As Lenin said, “There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen.”
Even though I don’t like the former-Soviet dictator or the regime he helped establish, his words here do ring true.
It has been an interesting couple of weeks for Prime Minister Boris Johnson – the partygate Scandal, Brexit continuing to be a disaster, a Tory MP defecting to labour, blackmailing allegations, and accusations of Islamophobia.
Needless to say, it has been challenging to keep up with what’s been happening.
When the rest of us were locked in our homes (or being fined for venturing out of our homes), Johnson and his friends were having a great time drinking wine in the garden, holding Christmas parties (which was parodied with memes and a Facebook event), and lying to parliament about it.
After responding to a letter from a 7-year-old who couldn’t have a birthday party due to lockdown, Johnson’s friends gave him a birthday cake for doing his best during the pandemic. Some of Johnson’s supporters have argued that this was not a party but merely work colleagues surprising the birthday boy with a cake.
If this was the case, it was still against the lockdown rules Johnson himself implemented and what on earth was his interior designer doing there if it was just Whitehall officials?
The Metropolitan Police has said that it’ll investigate these lockdown breaches but some commentators, myself included, think it’ll just be a whitewash. Both the Gray’s and Met reports will most likely say that the Prime Minister should have conducted himself better, but ultimately no laws were broken, or there are no grounds for him to be punished. If this is not the case and the police prosecute Johnson, I will correct the record, something the Prime Minister has never done.
The Great Lorry Wall of Kent
Brexit has, so far, been a complete and utter disaster for the UK. It has caused major supply issues between the UK and EU, causing long delays and extortionate tariffs. Great Britain has become a beggar nation sending out Liz Truss to get worthless trade deals. The British economy and environmental laws have been washed away like the sewage that now pollutes our rivers. The latest foreseeable Brexit related issue is the ever-growing line of lorries waiting to cross the Channel.
The miles-long tailbacks at the Dover crossing this week, which the pro-Brexit media has ignored are now so long that they can be seen on Google Maps. The delays resulting from new customs controls introduced at the beginning of January (which could have been avoided if the UK remained in the Customs Union) has grounded the A20 to a halt. The lack of large queues sooner is that early January is a quiet time for the trade, but delays were expected as the business picked up and the government ignored the warnings.
The delays would mean that EU buyers will be more likely to look for alternatives for British goods in the Single Market, further reducing the UK exports. Still, UK buyers will not have that option as the UK’s Single Market is smaller than itself (NI is no longer a part of the UK Single Market but is part of the EU’s), meaning that British customers will have no choice but accept delays. The new checks also mean that using the UK as a “land bridge” between Ireland and the Continent will no longer be viable. This will negatively affect ports that connect Wales to Ireland as they would be receiving fewer ships, which will continue to hamper the already weakened economy.
Defecting MP and Blackmail
The defection of Christian Wakeford, MP for Bury South, is significant. He was one of Johnson’s Red Wall Tories elected in 2019 on the back of the “Great Brexit Done” mantra, and it shows how disillusioned some members of the Conservative party have become.
His decision to change party could be a shrewd political move to ensure that he would retain his position if labour regained its former strongholds. But what makes this more damming for Johnson are the accusations of blackmail and bullying by Conservative Party whips. Wakeford told BBC News that his constituency had funding for a new school threatened if he did not vote against free school meals.
This is completely inappropriate; the allocation of funds should be based on need and certainly not that MPs locality to the PM. If this is the case, it shows the Prime Minister acting a bit like a dictator and forcing MPs to vote in a particular way, especially when you have a large majority, removing the purpose of being a parliamentary democracy.
Overall, these self-inflicted problems Johnson is currently dealing with has exasperated Johnson’s declining “ratings on YouGov, with even elderly Tory voters, Johnson’s primary support base, are starting to view him negatively.
Labour is currently 6 points ahead of the Conservatives, with many Conservative voters saying that they will no longer vote Tory if Johnson remains in power. The Prime Ministers constant lying, lawbreaking, corruption, and overall uselessness could cost him his position as PM.
The decisions Johnson made and the blind devotion of some MPs and media outlets could destroy the Conservative Party for a generation – perhaps he should have thought about that when he was blowing out his candles.