Well, it’s been a year and a half, but the British public are now starting to wise up to Alexander Boris DePfeffel Johnson. His approval ratings are in freefall, the Tory Party are sharpening their claws, preparing for a leadership challenge and Labour have opened up a healthy polling lead. Finally, Britons are now looking beyond the ragged hair and are finally starting to recognise Boris Johnson for who he really is - a liar, a gas-lighter and a charlatan…
But really, it shouldn’t have taken an illegal Downing Street Christmas party for this to happen; 2021 has been a year jam-packed with Tory scandals and sleaze. That is no exaggeration, in fact it’s probably an understatement. Frankly, you would be forgiven for thinking that the Tory strategy for getting off scot-free with scandal after scandal would be to just bombard the British public with so many that each scandal cannot possibly be remembered.
So as we are all looking back on the year behind us, let’s run through the lowest of the low from Her Majesty’s Government…
Immediately following the dumpster fire of 2020, we were all hit hard with Tory mismanagement. Roughly 1,000 people were dying of COVID daily and thousands of children were poised to return to school, as inept former Education Secretary Gavin Williamson insisted at the dispatch box, alongside the fact that exams would “absolutely” be going ahead later in the year…
Less than a week later and on the same day as thousands of primary school children had returned to school, everything that Gavin Williamson had previously insisted was U-Turned as the country was plunged into a third lockdown. Thousands of exam taking students were put in limbo and the virus was given a field day in classrooms across the country.
As 2021 settled in, Matt Hancock was found to have acted “unlawfully” over the handing out of COVID contracts by a high court, COVID was still flowing within Britain’s borders and the UK held the status of having the highest COVID death toll of any European country.
The Government refused to take action against Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, even though she oversaw police officers brutally harass people simply paying respects to the tragically murdered Sarah Everard at a vigil. And a formal investigation into the Greensill scandal commenced as a result of reports stating that former PM, David Cameron lobbied the Government to receive COVID loans.
Our NHS staff who were working themselves to the bone received a truly astonishing 1% pay rise, regardless of the fact that they were earning £2500 less in real terms than they did in 2010. The people who the Government stood and applauded in 2020 were overseeing this.
Moving to April and Johnson was met with serious allegations…
Last autumn, while hundreds of people were dying of COVID every day, Johnson was quoted allegedly saying that he would rather “let the bodies pile high” than allow another lockdown. If true, that was nothing short of an utter disgrace by the man tasked with protecting our lives.
Let’s not forget his £200K Downing Street flat refurb, a refurb that Johnson insisted he paid for himself before the House of Commons. This was investigated by the Electoral Commission with their findings in December stating that the Tory Party broke electoral rules to come up with the money. Johnson knowingly lied to the Commons, thus breaking the Ministerial Code. Add that to the list.
Disgraced former Johnson aid, Dominic Cummings gave testimony before Parliament, in which he himself said that “tens of thousands died who didn’t need to die” during the pandemic while stating that at the start of it, Johnson “regarded this as just a scare story, he described it as the new swine flu.” Fitting in fairly well with Johnson’s early reliance on herd immunity as a COVID-handling strategy.
Another less-than-desirable two months for the Government followed as it was revealed that Health Secretary Matt Hancock had a COVID-rule breaking affair in his office on May 6th, ignoring social-distancing guidance in possibly one of the least COVID-safe ways you could imagine. Following Johnson accepting a personal apology from Hancock, the Health Secretary remained in post… until his resignation the next day. Again, “less than desirable”.
July started with a shock defeat for the Tories in the Batley & Spen by-election, putting egg on the media’s faces, the bookies’ faces and most importantly, George Galloway’s face. This defeat proved that Government scandals such as the law-breaking Hancock affair have their consequences.
Shortly after this result Rob Roberts, part of the Tories’ 2019 intake, who had been found of sexual harassment, was allowed to re-join the House of Commons, following his measly six week suspension…Roberts remains in the House of Commons as a result of Tory fear over a by-election in Roberts’ North Wales constituency of Delyn and has been readmitted as a Conservative Party member as of October.
A Tory manifesto promise was then broken when the Government heartlessly cut foreign aid to some of the poorest people on Earth who are bearing the brunt of the pandemic. We can also reminisce about when Johnson and Sunak signed up to a new and exclusive ”pilot scheme” to avoid having to self-isolate after coming into contact with a COVID-positive person, only to U-Turn when faced with justified anger? Another example of the Tory principle of ‘One rule for them, another for us’ in action, a running theme throughout the year.
Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab had a lovely time on holiday, so much so that as the Afghanistan withdrawal was commencing and the Taliban had regained control of the nation, they both decided to stay abroad during the humanitarian crisis. In the end, Boris tragically had to cut his holiday short to return to Westminster so he could do his job… this lasted for less than a month before he went on holiday yet again.
As conference season came around, the £20 Universal Credit uplift, vital for poverty-stricken families devastated by the pandemic was ripped away, leaving many people across Britain facing a bleak winter ahead. Then of course, the Government introduced their National Insurance hike, disloyal to their 2019 manifesto once again.
There were shortages of fuel - causing panicked Britons to queue for hours to top up their cars, shortages on shops’ shelves and shortages of labour & HGV drivers, leading the Government to resort to pleading for EU citizens to lend help and become HGV drivers.
As winter closed in, Johnson marked the occasion by venturing on his third holiday since the start of August. Meanwhile, the Government blocked the banning of the practice of ‘Fire and Rehire’, tactics that “shame business” (Jacob Rees Mogg, March 26th).
Fast forward to the end of October and a certain Owen Paterson, MP for North Shropshire was found guilty of an “egregious case of paid advocacy” by the Parliamentary Standards committee as a consequence of lobbying the Government for a COVID contract to be awarded to Randox, an employer of his.
An attempt by the Tory Party to change the Parliamentary Standards committee to save Paterson from a 6 week suspension was met with fury by the opposition, the media and the British public - an attempted Government U-Turn the next day was blocked and Paterson resigned. The sleaze saga had done its damage and the Tory polling lead had vanished.
The Government’s endeavour to represent the nation well on the world stage while climate conference COP26 was being held in Glasgow went south after Johnson took an aeroplane back to London after making his speech. That’s Global Britain showing its professionalism for the world to see.
November also saw the Government scrap its election pledge to build Northern Powerhouse Rail, leading many to the conclusion that the 2019 Tory manifesto is the least funny joke book that ever existed.
December could only be described as a flaming car crash for a Government still licking its wounds from the Paterson saga. Just as the party began to slightly recover from their approval sink, they were hit with the force of a JCB tractor - ‘partygate’.
As millions across Britain in 2020 were cancelling their Christmas plans, a party was held in Number 10 Downing Street, and the Prime Minister’s own advisers were filmed joking about it. They were laughing at you, laughing that they had the privilege to break the law while you bore the brunt of COVID restrictions.
The video spread like wildfire, angering millions across the UK overnight and over the coming week. The millions who cancelled those Christmas plans after Johnson previously called such a thing “inhuman”.
Eyes were opened and this was the final straw for millions, Labour have opened up a 7% lead in the polls, Boris Johnson is currently the most disliked Prime Minister of the 21st Century and the Tories lost one of their safest seats in Britain to the Lib Dems amidst a flurry of anti-Tory tactical voting returning.
People have had enough and after two and a half years of being lied to and being worn down following Tory scandal after Tory scandal, who could blame them? It’s just a shame that it took this long.
Disclaimer: All views expressed in this piece belong solely to the author and do not reflect the views of Demographica Limited as a company.
Will is a Sixth Form student who uses his platform on Twitter (@willgeorgelloyd) to inform his followers about Electoral & General Political News and Opinion.