Q. When is a Party not a Party?
A. When it is a Work Event. Or
B. When it is divided into so many factions it has no coherent policies or strategies.
Let’s dispense with answer A first. The semantic distinction between a ‘Party’ and a ‘Work Event’ seems to be Boris Johnson’s only line of defence when it comes to the lockdown booze-ups at No. 10 Downing St. I assume he defines ‘Party’ as socialising with people you like, where a ‘Work Event’ is socialising with people work with, in the place that you work.
To me, that’s akin to arguing about the make of getaway car used in a bank robbery; It doesn’t matter if it was a Tesla or a Prius, the actual crime was the Bank robbery. It doesn’t matter what you call the event or who attended. The point is that no one was meant to be socialising at all.
And I don’t think BoJo has grasped how angry everyone is, at him in particular, and that it is, in fact, EVERYONE. People who lost loved ones while he partied, sorry, ‘Work Evented’ feel utterly betrayed. People who gave up social interactions, missed birthdays and weddings and graduations because of the government rules now feel like mugs. And the people who had gathering anyway and got fined feel absolutely shafted and want their money back, preferably out of BoJo’s own pocket. Literally everyone in the country falls into at least one of these categories, some into all three, and we are all pissed off.
And yet, Boris seems to think if he throws enough staff under the bus, that will save him. He hopes to change the perception of No. 10 having a boozy, party culture. Honestly, It’s the Prime Minister who sets the tone. That party culture happened because of he allowed it. By attending the parties, he encouraged them. He didn’t stop them, therefore he approved them. Just because he didn’t buy the booze, doesn’t mean he wasn’t the host.
There is currently an investigation into the Downing St party scene, headed by Sue Gray. The focus of her inquiry are two parties in November and December of 2020. Boris says the report will be released soon and bet he’s hoping it’s very soon. The longer she investigates, the more information will surface. There are already stories, confessions of parties going back to May 2020. Some say the parties were weekly events. It looks like all the Downing St staff are all being ever so cooperative, hoping to keep their jobs after Boris gets ousted, providing he doesn’t eject them first.
In the meantime, Boris is switching from Operation Save Big Dog (actual name of the plan and I assume, actual nickname he’s given himself) to Operation Red Meat; a series of policy announcements to distract the press and public from partygate. He must have struggled here. He can’t use Brexit as a distraction as it has failed to turn the UK into the Sunshine and Rainbows Utopia he promised. The Economy is not going well and we are all facing the worst energy/food/cost-of-living crisis of our generation. The Vaccine rollout went well, but just about everyone who wants it has been at least double jabbed so there’s not much to tell there, and it is the only part of the pandemic he handled well.
So what issues are left? He’s going to freeze the BBC licence fee for two years, to help with the cost of living. Of course, with all the (Cheaper) streaming services people subscribe to, this might just remind people they’re still paying the licence when they never watch regular TV and prompt them to cancel it altogether.
He wants to have the Royal Navy handle the immigrants and refugees crossing the channel, which seems a bit extreme. I mean, they’re not invading. The lucky ones are armed with a blanket at most, and a large number of them are children. Is this really a military matter? I suppose from BoJo’s perspective, every headline about this will be one less about partygate but I don’t think he’s thought it through. Does he really want to seen as the PM who made war on the most vulnerable among us?
He also wants Michael Gove, the Minister for Levelling Up, to release his White Paper on Levelling Up. I’m still not sure what Levelling up is, beyond ‘making communities nicer places to live.’ There doesn’t seem to be a lot of substance to the policy. It might be called a White Paper because there’s nothing on it.
He’s going to do all this in a bid to keep himself in power. I don’t think he realises it’s no longer up to him. The Conservative party might be split into many factions, but they all agree on one thing: Boris Johnson has to go. In order to preserve the illusion of party unity, there are many meetings going on in back rooms to select his successor. Boris is too toxic to even be consulted. One day, he’ll come back from a bike ride to find his Wife, kids, and all their possessions on the Whitehall curb. He’ll probably still need someone to tell him what it means.
Well done , gives one pause to think.