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That Party

December 9, 2021

I can’t resist adding my tuppence-worth to the million words flying around about The Party (or parties) and its fallout.

First, I’m prepared to give Allegra Stratton the benefit of the doubt after the infamous mock press conference video was released. To me, she seemed embarrassed rather than amused. When people are embarrassed, they often laugh. It seemed as though she wasn’t expecting the question. If she had been, she surely would have checked “the story” with her masters in advance of the rehearsal. In other words, she was blindsided.

Doubly awkward for her, she knew that the session was being recorded. Therefore she improvised, and not very well. Once the video was released, she knew she was toast. Whether or not she waited to be asked to resign, she knew that the end was nigh. A convenient scapegoat. I feel sorry for her.

Second, the Metropolitan Police have declined to investigate, citing lack of evidence and a convenient policy not to investigate breaches of the COVID regulations retrospectively. As many people have since pointed out, it’s the job of the police to investigate alleged offences. In this case, the evidence should be easy to find in the form of visitor logs for 10, Downing Street. If most of the attendees were working at Number Ten, count the number of people already in the house, add the visitors and divide by the number of rooms.

Third, if an investigation is to be carried out by the Civil Service, it should be done by somebody who was demonstrably not at any of the alleged parties. Therefore, in the light of allegations that the person tasked with the investigation – Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary – was at one of the parties, that person should not be Simon Case. If I was the Cabinet Secretary, whether or not the allegations were true, I would stand aside from the process on the basis that Caesar’s wife should be above suspicion.

Better still, since civil servants were alleged to be at the parties, the investigation should be carried out by a member of the judiciary. This is not to impugn the integrity of the Civil Service, but to maintain both the actuality and the appearance of impartiality.

Too many people embroiled in this affair, from the Prime Minister to the Civil Service and the Metropolitan Police, have much to gain from suppressing a genuine, thorough inquiry into what took place in November and December last year. Mainly their jobs and reputations. If the allegations are false, so be it. But they must be shown to be false through an unimpeachable process. Otherwise, given the current national obsession, especially across the social media, with cover-ups and conspiracies, this story will never go away. And since it’s spread way beyond the social media into the wider population, it will further enhance the disillusionment, shared by many, not just opponents of the government, with politics and politicians.

Boris Johnson may ride out this crisis, because turkeys, in the form of ministers and members of parliament who owe him their jobs, are unlikely to vote for Christmas, unless they see the possibly that next Christmas they will be end up trussed and stuffed. And voters, other than those who lost loved ones around the time of those alleged parties, might chose to have short memories. As long as Boris’ balloon keeps afloat, they might decide to disregard the evidence that he’s a lying charlatan and vote for him again. After all, Donald Trump, the Pussy-Grabber-in-Chief, only narrowly failed to be re-elected last year.

I have no secret sources or friends of friends, but which ever way it goes, I can’t see this story ending well.

From → Politics, UK, USA

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