A government in crisis: the cost of living, an investigation into lawbreaking and the betrayal of the public, slow lockdowns and a desperation to ignore the virus still working its way across the country– PPE mismanagement and misspending, rapists and date rape and sexism, islamophobia, a refusal to protect LGBT+ people from legally condoned torture – and what are the Conservatives doing?
Making up excuses for Johnson’s behaviour, throwing senior civil servants to the wolves via the front page of the Daily Mail and assuring us in the face of our rage that we have moved on: I have asked before and I ask again: how much more must we be expected to take, and when will the UK public look around at the troubles wrought by this government and say: no more.
This morning’s front page of the Daily Mail is dedicated to Sue Gray, and is a desperate attempt by the Conservatives to smear a woman who may be about to release a bombshell report into the lacklustre leadership number 10 has endured under the eternally prevaricating hands of Boris Johnson.
Even the snippets of the released report were a tacit indictment of leadership at number 10 under Johnson: but the stories in the news made that clear. Suitcases of booze being dragged into the back door, sneering civil servants mocking the sacrifices of the public on video despite the seniors involved clinging to their role and drugs being found in the toilets of our most ancient and esteemed political buildings. The findings speak for themselves.
As many in the UK shear off into debt and hopelessness under the cost of living crisis, as more fold their businesses because they cannot compete with bigger competitors thanks to the red tape of brexit and as still more sign off sick from work because there is no mitigation against the coronavirus that still quite literally plagues us, the government wraps tightly around itself for protection: but what good is a government more dedicated to self preservation than the country it swore to serve?
Rishi Sunak still continues to ignore the increasing cacophony of voices asking for an emergency budget to ease the cost of living crisis- will this be released at the same time as the Sue Gray report to distract us? Or will the report be a wash, protecting Johnson et al from the accusations that they are simply not up to snuff when it comes to representing the UK as a functional government. One can only imagine the cruelty behind a government who holds back vital relief as a figleaf to cover its continued dodgy dealings- and yet this is the government we have. Johnson appears to have murdered half the cats in London at this point, so desperate he has been to fling a fresh corpse onto the table at PMQs for weeks to distract from the shambles of his cabinet: and yet no amount of salacious stories can detract from the very real bodies of the over 155,000 dead covid patients, or the upcoming wave of people who starve or freeze because simply living in the UK has become too expensive.
Today Johnson’s face adorns the Guardian as he apparently “insists that working is the solution to the cost of living crisis”- yes, make more money for the conservative government who wasted billions on dodgy PPE, wrote off still more in covid fraud, who signed a brexit deal that has decimated businesses across the length and breadth of the country– but don’t work from home of course, you’ll be too distracted by pelotons and ironing to make that vital money to ease us through the crisis that’s completely out of our control and has always been in the hands of the tories.
And what have the tories done over the last six months to prepare us for this? Spent hours shoving officials into every news stream to talk about how minor and unimportant our officials throwing off the laws they enshrined is, blamed woke lefty remainers for being outraged about lacklustre race reports of the relocation of refugees to Rwanda, or made fat jokes at Ian Blackford when questioned about their behaviour. This is the bar of governmental probity set by Johnson, and the sooner he is gone the sooner we can ask that this bar be raised- and yet a core of the British public still admire the man for simply ploughing on like the titanic across the face of an iceberg- but we cannot hate the people who believe Johnson is above reproach because he has cultivated this opinion carefully via manipulation across the face of the country over many years.
Once upon a time, the Conservative party was a party that commanded respect for their rigour in adhering to the letter of the law- now they are stewarded by a man who is so dishonest we find ourselves questioning even easily provable statements he makes: people spend their time untangling the prime ministers’ words which are always dishonest at their core: G7 recovery is slow when he tells us we excel, the vaccine rollout is a storming success when it has all but stopped, the virus is over as hundreds of people die a week, brexit is done as he argues the importance of a border he signed into existence, work will fix the cost of living but he has done nothing to address the root cause of energy pricing, infrastructure, he hiked NI… tories tories tories, always the answer comes back to the government and their poor showing, but listening to them, we refused the lockdowns, refused the vaccines, refuse to work to address the cost of living- Johnson creates the problems then uses the population of the UK to soak up blame for them- and to the rest of the cabinet?
From a justice secretary with an appetite for scrapping human rights protections and replacing it with his own twisted version of what protection he, a man who believes “British workers are amongst the worst idlers” to a foreign secretary who was forced to resign for holding meetings with foreign officials for undisclosed reasons- and is now being asked to do the same over her lies about humane conditions for refugees and signing off on multiple bills which break international law- from a culture secretary who doesn’t understand the funding model of channel 4 and ITV and who thinks 96% of people being against privatisation is 96% of people for it: then we have an education secretary who wants to place trans children in harms way and endorses smacking, a transport secretary who denies the very existence of brexit backlogs… these are the bedrock of the government that continue to rot away at their own tenet of “the will of the people”. If the will of the people were to be observed, Boris Johnson with his 26% approval rating would be clearing holes on a golf course or back to writing his poorly researched columns: but still he sits on the proverbial throne of the UK and the UK public continues to reap what it sowed by installing such a man.
Whatever happens next the UK is in for a rough ride: even if a Starmer government took over tomorrow, a hostile press plus the malfeasance of the tories’ 12 year tenure has poisoned the UK’s political purity and left us with myriad issues- and so many are asked to believe over and over that the only cure is to just believe in Johnson harder, believe he can fix his own mistakes.
Brexit was a byproduct of the UK being sick of the status quo, an arguable thumb on the nose of our collective ire with how things were being done.
When people realise that this constant upheaval and political punditry to the detriment of the everyman, woman and they is the status quo under Johnson and that they could have it better under someone else: what will they do?
I’ve been told many times that I cannot rely on a litany of the terrible things the tories do to endear people to voting for an alternative: and yet I have to ask why? Why people are willing to accept this over anything else? “Labour would be worse” doesn’t wash with me: I’d rather see Starmer, or Rayner, or anybody else on the left try and fail than watch as Johnson continues to wrap his tendrils across the face of our struggling country and drag us still deeper into the mire of his government’s creation because trying and failing is, by all accounts, better than wilfully allowing the UK to degrade as Johnson climbs on our piled bodies to claim he alone is above it all.
Daviemoo is a 34 year old independent writer, radicalised into blogging about the political state of the world by Brexit and the election of serial failures like Trump and Johnson. Please check out the rest of the blog, check out Politically Enraged, the podcast available on all streaming platforms and share with your like minded friends! Also check him out on ko-fi where you can keep him caffeinated whilst he writes.