 24×7, and more armed offices patrolling the street around and about, at all times. Surely they’d have noticed something at the time?)
And yet, unlike our poor OAP in Croyden taking tea with his wife in his garden, who was shut down in minutes, it’s taken twenty months for Johnson’s heinous “parties” to come to light?
How can people not see the politics in play here? And how can people not see–and laugh at–the pretensions of the Metropolitan Police, who say they can’t spare an officer to mind narcissistic Prince Harry and his ridiculous family–for whom, LPBC, I hold no brief–at the same time that Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick (was ever a woman so aptly named?) and her minions throw tons of resources, millions of pounds of British taxpayer money, and expectations of untold political returns into the campaign to destroy Boris Johnson (who, let’s also be clear, is by no means a perfect man but who has–on balance–achieved much). Would those who are trying to shove him aside have accomplished what he did? Or are they just opportunists looking to consolidate their own power?
Silly question. LOL.
Grow up, England. There are many serious issues in the world. Boris Johnson’s birthday cake isn’t one of them.
Do better. Please. Your country is depending on you.