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It’s time for Boris to go He has served his purpose — and taken us all for fools

Bye mate (Leon Neal/Getty Images)


January 9, 2022   4 mins

We used to call it the TD at school. And it was a terribly effective strategy: total denial. No matter what evidence they have on you, even if caught red-handed, just TD it.

A teacher saw you coming out of The Crown. He wasn’t even on the other side of the street, but right there in front of you as you walked out of the pub. He reported it to your house master, who called you through into his study. Just TD it. Give no ground. “But Mr O’Hanrahan saw you as broad as day,” he says. Look them in the eye and say with total assurance: “Nope, sorry, it wasn’t me.” If you can find some way to believe in your own words, so much the better.

Forget our post-truth era. Boorish public schoolboys have been at this for generations. The school authorities didn’t quite know what to do with the TD. And nor does the former Director of Public Prosecutions, for that matter.

On the matter of Downing Street Christmas parties, Boris is doing a classic TD. It’s my party and I’ll lie if I want to. Everyone knows what he is up to. But there is always just a little anxiety when you say something like the word “lie”, especially in print. Can you soften it a bit, comes many an editor’s cautious reply? Just say it a little differently. That’s why the TD is so effective. It bludgeons people into submission.

This situation is not complicated. Christmas parties were not allowed. They were illegal and people were fined for holding them — yet they clearly had one at Number Ten. It makes no difference if the social distancing rules were kept. The Prime Minister has now ordered an inquiry into the matter, which is very strange. Who needs to have a high-level inquiry into whether a party took place in your own house?

It’s not just that he broke the rules; he broke the rules that he himself had made. One rule for them, another rule for everyone else. On the very same day that Boris’s mates were knocking back the mulled wine, there were people out in the country who were being denied the opportunity of holding the hand of a dying relative because they were keeping the rules. One day, this will bring him down. Like at Belshazzar’s feast, the writing is on the wall. Mene, mene, tekel, upharshin.

The leaked footage of Allegra Stratton, the then Press Secretary to the Prime Minister, chuckling to herself at the ridiculousness of trying to defend the patently indefensible was the final straw. You could see the TD being formulated in real time. “Err, err, what’s the answer?” she asks around at fellow aides, looking completely stumped. “I don’t know,” says one. “It wasn’t a party, it was a cheese and wine,” says another. But the TD only works when it is rock solid. This TD is now broken, exposed, busted. It’s one thing for a 16-year-old schoolboy to do it. It’s quite another for the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

It’s often the things we like about our politicians that bring them down. Tony Blair’s belief that he could do anything was hugely attractive, right up until the point when he invaded Iraq, his can-do attitude slipping over into a monstrous kind of hubris. With Boris, many of us warmed to the merrie England Cavalier. We were all in on the joke. And those who weren’t were Puritan kill-joys, the grim faced ranks of Labour moralists, always shouty-angry, always wagging their fingers. Who’d want to party with them anyway? That’s the perpetual problem of the Left: a preference for morality over joy.

Still, it’s totally fitting that Boris will be brought down by a party. I will always be grateful to him for pushing Brexit though. And there was much to appreciate in parts of his Covid response, particularly the fast roll-out of the vaccine. Credit where it is due. But the party is over. Even your own supporters don’t believe you, Boris. You can hear it in the voice of every Conservative wheeled out to defend you. When the TD crumbles, everyone around is left exposed. You have taken us all for fools. It’s time to go.

Boris’s apology for his Press Secretary’s behaviour only highlighted his leadership failure. In the world of our Prime Minister, it’s always the fault of someone else, someone junior. And so, surprise, surprise, Allegra Stratton has been thrown under the bus. How long can Boris expect to rely upon colleagues if he treats them like this? And how long will they keep on trying to defend him in public when their efforts are so transparently risible to everyone else?

The Conservative Party needs new leadership, because things are only going to get worse as trust continues to decompose. And the next election is only getting closer. Many in the party believe that Boris is a proven election winner and that it would be madness to come over all January 1649 right now and, as it were, do the Puritans job for them. But the leader of the Cavillers has now been found out and swift action is necessary.

The Tory Party has a ruthless genius for re-invention. Now is the time to cut out the lies and find some honourable new leadership. Boris has served his purpose. So it should act soon to get ahead of a downward curve. Sell, sell, sell. Certainly, it will be more lucrative to do so now than in a year or so.

At Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, Keir Starmer was right to remind us of that photograph of the Queen sitting alone at the end of a pew at her husband’s funeral in Windsor. That is what leadership looks like: to share in the situation of the people that you seek to lead.

That, by the way, is the reason for the incarnation, for Christmas. God shares in the human condition — however hard, whatever the suffering. That is what a Christmas party should be celebrating. The Queen gives us servant-hearted leadership. But for Boris, leadership is entitlement. It’s time for him to go.


Giles Fraser is a journalist, broadcaster and Vicar of St Anne’s, Kew.

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Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago

I would attack Boris for having an 80 seat majority and failing to articulate a conservative vision for the country. I would attack him for not yet providing thought through policies, and budgets, for the levelling up agenda. I would attack him for messing round the edges of the culture war rather than taking it on. I would attack him for surrounding himself with the second rate (including, and perhaps most of all, spouse).

My real disgust though is reserved for the commentariat. I saw Kay Burley frothing at the mouth about this party yesterday. She who held a 60th birthday party at the height of the restrictions.

The contemptible slime, that passed for journalists at yesterday’s press briefing, failed to ask one single question about Omicron and the new restrictions. Led by Beth Rigby (who was at the party mentioned above) they focussed entirely on a party held 12 months ago.

It wasn’t Boris, and definitely not Whitty or Vallance, who had me shouting at the TV last night.

Philip L
Philip L
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Whitty was stood next to a chart of obviously falling hospitalisations and deaths while simultaneously demanding we chuck another Christmas in the bin.
I couldn’t shout either. I was speechless.

Martin Bollis
MB
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Philip L

Fair point. I sort of accepted the argument that “the new one seems to be more contagious and less deadly, but we haven’t enough evidence of either yet; while we don’t know some of the milder measures seem prudent, just in case.”

In hindsight, too foregiving on that point, but once the journalists started rational analysis departed.

Iris C
Iris C
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Covid was largely only deadly for those with underlying life-threatening illnesses. i.e. 1% of our population.
It is a fact of life (ignored this year) for the elderly to die as the young are born.

Martin Goodwin
Martin Goodwin
2 years ago
Reply to  Iris C

And it’s a fact of life that the elderly want to make the most of what time is left to us. I’m 75,and this govt. has taken that freedom away.

Julian Townsend
Julian Townsend
2 years ago
Reply to  Iris C

Because the over-75s are the core Tory vote.So they must be kept alive!

Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

And will we now need to be prudent for every virus strain that is not proven to be dangerous, just on the off chance? Heck, it is only businesses that are going bust, people that are being pushed into poverty, and people who are having lifesaving treatments and health testing delayed.

Tony Conrad
TC
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

There are some who think that Omicron signals the end of the pandemic and could be a blessing in disguise. If one does end up in hospital the average stay is 2.8 days as opposed to 9.8 for Delta.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 years ago
Reply to  Philip L

Malter Whitty is a creepy, sinister and spine chillingly ghastly little man

Jeremy Bray
JB
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Well put, although Philip Wand makes a good point. The journalists failed to investigate something that affects us all and concentrated their fire on relative trivia.

Brian Burnell
Brian Burnell
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Nothing new there then.

Charles Lawton
CL
Charles Lawton
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

The problem is simple, as reported in the FT earlier, Mr Johnson pushed Plan B forward as a distraction and wrong footed the Cabinet and his party. Many Cabinet members (and Tory MPs) are furious about plan B being used as a smokescreen when dealing with “The Party” with a swift apology last week would have been far better. However, as Giles says TD is an effective tool but the Journalists are having none of that. Can you blame them?

William MacDougall
William MacDougall
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Lawton

The “furious cabinet members” should have resigned in protest. Would have set themselves up well to be Johnson’s replacement, as well as being the right thing to do…

Charles Lawton
Charles Lawton
2 years ago

Given the lack of talent in the current cabinet, there is always the danger of say Jeremy Hunt becoming leader and then they will all be on the back benches. Now Brexit is done there is no need for the Tories to restrict their choice to a Brexiteer anymore.

Mark Gourley
Mark Gourley
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Lawton

Yes, Jeremy Hunt should have been leader in the first place (I voted for him in the leadership election.)

Hosias Kermode
Hosias Kermode
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Lawton

Hmmm. Northern Ireland still to be resolved. At some point we are going to have to ditch Article 16 to be truly free. And we need a tax cutter and someone capable of reducing and localising the state

Francis MacGabhann
FM
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

Well, you COULD ditch NI? Be the ultimate revenge on the Paddies — we don’t want them either 😉

Helen Moorhouse
Helen Moorhouse
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Lawton

Don’t underestimate the value of Boris. He’s our best hope to avoid authoritarian government. Those pressing to get rid of him are more concerned that they can’t force him into vaccine mandates than joie de vivre in Downing Street. It is a ploy and it is naïve of the rest of us to miss the game plan.

Paul Smithson
PO
Paul Smithson
2 years ago

I don’t quite understand the number of thumbs down. I despise Johnson and think he is probably the worst PM in history, but I too am worried as to what/who might replace him. We are only a hair’s breadth away from the kind of pseudo-totalitarianism raising it’s head in Austria, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, etc.

Covid alarmists might welcome mandatory jabs and passports, but do they really understand what those things mean and where will most definitely lead. Johnson is far from perfect, but at least so far he hasn’t been as bad as those countries mentioned earlier.

Francis MacGabhann
FM
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

Excellent point — which was worse, the clownish Mussolini, or Hitler, under whom nobody was laughing.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

Actually I agree with that. I’ve sensed him resisting the restrictions all the way along but getting overruled, or bowing to, the collective advice of SAGE and members of his own team, like Cummings for example. I think the sad part is his lack of authoritarian backbone to stick with the Swedish approach we initially had. Mandatory vaccination is the death knell for freedom. Anyone who can’t see that is a fool.

JAX AGNESSON
JA
JAX AGNESSON
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

“There are only two types of person; fools, and those who agree with me??. Is that where you’re going with this?

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Lawton

I saw it more as ‘we’re ignoring the trivial furore and carrying on with business as usual’

Alan Osband
AO
Alan Osband
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Lawton

Giles also told us how he helps failed asylum seekers stay in the UK with ( obviously phoney,insincere ) public conversions to Christianity .

JAX AGNESSON
JAX AGNESSON
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

One of the few genuine uses for religion, IMO

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

It was the same last year when Witty and Valance had the charts showing the infection rate 4 times higher than it was because they used an out of date projection instead of the actual data. Journalists might not be qualified scientists or mathematicians (or anything similar) but they should not be actual morons.

Jean Nutley
Jean Nutley
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

It isn’t the fact that there was a cheese and wine “gathering” that bothers me, nor the subsequent lying about it.
It is the laughing about it that rankles.
I expect politicians to lie, that is their job, to lie to the electorate in order to get elected, usually on pie crust promises.
But to openly laugh, nope, beyond the pale.
My mother died during lockdown, and instead of the family funeral we had all envisaged for her, it was reduced to immediate family only. It was her wish that her grandchildren carried her coffin, and we couldn’t do that either. So for the party goers to laugh about how they almost got away with it shows complete and utter contempt.

Martin Bollis
MB
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Jean Nutley

I lost my brother in law and Dad to it. I watched Dad’s final minutes, and said goodbye, by zoom. That was in November last year, just before we led the world in a vaccine roll out. We still haven’t got a gravestone because the marble comes from Malaysia, which has been subject to lockdown on and off all year.

As Philip pointed out, Chris Witty stood next to a graph of declining hospitalisations and defended further lockdowns. I want journalists to query that

Per another Unherd article today, there is mounting evidence of China’s culpability, I want journalists all over that.

We could apparently model deaths from a completely new disease last year, and we can reduce the infinite complexity of the worlds climate to a model, but there are no models of the impacts of lockdown. I expect journalists to make a fuss about that.

We have all laughed at tasteless jokes at some time. I don’t like it, but it’s a human failing and utterly irrelevant to the real issues. Journalists relentlessly pulling on that emotional chord is what sickens me, not government employees being human in the midst of an unimaginably complex crisis.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Entirely agree.
In any case it was not Boris laughing so I don’t know why this is relevant to an attack on Boris. The laugher’s origins were in the MSM just like the other TV journalists berating Boris despite their own disregard for the rules.
He is a man of humour so probably laughed at some point “inappropriately” but he hasn’t been caught out sinning in this way this time.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

But the point is the target is Boris. The pile-on is for him. The media moguls and their own masters want him out because *maybe he isn’t being compliant enough.*

kathmelia2
kathmelia2
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Yes, the cheap shot emotions line is now a cliché and as such an insult to the bereaved, who are entitled to whatever feelings the have.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Jean Nutley

When I think about how me and my friends and colleagues often deal with serious things in ordinary discussions, humour is often employed, which would look bad if taken out of context. It can be a release valve of stress. It was definitely something not meant for public consumption. I don’t know the ins and outs of the laughing or the parties but I mistrust the media enough to be sceptical about the timing and spin on this story. Frankly to me it’s a non story. I don’t want to know. The only outcome is to create anger and scepticism. If the media are so concerned about Covid and making sure the public DOES follow the rules then this, surely, is the wrong way to go about it. I thought the same about the Cummings Affair. What GOOD did it do except to score political points? Did it help the public in any way? No. People started breaking the rules more. Did it distract the government from where it’s focus should have been, like procuring PPE, and sorting the NHS and vaccine programmes? Probably. So what was the point?

Jean Nutley
JN
Jean Nutley
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

I fully understand humour as being used as a release of tension. Anyone who works for the NHS for forty years as I did, ends up with a very cynical, sometimes dark, SOH. Point taken about contexts, and it is usually a media spin that makes it so bad.

kathmelia2
KM
kathmelia2
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Exactly, spot on. Cummings can stand on his increasingly weird record, but it remains the case that Durham Police found no charge to make. The facts, of course, never get in the way of journalists telling and retelling a story, however tired and hackneyed.

jill dowling
jill dowling
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I’m frothing at the mouth just thinking about Beth Rigby and Kay Burley having the cheek to criticise! My God, they are unbelievable. Glad I didn’t watch it, think the telly might have felt my wrath

Jean Nutley
JN
Jean Nutley
2 years ago
Reply to  jill dowling

True story from the 70’s.
A man in South Africa actually shot his telly, thinking he would injure the politicians that had upset him. TV was new in SA then.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Jean Nutley

I used to wish I could, when the one channel turned to Afrikaans at 8.00pm.

I did once accidentally shoot the settee, which just proved poms shouldn’t own guns.

Jean Nutley
Jean Nutley
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Aah fond memories! Think I can only just about remember how to say good morning in Afrikaans now.

Kevin Dee
Kevin Dee
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

You can can be angry at all of them at once. No need to choose.

Sarah Atkin
SA
Sarah Atkin
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I am glad I am not alone in wondering what the hell is going on in this country with this week-long hysteria/frenzy over an alleged party. Leading the bulletins for an entire week now. Ridiculous. Of course this has been portrayed as a ‘let them eat cake’ moment – possibly it is – but there are more serious things to address at this moment and yes, hold the PM to account for, other than this. The voters will make their own judgement on this party when the time comes.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Atkin

I’ve just put the news on and now it’s all about the wallpaper thing.

I usually try to avoid the conspiracy theory explanations but this is really starting to look orchestrated.

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Of course it is.

kathmelia2
kathmelia2
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Wallpaper thing, such drivel and headlines to boot. In any case it is not Boris Johnson’s flat it is the official residence of the PM and as such it should be kept in good repair and style. And as the Tax payer was bypassed we should be pleased about that.

Tim Bartlett
TB
Tim Bartlett
2 years ago

Looking at some previous comments, it looks like a Guardian like unreality bubble is forming here. The Prime Minister is creating rules he has no intention of following himself. His staff laugh at it all. Furthermore nothing he’s doing makes any sense unless theres an ulterior motive behind it all. The sense of outrage out on the factory floor is 100% real. Sure, we’re all hypocrites to a certain extent but then again we’re not forcing it on the rest of the nation are we?

Ian Stewart
IS
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Tim Bartlett

Check outside your echo chamber, nobody cares except politicos. Just like they didn’t care about Cummings. This is just orgasmic pearl clutching by hypocrites. But it was inevitable in the new Puritan society.

Tim Bartlett
TB
Tim Bartlett
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

I drive a forklift, when I say factory floor I mean it. Don’t get me wrong, Labour are still worse, but Boris is plumbing new depths here.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Tim Bartlett

There’s been no suggestion Boris was at any of these parties or even knew about them. There’s no suggestion either that any of them had Covid. Plus if they’re in the office every day they’re in a bubble already. I know plenty of people who ignored the rules last year because they decided on the level of risk for themselves. And that’s how it should have been from the start. My gripe is that this ‘story’ was sat on by somebody for a year. It was kept in hand. The media don’t care that it undermines public confidence or might lead to more virus spreading. If they were concerned about that then it is surely not in the public interest for this to be a big deal on the factory floor. I wonder how many of the papers had Christmas parties on the quiet? This is an industry that collectively wields as much if not more power than parliament, but without the accountability or scrutiny. No this is all to undermine Boris. They want him out and they’ll keep going til they achieve that. If you were Boris what would YOU do?

kathmelia2
KM
kathmelia2
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Precisely so.

Adrian Maxwell
AM
Adrian Maxwell
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

.We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality – Thomas Macaulay. In modern terms it is the British press.

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Tim Bartlett

It does all feel a bit orchestrated doesn’t it. I just wonder why the media feels the need to undermine the public’s confidence in pandemic risk reduction *if they really believe in it themselves*. What good does it serve? This happened a year ago. If they’ve been sitting on it all this time – why? And that is the question I’d want to ask – whoever it was, why did it take a year to either blow the whistle, or report it? Could it be for political opportunism?

kathmelia2
kathmelia2
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

These are indeed the right questions and journalists worthy of the label should be asking them instead of vainglorious ‘holding to account’, better described as faux outraged muckraking.

JAX AGNESSON
JA
JAX AGNESSON
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

“One cannot hope to bribe or twist
(Thank God!) the British journalist.
But seeing what the man will do
Unbribed, there’s no occasion too.”
I wish I could cite the original poet, but this is from memory, and I can’t find it on’t Interwebs. Any ideas?

Last edited 2 years ago by JAX AGNESSON
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago

Relax, Giles. No PM (that I can recall) has ever resigned because the opposition thought he had done something bad and he agreed with them. That’s not how it works. PMs don’t care about the opinion of the LotO or lefty churchmen, because these people are fools with the worst judgment in the world.
PMs resign in office when they lose the support of the party. That in turn happens when the party thinks they’re an electoral liability.
The parties have different definitions of ‘liability’. For the Tories, it’s incipient likelihood of GE defeat. To Labour, it’s incipient likelihood of GE victory, because victory only comes by selling out, and purity is all.
Boris is much more likely to lose his party’s support over something that matters to real people. The flood of illegals being fetched to this country every day would be an example. So if you want to damage the man and the party that you clearly utterly, viscerally hate, you just keep on gullibly speaking up for illegals-turned-Christians at those tribunals. You just keep on wringing your hands over those poor widdle 35-year-old Syrian children who’ve disappeared inside Britain. You just do everything you can to keep that flood of lying criminals pouring in. Give yourself a big pat on your own back for your virtue.
Eventually, that will do the trick. The staff’s Christmas party? Nah.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jon Redman
Karl Francis
KF
Karl Francis
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Excellent.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago

I am afraid I am going to be lazy and partly recycle a comment I made on another Unherd article:
“The problem is that journalists, who are ignorant about matters of science, think their job is to hold the government to account, so concentrate on trivial but understandable issues that their readers can get stirred up about.
The number of numpties posting comments in the DT, to the effect that Boris must resign because he failed to pay any great attention to whether a bunch of probably lefty civil servants and spads had a non-socially distanced party in Downing Street contrary to the Rules or not and simply took the assurances he had received at face value instead of diverting his time to investigating this world shattering issue, suggests they may be reading their market right.”
No doubt Boris was happy to repeat the assurances he had received while.he could rather than drop his civil servants in it and order a proper investigation earlier, and his obvious refusal to engage with the two journalists hamming up their indignation at the 6.00 pm TV presentation did not look good. No doubt he would have avoided this embarrassment if he had been less keen to rely on the hope that the whole thing would fade away rather than that he had to sack a lot of his staff. The members of the public who asked questions did so on the topic of covid.
Can you blame Boris for wishing not to go all Taliban over his staff doing what plenty of less scrupulous citizens no doubt did. Of course for a lot of youngish fit people the Rules were over the top and provided they took steps not to put those more vulnerable in danger, then all they indulged in was a bit of common or garden hypocrisy – a common enough commodity in politics and indeed in life..
At the end of the day Boris did not attend the party himself and no doubt did not wish to stir things up against his staff, Without the giggly antics of the unimpressive Stratton being revealed the whole thing could have been smothered. He would not have been much of a boss if he didn’t try to cover for his staff while he could and while he received suitable assurances that all was kosher, whether he believed them or not.
A piece of confected outrage, but who knows it might be enough to encourage the Brutus and Cassius’s in the party to plunge the daggers in.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

So apparently ‘everyone knows what he is up to ‘ . You have no doubts about the matter He is telling lies .
How different to your attitude to illegal migrants who use fake public conversion as a tool to avoid being deported .Or do you know they too are frauds using you to help them break the law but are happy to go along with it ?
Should we give you the ‘benefit of doubt ‘ or not in this matter of colluding with law breakers who may even be terrorists.
( sorry should have put this as a reply to Giles Fraser )

Last edited 2 years ago by Alan Osband
Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

On the subject in question, do you actually believe Boris is an habitual truth teller? There are just so many examples to the contrary, including the dithering and dissembling about whether Christmas could go ahead last year.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

The rich and powerful don’t stick to the rules quite as religiously as the rest of us.

Good grief, when did this start happening?

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Andrew Fisher is apparently unaware of this phenomenon, or just another hypocritical pearl clutcher.

Christine Thomas
Christine Thomas
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

.ore to the pint the rich and powerful have some kind of immunity to being investigated and punished if found guilty. Ask the Metropolitan Police for further elucidation of this ruling principle.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

‘Boris the liar’ is a political trope . It clearly partly derives from his ‘womanising ‘ which usually necessitates a certain amount of obfuscation and indeed he is on record as denying an extra-marital affair .
However few believe sexual infidelity precludes a career in politics and his having been unfaithful to a spouse doesn’t mean he isn’t being truthful about some Xmas party he didn’t attend . ..

David Barnett
David Barnett
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

There was a time – not that long ago -when sexual infidelity WOULD have ended a political career, if it became known.

Martin Brumby
MB
Martin Brumby
2 years ago
Reply to  David Barnett

Yes.
Look no further than John Profumo.
It is tempting to wonder if many of our Beloved Leaders are now playing a game (a bit like ‘marmalade’ bingo), just how blatantly ridiculous can their statements be before everyone cracks up laughing.
Except that this is the very opposite of a laughing matter.
No, not the entirely predictable hypocracy of holding parties whilst the plebs can’t comfort their dying mothers. Hardly surprising from those with a sense of entitlement bigger than a Brontosaurus.
Climate “Emergency” and “Ruinable” Energy.
“Lockdown” with NO cost / benefit analysis and claiming that the incompetent scum like Ferguson and Michie are “THE SCIENCE”.

Last edited 2 years ago by Martin Brumby
D Glover
D Glover
2 years ago
Reply to  David Barnett

In the good old days it just didn’t become known. Nobody published the truth about David Lloyd George because the establishment didn’t wash dirty linen in public.
Nowadays the public have ever looser morals but the media are ever more censorious. Strange.

alan Osband
alan Osband
2 years ago
Reply to  David Barnett

It would have at least spared us having an air-head Sloane running the country . What happened to the ambition to become a decorator girls like Carrie used to have .

Christine Thomas
CT
Christine Thomas
2 years ago
Reply to  David Barnett

And being Catholic would have prevented one from having a parliamentary career at one time. Strange world, politics.

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Dithering is not the same as lying.

Andrew Fisher
AF
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Boris in fact quite notably does NOT show any loyalty to his staff, rather evidenced by his invitation to the police to investigate them! He hasn’t an ounce of integrity, nor shows any leadership, on almost any issue.

Jeremy Bray
JB
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

I am certainly not arguing that Boris is a man of unbending rectitude and integrity and that you could rely on him to fight your corner come what may. I am not seeking to diminish his many character faults. What I am saying is that it is clearly not a resignation issue. It is simply a means for journalists to try to stir the public up into a lather of faux moral outrage. He has done what any boss might do but clearly doesn’t want to die in the ditch with them if the line can’t be held.
If you have read other comments I have posted on Unherd you will know I am not a Boris fan boy and if a better replacement were available willing to push through conservative policies I would have no difficulty seeing him defenestrated.
l am simply exasperated at the hypocrisy of the journalists who may have attended illegal gatherings themselves, and would certainly seek to mute any criticism of a colleague who had done so if they had not, seeking to suggest Boris’s manoeuvres on this are significant high crimes and misdemeanours worth repeated questioning about when they should have concentrated their attention on the actual issue in hand – the justification for further restrictions.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jeremy Bray
Judy Englander
Judy Englander
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

It reminds me of the American liberal establishment’s non-stop attempts to defenestrate Trump through confected Russian conspiracies.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Agreed. His demise is of course inevitable as it is for all political leaders, and as premature as expected given his chaotic approach – and apposite, as the writer says, for denying having a party.
And once he’s gone, we can all look forward to the new Puritan society.

Jacqueline Burns
Jacqueline Burns
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Presumably, from his background, Mr Fraser would DEFINITELY not go along with Puritanism!

Ian Stewart
IS
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Yes he’s the personification of evil and you can prove it!

Iris C
Iris C
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Only the police can act if a law is broken

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

I completely agree

Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago

Such disrespect for the whole nation, ie. making rules for others but not bothering to follow them youself, demands more than just a request for the primeminister to resign.

Even if it was an isolated incident it would be bad, but now it seems there was more.

The Week writes “Conservative Party staff danced and drank wine late into the night at another ‘raucous’ party last December” and “Senior advisers and officials working in Downing Street also held a Christmas quiz, which was held while restrictions banned such gatherings.”

Add to the shenanigans of Matt Hancock and other cronies and it makes it clear to see that the British public have been well and truly played.

People should be asking why Johnson et al have been running a massive fear propaganda campaign that masked people up and locked them down, whilst at the same time clearly not worrying in the slightest bit about catching or spreading this killer plague themselves.

Surely, when they have access to the best science advice in the land they’d be locking themselves away safely because they were terrified of dying, or kililng their grandparents.

Or maybe they know things we don’t and so are not in the slightest bit concerned about becoming infected and dying?

It does seem puzzling that those setting the rules are breaking them, as are those scientists, like Neil Fergusson, who are telling everyone ‘you’ll all die and you’ll murder granny if you don’t hide and mask up’.

Surely by now, those who have been asleep for nearly two years, should be waking up and asking a few questions, and demanding some answers, rather than just obediently doing whatever these paragons of virtue say.

Jacqueline Burns
Jacqueline Burns
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

Boris leads the Conservative Party in Parliament. He does not actually control Conservative Party staff!

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
2 years ago

If he can’t control even his own hair, should he be leading anything?
The principle of leading by example holds irrespective of control.

Last edited 2 years ago by Judy Johnson
Christine Thomas
Christine Thomas
2 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Leading by example? Or do you mean leading by making an example of those who don’t follow the rules you lay down for them to follow.

Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago

And there was me thinking he was the leader of the Conservative party, and apparently he can’t even control his own party staff. Good job he has the police to control the rest of us,

Art C
AC
Art C
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

For anyone paying attention, the British public were being played within a month or 2 of the first lockdown back in early 2020. Slimy government officials, sanctimonious journalists, mealy-mouthed left-wingers, virtue-seeking billionaires and sharp businessmen all pivoted to present the facade required by the new reality … and behind the scenes adjusted their lives (and bank balances) so that their own lifestyles could continue uninterrupted.

JAX AGNESSON
JAX AGNESSON
2 years ago
Reply to  Art C

I love this… A sewage pipe of unfocussed adjectival poo from an outraged citizen! More please.

Christine Thomas
Christine Thomas
2 years ago
Reply to  Art C

Seems to me Boris Johnson was the one played most. From time, marked out for it – by the the kind of people whose time frame for calculating benefits is 50 years, for example.

Glyn Reed
Glyn Reed
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

That’s the problem. It’s Downing Street staff – not necessarily Conservatives!

Christine Thomas
CT
Christine Thomas
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

Exactly what puzzled me -from whence came their confidence they were as Immune to covid as they clearly believed they were to law consequences of law breaking? Actually the whole sorry saga of UK politics in recent years Is that no one wants to own up they’ve never heard of Machiavelli or Nietzsche.

Ferrusian Gambit
SS
Ferrusian Gambit
2 years ago

“It’s one thing for a 16-year-old schoolboy to do it. It’s quite another for the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom”

I suppose it’s a dereliction of duty: akin to supporting a mob of anarchist bohemian-parasites to invade and disrupt London’s principle cathedral whilst serving as a dean there.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ferrusian Gambit
David Barnett
David Barnett
2 years ago

It’s principal cathedral. And Giles Fraser was a Canon at the time -not the Dean.

Philip L
PW
Philip L
2 years ago

The question we need to ask is whether there’d have been a press conference without the reveal of last December’s antics.
The likely answer is “no”, and in which case the lives of everyone in this country are being meddled with once again as a means of mitigating damage to the regime.
This has nothing to do with blame and everything to do with the almighty cover up. It is the stuff of banana republics.

AC Harper
AH
AC Harper
2 years ago
Reply to  Philip L

Or –The likely answer is “no”, and in which case the lives of everyone in this country are being meddled with once again because journalists have lost all sense of proportion in the scrabble to fill column inches (or pixels) with anything that might bother the hated Tories, especially Get Brexit Done Boris.

Dan Gleeballs
DG
Dan Gleeballs
2 years ago

I suspect half the country bent or broke the ever-changing Covid rules, but here we are, clutching our skirts and pearls in horror at Boris?

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone should be fairly familiar to the author. Why was that example needed? Because people can be rotten hypocrites – and need to be reminded of it.

Is the alternative to praise those sainted few who never bent a single rule? Who clapped like seals and followed every guideline? It’s hardly a land fit for heroes if that’s our great claim, is it?

Aldo Maccione
Aldo Maccione
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan Gleeballs

He’s the leader, he must lead by example or be punished if he doesn’t.
That’s part and parcel of the job.

Jacqueline Burns
JB
Jacqueline Burns
2 years ago
Reply to  Aldo Maccione

He wasn’t AT the ‘party’apparently.

Dan Gleeballs
Dan Gleeballs
2 years ago
Reply to  Aldo Maccione

Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools.

Douglas Bader.

I might not agree with that entirely, but it’s a fair bit more manly than insisting a man be punished. Grow up, son.

James Rix
JR
James Rix
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan Gleeballs

It is different when you were the one making the laws. As it goes, I don’t believe that these were “just” laws or should have ever been introduced. But he did, it’s his sword and he has lived by it and now he should die by it.

Andrew Fisher
AF
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan Gleeballs

Er, the government imposed legal restrictions, saying these were essential to ‘save lives’ and many people now have criminal records for breaking them. Are you consistent about this? I notice Neil Ferguson got monstered on here for his own hypocrisy.

We have seen the ‘another rule for us….’ principle in action all too many times now, either by fatuous claimed exemptions within the rules, so all sorts of foreign jollies, or outright breaking of the rules imposed on everyone else.

Saul D
Saul D
2 years ago

The problem is that Boris is trundling on adding new rules precisely at this moment, disrupting and destabilising Christmas arrangements this year, while also turning a blind eye to indiscretions making it all look like a nod-and-a-wink system. It strips all the new measures of any weight or authority, and adds to the widespread bewilderment as to whether the rules are really necessary.
Whether he should go is one thing, but whoever is in charge, someone needs to step up to review the advice and decision making processes on Covid rules, because no-one, it seems, believes in them.

hugh bennett
HB
hugh bennett
2 years ago

You can all argue the toss as much as you like, but I am sure that knives are being sharpened in the shadowy corners of the 1922 committee.
We all knew what Boris was – but he did a job… but his sell-by date is now long expired. Its time to surgically remove the limpet from No. 10.
The man is as shallow as an empty bath.

Malcolm Knott
MK
Malcolm Knott
2 years ago

Without wishing to defend Boris for misleading us, I never expected him to micromanage the staff at No.10. Who is or was the civil servant in charge of the office? I mean the chief of staff of whatever he/she is called. And why did he/she not issue a diktat along the following lines: in this building we stick to the letter and spirit of the rules from day one, with no exceptions.

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Knott

And on that line, we know a lot of the civil service are ardent Remainers and lefties. It wouldn’t surprise me if they’d indulge in a few false flags and leaks for precisely the purpose of undermining this govt avd Boris

Julie Blinde
Julie Blinde
2 years ago

Fine.
>>> Could we now dismantle the TD of Net Zero please.<<<
Getting rid of Allegra was a good start at this, but Nut Nut is still there

Last edited 2 years ago by Julie Blinde
Mel Shaw
Mel Shaw
2 years ago
Reply to  Julie Blinde

Getting Carrie Antoinette out of her position of power would be a fantastic bonus if Boris were to stand down. Net Zero is a disaster waiting to happen for the country and will see the Tories out of government when voters catch on to its full implications.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
2 years ago
Reply to  Mel Shaw

I’ve not seen Carrie Antoinette before. If that’s yours, I’d create more accounts to upvote it a few more times.

Fran Martinez
FM
Fran Martinez
2 years ago

The real question here is: why are these news about a party that happened a year ago being leaked now?
Of course this wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that someone important might be pissed off at England having almost no restrictions and no passports at a moment when “the narrative” says it should.

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

I’ve seen this so many times I find it hard to take seriously anymore. The media, which always has its own agenda, will sit on news until it’s politically handy or to prop up circulation figures. Once they decide they want someone out they will use a pile-on technique to whip up an hysterical frenzy until they achieve their goal. Personally, I don’t give a shyte if they had a party. It was a year ago and I’d rather not know about it at all frankly. Plus I don’t know anyone who stuck 100% to the rules during this pandemic. You either feel at risk or you don’t, you either take precautions to keep granny safe or you don’t. We have information, we know what we can do to reduce our risk. I don’t think it’s any of the government’s damn business to micromanage our lives like that, just to keep us informed and provide the necessary support services, which they largely have. What I think is more interesting is that these civil servants and politicians made the rules presumably for our safety, because of the risk associated with Covid. They know the data. They work with the experts. If they really believed in that risk then they would be concerned for themselves and their loved ones as much as anyone else wouldn’t they? So why weren’t they? What do they know that we don’t?

Adrian Doble
Adrian Doble
2 years ago

The single biggest clue here is the timing of the video and announcements today on funding flat refurbishment.

Richard Stanier
RS
Richard Stanier
2 years ago

Anyone who had the misfortune to hear Giles Fraser’s insane rantings to Matthew Parris regarding refugees on Radio Four’s “Today” programme this week will know that taking Giles for a fool is one of of life’s easiest tasks.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
NS
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 years ago

A pitiful, disingenuous, idle clown, ruled by a woke ” heome ceounties” petite bourgeoise opportunist woman: how we need a Zemmour, have the backbone to speak aloud and unite the vast majority and their concern over faux legalised censorship, and DDR style nanny state control exercised via fear and the elimination of personal responsibility.

Alan Thorpe
AT
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago

“Taken us all for fools” – I don’t think so, only 30% of the registered voters supported the Tory Party. We do not have a vote for the PM. I voted Tory for one reason only and that was the possibility that Boris might get us out of the EU. However, I expected nothing. I always thought he was the fool.

Jean Nutley
JN
Jean Nutley
2 years ago

I don’t think it fair to say that Boris has taken us for fools, I think he thinks we are all fools like him. I have always been an Independent voter, so have no axe to grind politically, but the buffoonery we have seen from Boris has to stop. Leadership is just not his forte. having said that, I cannot see anyone, of whatever political hue , that would make a good leader right now. Covid and what to do about it is making everyone look like fools.

Christopher Barclay
CB
Christopher Barclay
2 years ago

“That’s the perpetual problem of the Left: a preference for morality over joy.” Normally it’s a preference for totalitarianism over joy.

Sarah Atkin
Sarah Atkin
2 years ago

The old saying that if you do something once it easily becomes a habit is true of our democracy. The last PM to lead his party to an election victory and be booted out by the electorate was John Major. Brown didn’t win an election as leader. Otherwise, since Thatcher all were forced from office. How is this healthy?
The Johnson government may be all over the place without a clear ‘project’ but just two years ago he led his party to an 80-seat majority. I read that as a desire for stable government after years of tumult. I’m not a Conservative but it’s ridiculous to imagine any other Conservative politician could have achieved that. Voters do vote according to who will be PM. Very few MPs are so highly regarded they transcend the popularity of their leader (although vanity may tell them otherwise.) We are still grappling with the pandemic and its fall-out – the impact on the young/education; NHS waiting lists + all that’s still to be sorted with NI; never mind the other business government needs to address. It seems to me a gross indulgence to think about forcing yet another prime minister from office – because of a party.

GA Woolley
GA
GA Woolley
2 years ago

‘That’s the perpetual problem of the Left: a preference for morality over joy.’ Only on Planet Zog, if there. And as for the media, seeking out grieving relatives, reviving and compounding their grief by dishonestly telling them that ‘the Tories danced while their loved ones died’ simply to generate anti-government sob stories, is beyond sick.

Iris C
Iris C
2 years ago

The staff at Downing Street are civil servants and answerable to that hierarchy for any lapse in behaviour, not to politicians. The baiting in parliament this morning was silenced when it was pointed out that there would be disciplinary action if it was called for.. They are no doubt members of a union whose jobs and promotion have been put in jeopardy by the opposition prolonging this issue which, I believe, has little interest for the general public.
This article was poisonous and not what one would expect from a prominent member of the church..

michaelstanford
MS
michaelstanford
2 years ago

I find it odd that Johnson is receiving more abuse for possibly allowing a guideline-breaking event to be held in Downing Street than one of his predecessors did for sending us into a war based on at best a distortion of the facts and at worst a downright lie.

Jonathan Story
JS
Jonathan Story
2 years ago

It is so obvious that Partygate and Decorateagate are media stings. Stratton giggles/ So what? Boris got help to pay for the wallpaper. Who cares? Its the same as Boris “lying” to the Queen in 2019 on proroguing parliament: the Supreme Court 12/0 judged, in a poorly drafted text, full of inaccuracies, logically inconsistent, without evidence and predicated on rumour, unconstitutional to boot. They then congratulated themselves.
The recent spate started with Paterson. Boris was right to challenge the standards commissioner: we don’t to Stalinist trials in the UK is a perfectly defensible proposition. By doing a U-turn, Boris basically accepted that Stalnist trials in or out of court is part of the UK scene. So he’s now guilty, whether or not that’s true.
Has anyone thought of the paradox of the media accusing Boris of being a liar?

Ian Ward
IW
Ian Ward
2 years ago

He has lost my trust as a Conservative. I’m a local District Councillor and I find it impossible to defend this Government and its actions. It has continually failed to follow the real science, and treats people like idiots and morons. The latest Covid scare and the draconian response regarding Omicron, which seems to be no worse than the common cold, seems a sick joke on everyone who has fallen for much of this nonsense. Just look at the anagram of Omicron, if you hadn’t seen it. it’s Moronic, and probably sums up the mental ability of those who have forgotten that famous story from the pen of Hans Christian Anderson, and the Kings clothes. Boris and the current crop of Cabinet chaff are peddling the TD for all they are worth, which is probably quite sizeable considering the enormous rise in the value of vaccine manufacturing shares. Insider trading, stock manipulation, do we expect another scandal waiting to be exposed, that will make the Grenfell scandal seem like a grain of sand in a desert?

Ed Cameron
EC
Ed Cameron
2 years ago

Oh dear. If you click on the text of this article it is editable. Not sure the changes would be saved – I wouldn’t be so rude as to tamper with it. Unherd really needs to fix this problem!
Or perhaps Giles Fraser forgot to save and log off. Blimey.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ed Cameron
bob builder
BB
bob builder
2 years ago
Reply to  Ed Cameron

Just tried editing it. You can edit it but the changes aren’t saved. It is a bit annoying – the web developers need to fix this. Happy to help if it’s needed.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago

I do not know about Boris but it is time for the sanctimonious Giles Fraser and the equally sanctimonious C of E to go

Jacqueline Burns
JB
Jacqueline Burns
2 years ago

Fraser has been involved in social and political advocacy and according to The Daily Telegraph “would be the first to admit that he is fond of the sound of his own voice”] In 2019, he claimed that “all my political energy has been a reaction to Margaret Thatcher. I hated and continue to hate Thatcherism with a passion that remains undimmed”. In the 2019 UK General Election, Giles Fraser voted for the Conservative Party.
From 2004 to 2013, Fraser had a weekly column in the Church Times. Since 2009, he has been an honorary canon of the Diocese of Sefwi-Wiawso in Ghana.
From 1997 to 2006, he was a chaplain and then a lecturer in philosophy at Wadham College, Oxford. He is the author or co-author of several books and is a specialist on the writings of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Fraser has lectured on moral leadership for the British Army at the Defence Academy at Shrivenham.
From 2000 to 2009, he was the Team Rector of St Mary’s Putney, where he campaigned to raise the profile of the Putney Debates (1647). Fraser was the founder of Inclusive Church and campaigns for lesbian and gay inclusion within the church. He was voted Stonewall Hero of the Year in 2012.
In October 2011, Occupy London based their protest outside St Paul’s Cathedral. Fraser said that he was happy for people to “exercise their right to protest peacefully” outside the cathedral. Fraser resigned as he could not sanction any policy of the chapter of St Paul’s to use force to remove the protesters. Fraser has said that it was “a huge matter of regret to leave” St Paul’s. “But not for one moment have I thought that I did the wrong thing”.
Having read Mr Fraser’s history, I can only say ‘First remove the beam from your own eye before commenting on the mote in others’.

Zorro Tomorrow
JK
Zorro Tomorrow
2 years ago

Who cares what god botherers think?

William Cameron
WC
William Cameron
2 years ago

Nut Nuts and her court are the problem. A bunch of teenagers who think they are clever playing with the country like a Christmas train set. Except they dont have the brains or the experience to handle it .
And BJ is wanting out – of both the job and the marriage. He wants to come out and be given huge speaker fees .
Problem – remember the last Tory competition for the leadership. Florence of Arabia sulking and Javid practicing his strut pose to camera . Heaven forfend they dont do that pantomime again.

William MacDougall
WM
William MacDougall
2 years ago

It is indeed time for Johnson to go, but the party in his house is only the straw that broke the camel’s back. Johnson’s latest alarmist Covid restrictions are more important, and appear to be an attempt to distract attention from his many faults. Who needs a “conservative” PM who is imposing Left-wing policies, bleeding support, and panicking yet again over another Covid variant?

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

I imagine if you are surrounded by them all the time it eventually starts to affect you

Peter Shaw
PS
Peter Shaw
2 years ago

People who obeyed the silly restrictions are responsible for their own anger. Had people not realised by last Christmas that the government was utterly untrustworthy? More fool them.

Last edited 2 years ago by Peter Shaw
William Shaw
William Shaw
2 years ago

I don’t blame Stratton for laughing. She was being asked to come up with a response to defend a bare faced lie. She, and everyone else, knew how ridiculous it all was. Any of us would have laughed too before throwing in the towel.
Meanwhile journalists are focussed on wallpaper, relative trivia.
If Boris goes maybe we’ll get a PM who is actually a conservative.
Just a thought.

Last edited 2 years ago by William Shaw
Steven Farrall
SF
Steven Farrall
2 years ago

“…This TD is now broken, exposed, busted. It’s one thing for a 16-year-old schoolboy to do it. It’s quite another for the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom….” That’s just it. In lots of ways, especially with this type of hubris, Boris remains a 16 year old schoolboy.

Colin Elliott
CE
Colin Elliott
2 years ago

“Who needs to have a high-level inquiry into whether a party took place in your own house?”
You disappoint me, Revd Fraser. You surely know that it’s not his own house, and it’s not even a house; it’s a large complex of offices, and he inhabits a flat in it. So are you lying?

andrew harman
AH
andrew harman
2 years ago

It is the cumulative effect of everything now. This could merely be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Of itself it would probably be survivable but with all the others it could be terminal.
Most particularly he will not be able to rid himself of suspicions regarding the timing of Plan B.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
NS
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 years ago

Am I alone in finding Whitty the most creepy little man?

Nicholas Rowe
Nicholas Rowe
2 years ago

Johnson’s definition of what is not a party is as good as St Peter’s jokey riposte to the accusation that the Apostles were talking in tongues because they were drunk. “Friends, we’re not drunk, it’s only ten o’clock in the morning”.
Perhaps the scoffers recalled how the Apostle’s Lord had been accused of being a wine bibber. Let him who has never used gallows humour cast the first stone at Allegra Stratton. The woman who was brought before Jesus accused of adultery got off on a technicality: Is there no one to accuse you? Don’t all the professions, even that of the clergy, have in-house humour and jokes?
Besides, who would you have as leader of the Tory Party, as if that would reduce the scale of all the other difficulties the country faces?

Mark Thomas Lickona
ML
Mark Thomas Lickona
2 years ago

Proposed debate topic by an American nutter who imagines himself a provocateur:
We should all support Boris in his time of trouble, despite his cowardice and ineptitude (and hypocrisy). He actually had a brilliantly Churchillian moment when he said “Let the bodies pile high,” refusing for one brief shining moment to succumb to the fear-mongers. And now he is being punished for daring to ever f*ck off COVID (as he was doing with that shamefully-concealed party, and as we should all have been doing, but openly, even as we minded the vulnerable), through this late-breaking, perfectly-timed exposure (kind of like when Woodward sat on his taped interview with Trump in order to maximize political damage later), in order to make the poor doofus knuckle under and impose more fear-inducing, soul-crushing restrictions in the face of a new variant producing only mild symptoms, thereby promoting Big Pharma’s in$idiou$ agenda. OK, end of run-on. Discuss. Flame. Shred. Here for it. I’ll take my answers off the air.

Last edited 2 years ago by Mark Thomas Lickona
Mark Thomas Lickona
ML
Mark Thomas Lickona
2 years ago

PS. Neither a Trumper nor a Tory.

Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago

“That’s the perpetual problem of the Left: a preference for morality over joy”.
Brilliant sentence.
“At Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, Keir Starmer was right to remind us of that photograph of the Queen sitting alone at the end of a pew at her husband’s funeral in Windsor. That is what leadership looks like: to share in the situation of the people that you seek to lead”.
Absolutely, 100% correct. It is such an irony that the leader who basically embodies a lack of democracy should be the better one here. I have great, great respect for Her Majesty.
Boris has got to go. Blimey, even our own loser leader in Austria, Sebastian Kurz threw in the towel when he realised that nothing of his career could be saved. It took longer than it should have but he did it and now the ÖVP (the conservative party) has to rebuild itself, not to mention trust among the voters. The Tories might want to keep any eye on this?
A little aside: it wasn’t a TD, but both Kurz and his finance minister Gernot “oops, I missed 6 zeros off the annual budget” Blümel resigned, citing the need to “spend more time with their families”. It was an honourable attempt at getting out of the situation in a face-saving way. Or it would have been had their own government not had 3 female ministers who had babies during the legislature period and were back in the office pretty quickly, crushing it. Fail. Boris and his bungling mates might want to steer clear of that one while they beat a hasty retreat.

Last edited 2 years ago by Katharine Eyre
AC Harper
AC Harper
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

“That’s the perpetual problem of the Left: a preference for morality over joy”.
Brilliant sentence. And with such a mindset do you really believe the benefitting the Left through criticism of Boris is sane?

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

What?

AC Harper
AC Harper
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Criticising Boris is fine, it’s still a democracy. But saying he must go because of alleged hypocrisy (when most of the previous Prime Ministers have been accused of such behaviour too – if not them, their relatives) is only going to benefit the Left. And if that increases the chance of their winning the next General Election then that would probably lead to an even more authoritarian government.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

There is nil chance of the Left winning the next GE. Literally nil.

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Unless they all band together. They nearly staged a coup in 2019 before the GE which was what, I believe, triggered the whole prorogation episode

kathmelia2
KM
kathmelia2
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

True.

Paul Smithson
PO
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

It seems like the Tories could stage a Caligula-esque orgy in the House of Commons using a thousand high class hookers paid for out of the NHS budget and they’d still beat Labour in a general election.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

I do try not to write “LOL” – but LOL

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

At last, a valid reason for TV cameras in parliament

Roger Laville
Roger Laville
2 years ago

How do I delete a comment, I wonder?

Last edited 2 years ago by Roger Laville
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  Roger Laville

You can’t; you can edit the text down to full stop, leaving in effect an empty comment but the comment and your handle are still there.

David Uzzaman
OT
David Uzzaman
2 years ago

I think Giles is right. Boris has failed comprehensively as a Prime Minister apart from pushing Brexit though and it’s ironic therefore that his downfall will be on such a trivial matter. Britons knew that he wasn’t going to be entirely serious in the role in fact they enjoyed his sense of fun but the pandemic has recast him as a cautious hectoring figure. Had he continued to play his low rent Churchill impression even as the bodies piled up he could have laughed the “party” off but we don’t like hypocrites. There is a small chance of redemption if he reversed his current strategy on Covid otherwise.

Tony Conrad
TC
Tony Conrad
2 years ago

The trouble is that Boris is a mixture like us all. He certainly has leadership qualities but how he uses them is something else.He does have good qualities. If a party is the worse thing there are a lot more serious things happening in our society. If we are to have someone else who would it be? It is not up to us anyway. Apart from the global warming deception he is not that bad and pretty open. If it is expressed at the ballot box does that mean we get Labour? If we have a good tory MP we should vote for him/her. The more good people the better in our parliament regardless. Alas I cannot vote for my tory MP as she is dead opposite on most things I believe.

Last edited 2 years ago by Tony Conrad
Alan Osband
AO
Alan Osband
2 years ago

Says the preacher man who converts foreign jihadists into British citizens with a Bible and an iPhone camera .

Judy Johnson
JJ
Judy Johnson
2 years ago

The fact that he is unable to tell if he is at a party or at work seems to disqualify him from leadership and to also suggest that he gives dreadful parties!

Adrian Doble
AD
Adrian Doble
2 years ago

You learned it at Public School. Interesting.Total Denial. A man of the cloth. I wonder how many TDs you and your colleagues have survived over the years.

Last edited 2 years ago by Adrian Doble
Andrew D
AD
Andrew D
2 years ago
Reply to  Adrian Doble

Guilt and responsibility?! My word, which state school was that?

Laura Cattell
LC
Laura Cattell
2 years ago

‘TD’ is also clearly the strategy of the Royals – as in Prince Andrew — even with photographic evidence.

Zorro Tomorrow
JK
Zorro Tomorrow
2 years ago

The last thing Xmas party goers think of is God.

Ann Ceely
AC
Ann Ceely
2 years ago

Who disallowed a Xmas Party?

Whoever it was needs to be cancelled!

And all their supporters!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
NS
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 years ago

Johnsons craven betrayal to nu britn’s woke sandaloid carbone head tree hugging puritan fascists is wirthy of a trial for treason

Michael Joseph
Michael Joseph
2 years ago

What a piece. Absolutely spot-on. And those last two paragraphs knock it out of the park. Boris must go.

Alex Stonor
Alex Stonor
2 years ago

As a ex-alumni of the public skool system myself, I have not been surprised by the christmas party revelations. Let’s face it, this is the tip of the iceberg because the effectiveness of total denial is not a joke; it works extremely well. In our house, we have always joked about where Boris was getting his recreationals and how wonderful the japes must be in a country that’s empty apart from you and your pals.

William Cameron
William Cameron
2 years ago

Etonians are taught to lie . Gordonstoun teaches truth telling. (Lying at Gorgonstoun was a much more serious crime than shagging sheep ).

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago

With Boris, many of us warmed to the merrie England Cavalier. We were all in on the joke. And those who weren’t were Puritan kill-joys, the grim faced ranks of Labour moralists, always shouty-angry, always wagging their fingers. Who’d want to party with them anyway? That’s the perpetual problem of the Left: a preference for morality over joy.
A genuine progressive spirituality is unable to set morality against joy. That is because positive morality is the sine qua non of all future human evolutionary progress. Since all true progress brings joy, these two things operate in alignment, not opposition.
Giles Fraser makes a false equivalence: give the conservatives a bit of morality, give labour a bit of joy, and then they both amount to much the same thing.
But no! The one having morality is the one facing the positive future. Joy will come with that in time.
But the one sacrificing morality on the altar of self-indulgent pleasure faces the rocky road of steep evolutionary decline—the road to a future hell.

Tom Watson
TW
Tom Watson
2 years ago

Feels flippant after that sombre ending, but I did like “leader of the Cavillers.”

Peta Seel
PS
Peta Seel
2 years ago

 But there is always just a little anxiety when you say something like the word “lie”, especially in print”
How about “recollections may vary” – while on the subject of the Queen’s most admirable “servant-hearted leadership”?
A very good article and Boris must now go, but who to replace him? I’d quite like to see a grown-up in No.10.

Tom Jennings
TJ
Tom Jennings
2 years ago

It would appear that we have pond scum on both sides of the Atlantic.

Giles Chance
GC
Giles Chance
2 years ago

Pity, Boris has talent. bye bye Boris.

Julie Kemp
Julie Kemp
2 years ago

Good on you Giles. Your PM (i’m Australian) does not have the gravitas that i like to ‘see’ and see in such high office in my most esteemed Country. As for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II – she is a shining exemplaress.

andy young
andy young
2 years ago

Boris is extremely likeable. I’ve been able to forgive him a lot of things.
But I’m now starting to see the shade of one Jimmy Savile (OBE) lurking behind that playful exterior …

Iris C
IC
Iris C
2 years ago
Reply to  andy young

What exactly do you mean by that? A shocking thing to say!

andy young
andy young
2 years ago
Reply to  Iris C

You seriously think I’m calling Boris a paedophile? Apologies if you came to that conclusion; perhaps I should have been more specific. What I was referring to was Savile’s belief that he could get away with being the monstrous lying hypocrite he really was by a combination of some sort of queasy charm (which I could never fathom) & mouthing the right platitudes.
It’s that, the mocking expression behind the eyes which says “look folks! I’ve got away with it AGAIN!” That I was referring to.

Jeremy Bray
JB
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago
Reply to  andy young

Boris may be a Catholic but the molestation of children by some Catholic Priests can’t automatically tar all Catholics with the practice. I would suggest you speedily delete your comment as it could attract an expensive libel claim.