Since the start of 2020, the millions of citizens of the United Kingdom have sacrificed their personal freedoms for what they were told was the national interest. This was, of course, true.
The measures imposed by the government to combat the spread of Covid-19, while strict, were (for the most part) accepted by the population in the interest of public health and reducing the strain of the pandemic on the NHS.
These sacrifices were felt most keenly in the festive period of 2020. After promising that Christmas would go ahead if the condition of a Christmas “bubble” were met, the Prime Minister went back on his word and, just a week before Christmas, announced that the public should cancel their plans and “stay at home”.
This U-Turn was one of many performed by the Prime Minister during the pandemic. Despite its devastating effect on the lowly citizens of the UK, they complied. Family rituals and plans had to be shelved because the government told the public that this was the safest way to navigate through the pandemic.
It is at least puzzling, therefore, that at the same time that people (let’s call them “taxpayers”, “voters,” or maybe…“suckers?) across the nation were cancelling their festive plans, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was making his own: the equivalent of a T-Rex telling you to go vegan.
This week, it emerged that during that Christmas period a year ago, 10 Downing Street hosted a Christmas party for a “few dozen” people. Whether Mr Johnson was rocking around the Christmas tree is unknown, but party games were reportedly played and alcohol was allegedly drunk (Christmas time – hypocrisy and wine?).
As Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer pointed out in PMQs on Wednesday, the rules were very clear: “You should not host a work Christmas lunch or party”. Begging the question whether there is one rule for the public of this country, and another for the Prime Minister and his chums.
Brazen hypocrisy of this type is undoubtedly a huge issue for Mr Johnson’s tenure as Prime Minister. Why should the public listen to and trust a man who breaks his own rules and appears to demonstrate a blatant contempt for the people of the country he governs? The very same people who made huge sacrifices to abide by his rules and regulations?
It gives the distinct impression that Mr Johnson thinks he is A) above the law, or B) simply doesn’t care about it. Option B may be more credible given the recent allegations that cocaine was discovered around his office. What next? Yet another War on Drugs?
This is, of course, only the latest in a long list of blunders on the Prime Minister’s resumé, and yet, it seems more significant. The pandemic and the accompanying emergency legislation has already peeved some of his staunchest supporters. Many backbench Tories voiced concerns over the authoritarian nature of those rules and the curbing of personal liberties. As his tenure as Prime Minister approaches its halfway point, will this egregious hypocrisy finally impact on the PM, by the electorate turning against the loveable clown?
James Clinton Hunt