15th January 2022
Hard ‘at work’ in the Downing St garden, May 2020
The news this week has been dominated by narcissists trying to wriggle off the hook. In Australia, tennis star, Novak Djokovic, has been wrangling with the immigration authorities about his vaccination status, or rather his entitlement to an exemption, given his widely known anti-vaccination views.
Djokovic is aiming to win his tenth Australian open and surpass the world record by recording his 21st Grand Slam, remarkable achievements by any measure, but not ones which entitle him to be treated differently to the average Australian citizen. Australia in general, and Melbourne in particular, has seen some of the most severe lockdown restrictions during the pandemic and many are justifiably outraged that Djokovic is trying to flaunt the rules and trade on his status.
The Australian government have finally seen sense and withdrawn Djokovic’s visa, an action which should send a message to anyone in the sports and entertainment world that fame should not be an assumption of entitlement. Nevertheless, the Serb’s legal team are launching a final appeal which may yet take the saga into early next week.
The British national embarrassment which is the Royal Family compounded its anachronistic status this week with the Queen being compelled to strip her son, Prince Andrew, of a slew of military honours and to withdraw use of his His Royal Highness (HRH) status. Quite what the Prince had done to accumulate his military accolades is a moot point. Given a life of sponging off the hard earned taxes of the working class, which continue to bankroll the pampered lifestyle of the aristocracy, it is hard to see what useful purpose Andrew and his retinue serve.
Without any real purpose, and no challenge to earn a living, the Prince has indulged himself as an international playboy, using his royal status as a passport to the closed world of the rich and famous. Whether Andrew is guilty of sex trafficking or sex with children will be for the US courts to decide but, whatever the outcome of the case brought against him, associating with criminals of the nature of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell shows, at the very least, poor judgement.
The Prince’s legal team have jumped through every possible hoop to prevent the case coming to court, all of which gives off the smell of something rotten being hidden. Another narcissist, another week of squirming and months more ahead.
Then there is serial liar and narcissist in charge of the British government, Boris Johnson. It is becoming increasingly difficult to enumerate with any brevity the catalogue of lies, misdirections and disasters which characterise Johnson’s premiership. Not long after the official pandemic death toll in the UK passed 150,000 it turns out that Johnson and his cronies have been cavorting around the garden at 10, Downing St, enjoying the “lovely weather” while others could not visit dying relatives.
To date at least 13 parties have been identified as having taken place at Downing St when lockdown rules covered the rest of the country. Johnson’s miserable excuse for an apology, that he stumbled upon a ‘works event’ on 20th May, with his fiancé, stayed for 25 minutes then went back to work in his Downing St office is paper thin. In any event, stumbling upon 30 people boozing in your back garden when you were only allowed to meet one person outdoors should have elicited a slightly different response, whether or not the boozing was ‘work related’.
The Metropolitan Police, the ones who famously do not investigate past illegal acts, no wonder their reputation is in tatters, are awaiting the outcome of PM appointed bureaucrat Sue Gray’s investigation before deciding whether to act. Tory MPs are similarly sitting on their hands, waiting for the outcome of Gray’s report before deciding which way to jump, though their local parties may be sending them a more robust message.
Most bizarrely, Boris Johnson is awaiting the outcome of Gray’s pontification, before deciding how badly he or his staff may have behaved and whose head may have to roll as a consequence. Martin Reynolds, the bureaucrat who sent out the e mail invite to the infamous 20th May party, looks like his punishment will be an ambassadorship in the Middle East. That will top up his Civil Service pension nicely no doubt.
While the noise around parties and personalities continued the real judgement on the government’s monumental pandemic money laundering operation sneaked out almost unnoticed. The billions of pounds worth of contracts awarded through the VIP fast lane during the pandemic, many to Tory friends, donors or associates was deemed illegal in the High Court.
An estimated 32 billion items of PPE, worth in the region of £14 billion, were bought through VIP fast lane contracts to companies given preferential treatment due to their political connections. To add insult to injury, many of the materials supplied by these companies were unsuitable for use in the NHS or were defective.
Jo Maugham, Director of the Good Law Project, one of the companies which brought the case commented,
“Never again should any government treat a public health crisis as an opportunity to enrich its associates and donors at public expense.”
Dancing in the dark at parties in Downing St is just the tip of an iceberg. Lurking beneath the surface is the real world of the political establishment, a closed world of back handers and back scratching, which keep the pampered and privileged in their positions and makes sure that it is the rest of us who pay.
Johnson’s error, and the reason why his head may be on the block as Tory leader, is not that he has departed from the expected norms of his peer group but that he has made this too obvious. There has been too much braggadocio for many beyond his diehard supporters and those on his payroll to defend.
To do this in a pandemic, when people are dying; your inept procurement is increasing the chance that more will die; and you do it while flaunting your own rules by indulging in back garden boozing is beyond the pale.
Johnson clearly has to go but his departure will only lance a boil, it will not cut out the cancer. The political establishment in Britain truly is rotten to the core, however much they try to mask or masquerade. Getting to the root will take time but the reality is gradually being exposed and the need for fundamental change will resurface. The Left must continue to make that case and continue to argue for a system which works to the benefit of the many, not the few.