Boris Johnson caricature

There ain’t no party like a 10 Downing Street party

Or #WilltherebeanewPM?

There ain’t no party like an S Club Party, that much is true.

There also ain’t no more truth to the phrase “A week is a long time in politics,” than in the past few weeks.

A throwback to a simpler time before Boris Johnson was a politician
Boris Johnson as Emperor
When this picture was created back in 2008 (or therabouts) no-one could have imagined how the next 14 years would play out (“Boris Johnson As Emporer” by Matt From London is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

To illustrate this, the piece I was going to write about waiting for the Sue Gray report has now been completely obliterated.

Obliterated because the report has now arrived – yes, the report which the British government was relying on to tell them whether they were at parties when the parties were only in the past two years so they should have remembered anyway.

But now there is a Met Police investigation ongoing too so the report from Sue Gray couldn’t say as much as people wanted her to say.

In the House of Commons earlier today (Monday – January 31st) Boris Johnson said sorry but this just seems to be to appease his backbenchers.

Now there is the waiting game to see whether enough of the Conservative Party MPs will put in letters to the 1922 Committee to express a vote of no-confidence in the PM.

Theresa May’s intervention in the debate is definitely worth watching
Boris Johnson chairs the morning Covid-19 Meeting
There did seem to be confusion from within the Government about what counted as a work meeting and was allowed under the rules and what was a party or, not necessarily a party per se, a work event that wasn’t necessary and so should not have happened. This photo is just from a Covid update meeting so is allowed (“Boris Johnson chairs the morning Covid-19 Meeting” by UK Prime Minister – Picture by Andrew Parsons/ No 10 Downing Street)
Boris Johnson caricature
Boris Johnson faces a difficult road ahead if he is to cling on to his job (“Boris Johnson – Caricature” by DonkeyHotey is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Nadine Dorries did a media round earlier to defend the prime minister

If you want to read a lot into whether he will last to the end of February, you could do a lot worse than assess who is being put up to defend him on the media round of interviews.

Channel 4 News had Nadine Dorries on tonight. You be the judge (clip above).

You could also judge it by how the newspaper journalists are interpreting today’s action from parliament.

The Sun has declared Boris Johnson’s statement in Parliament to be a grovelling apology and is running the text of the Gray report.

In it she says “it is not possible at present to provide a meaningful report setting out and analysing the extensive factual information I have been able to gather”.

Which is very well summed up by their deputy political editor Kate Ferguson:

The Sue Gray report says a lot without saying much but doesn’t really say enough
Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak 'Clap for our Carers'
Do you remember the days when the Prime Minister and the Chancellor used to clap for carers instead of giving them the payrise they deserve? (“Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak ‘Clap for our Carers'” by UK Prime Minister is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 – Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street)
Allegra Stratton
Pictured in happier times when she was Newsnight political editor (because I could not find any recent ones from her time in Westminster without having to pay lots to picture agencies) Allegra Stratton is the only one to have resigned over Downing Street parties and she said she wasn’t at a party (“Allegra Stratton, Newsnight Political Editor, interviewing David Blunkett at Policy Exchange” by Policy Exchange is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The Guardian is describing Sue Gray’s words as a masterpiece of understatement, which manages to get across a damning verdict.

Having met Boris Johnson several times in my journalism career (including once where he lied about how all the local papers in London would be given enough passes so they could cover the athletes from their areas in the 2012 Olympics) I know he always oozes the charm and – as London Mayor – would always stop for autographs and photographs.

So, in a similar way to Trump’s popularity before he became president of the USA, I can see why some people in the UK are upset that their leader is being investigated over a birthday cake and some parties.

But they need to understand it is much bigger than that. It is about how thousands of people died while the Government disregarded the rules they had made.

Someone should have definitely already resigned over this, and that person should not have been Allegra Stratton.

Stay safe for another week!

One comment

Comments are closed.