Well, it’s been another sequence of days leaving us spoilt for choice when it comes to highlighting yet again just how detached so many of our elected representatives are from me and thee. I suppose it makes sense to start at the top and work our way down, even if the top is a pretty lowly starting point to begin with where this lot are concerned. Okay, so the bad smell that is both Boris Johnson and the legacy of his No.10 tenure continues to infect headlines with the news that the former PM has been referred to Knacker re claims he broke lockdown rules during the pandemic; yes, it might feel like this is merely a re-boot of an over-familiar franchise, but it’s one story that thankfully keeps re-emerging every time the guilty try and sweep it under the carpet, and it won’t do any harm to be regularly reminded of what was going on in the Covid-free zones inhabited by the Cabinet while the rest of us were under house-arrest. The moment we neglect to remember is the moment we let them get away with it.
Scotland Yard has justified its latest perusal of the Ministerial diary by declaring, ‘We are in receipt of information from the Cabinet Office passed to us on 19 May 2023, which we are currently assessing. It relates to potential breaches of the Health Protection Regulations between June 2020 and May 2021 at Downing Street.’ Thames Valley Police have also got in on the act, as Boris is alleged to have received visitors at Chequers during the same time frame. Nothing new there, then; but further material for the investigation into Boris’s lockdown shindigs for the Commons Privileges Committee, I suppose. The justifiable anger that greeted the initial revelations of these always warrants being rekindled, even if the element of surprise is long gone; after all, nobody expects anything better of Ministers anymore. The lockdown party scandal was perhaps the most extreme example of how they evidently regard themselves as superior beings too high and mighty to abide by rules they impose on the plebs; yet this week so far has been dominated by another potent example of this – the Suella Braverman speeding saga.
As we know, the Home Secretary was caught speeding last summer when she was still Attorney General. Her privileged position clearly entitled her to special treatment, or so she imagined, allegedly asking Home Office civil servants to assist her in avoiding acquiring points on her licence. According to the Sunday Times, Ms Braverman tried to organise a one-to-one driving awareness course, something that would prevent her having to attend the usual ‘group therapy’ course ordinary motorists/mortals are dispatched to as an alternative to points on their licences. Having known a couple of people who’ve attended these, I’ve been told they’re not exactly fun days out on a par with Alton Towers; a dozen unlucky strangers are sealed in an air-tight vault for hours, humiliated and lectured in a condescending manner as though they’d just passed their test and know next to nothing about driving. It’s not difficult to understand why someone inhaling the rarefied air of high office like Suella Braverman might try her damndest to wriggle out of the whole embarrassing episode. However, when the one-to-one proposal was rejected, the Home Secretary’s aides then apparently tried to arrange an online equivalent whereby Braverman would hide her identity to prevent the story leaking out. In the end, she was forced to accept three points on her licence.
Braverman – who, it has to be said, is something of a repeat offender when it comes to breaking the Ministerial code – is still clinging on at the Home Office, awaiting the judgement of Rishi, rather than falling on her sword; her one-time Cabinet colleague Dominic Raab, on the other hand, has opted to bow out with as much grace as he can muster, announcing this week he’ll be standing down as an MP come the next General Election. One suspects that when he departs there won’t be a moist eye in the House. His downfall – much like the relegation to the backbenches of another leftover from the Boris era, Gavin Williamson – was due to bullying allegations, a factor viewed by the opposition as further evidence of this administration’s rotten core. Labour’s habit of selling itself as the honest alternative – demonstrated yet again by Suella Braverman’s opposite number Yvette Cooper staging a master-class in self-righteous indignation in the Commons when pressing the Home Secretary for the truth – can be a risky game to play, however; it requires maintaining a whiter-than-white public image that makes big demands on those involved and means when the facade of integrity invariably slips, the accusations of hypocrisy ring louder than when a Party of whom we expect nothing less than endemic double standards are similarly found out.
Rachel Reeves, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, was this week caught letting the holier-than-thou side down by tweeting a pic of her BA ticket en route to New York, a ticket revealing she was sat in the airline’s exclusive £4,000+ Club World Business Class suite; the tweet may have been deleted with as much speed as Emily Thornberry removed her sneering ‘white van’ tweet a few years back, but as we all know, once it’s out there it’s out there for good. After accusing members of the Government of enjoying a ‘five-star luxury lifestyle’ on their numerous overseas jollies in the thick of a ‘cost-of-living crisis’, a leading Labour figure not flying economy class – which we surely expect of our noble puritan warriors – comes across as just a little bit hypocritical. Yes, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly’s use of a £10,000 private jet whilst touring the Caribbean and Latin America is more like it; that’s just the kind of extravagance the wicked old Tories should be indulging in at the expense of the taxpayer; but an MP from the Labour Party flying on a ticket that entitles her to a private lounge at the airport, keeping her safely separated from the smelly old salt-of-the-earth whose interests she and her Party are fighting for? Hard to comprehend, isn’t it.
And as Rachel Reeves tucked into her braised Welsh leg of lamb along with potato au gratin and minted peas as well as smoked salmon and apricot soufflé with vanilla custard and a cheeseboard accompanied by fig chutney – all washed down with a bottle of premium champagne – one wonders what her Labour colleague, Angela ‘Thingle Mother’ Rayner would’ve made of it all; she’s the one who accused the PM of ‘jetting around the country on taxpayers’ money like an A-list celeb’ whilst ‘families up and down the country are sick with anxiety about whether their pay cheque will cover the weekly shop’. A member of the Labour frontbench should naturally exist on a diet of bread & dripping and make their way to any function by horse-and-cart – that’s a given. Or, alternately, they could dispense with any pretence to being at one with the wider electorate and simply admit they belong to a separate political class, emphasising their true metropolitan credentials by adhering to an insane ideology nobody beyond Guardianista circles buys into whatsoever.
That’s what Lib Dem leader Ed Davey did this week, adding his name to the impressive roll-call of Honourable Members jostling for the right to be the most out-of-touch Parliamentarian when it comes to those whose votes they’ll be courting again a year or so from now. On an LBC phone-in, the man who clearly fancies his chances of ‘doing a Clegg’ next time round declared that women can ‘quite clearly’ have a penis; perhaps his missus is hiding something from us or maybe he’s just riding the latest convenient bandwagon with a fair few passengers already weighing it down on campus. Disregarding the blatant abuse of the naive appeasement of a tiny minority by Scottish paedophiles and other brickies in drag who fancy venturing into the few safe spaces remaining to half of the natural-born population, Sir Ed hardly gave floating voters who are desperate for an alternative to the shower of shit running the show much in the way of confidence. These are your options, folks. Good luck.
© The Editor
3 thoughts on “THEM AND US”
Great article that highlights the ongoing issues with some of our elected representatives, and the need to hold them accountable for their actions.
founder of balance thy life https://balancethylife.com
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There are common threads in all these ‘scandals’, first is the infantile naivety that they won’t be found out and exposed – you can barely fart quietly in private these days without the act being recorded and replayed for someone else’s political advantage. If they’ve not worked this out by now, maybe they shouldn’t be in such jobs for that reason alone.
The second facet is the triviality of them – in the overall scheme of total spending on political and governmental activities, whether or not one person blagged a £4,000 flight or another one sought to reduce the personal pain of a boring speeding course pales into insignificance when set against the major issues on which they should really be focused or allowed to focus.
That some folk in government enjoyed a few ‘illicit’ moments during the Covid farce should be no surprise – yet none of them died from Covid, so perhaps it belatedly offers a real-world perspective on the efficacy of all those ridiculous and illiberal controls. I guess that most of us wandered across the line on occasions, I know I did more than once and I didn’t die from Covid either.
Most of these reports only arise because someone has an agenda, enabling them to use whatever devices they can as weapons against their chosen target. The sources may be individuals, political opponents or disobliging officials: whatever their motivation, they also create distraction from the real national issues which should be addressed. If we’re happy to judge our leaders by tabloid scoops, that’s fine, I for one would rather judge them on their policies and performance.
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There’s no doubt there’s a definite race to locate the next-big-political-scandal at the moment, just as there’s an ongoing and simultaneous search for the next-big-panic in the post-pandemic Project Fear agenda. The MSM has worked out what sells and is understandably eager to keep the ball rolling. Even so, with each one under the spotlight, I feel there’s a starting point that accutely highlights the differences between Us and Them.
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