It’s hard not to agree with Lord Finkelstein who writes in The Times today. The culture emerging seems to be in part “Rules didn’t apply to us” and in part “Keep shtum, nobody needs to know.”. The latter has succeeded as a tactic for eighteen months which raises questions in itself. There were clearly many parties and many attendees but only now has anyone spoken out. So the overriding behaviour has been omertà.
What the sorry story tells us is that Johnson’s behaviour is symbolised by that Party Political broadcast at the time of the 2019 election with him driving a bulldozer labelled “Get Brexit Done” through a wall. To put it politely this was not a cerebral pitch.
History tells us that populist politicians with single minded goals cut corners – and some! The ends justify the means always. As Ministers try to defend Johnson they weakly tell of his “successes” – Brexit and the management of the pandemic. That the former, as it has been imposed on us, has been an unmitigated disaster isn’t mentioned. That the latter has resulted in a staggering number of fatalities neither.
The combination of mendacity, failed governance and incompetence is unprecedented in our modern history. “Partygate” hints at the singular cause – no doubt many were blameworthy but the buck stopped on only one desk.