When issued with a fixed penalty by the Metropolitan Police for breaking Covid rules, Boris Johnson said he was not going to resign and that it was important to move on and do the job the British people wanted him to do – which was tackling the cost-of-living crisis, which he started in the first place.
When the Sue Gray report lambasted the Prime Minister for his lack of leadership over ‘partygate,’ Boris Johnson said this was no matter for him to resign on, and that it was important for us to draw a line under the matter and move on. He had to deliver on the things that were important to the British people, such as changing the Ministerial Code so that he would never have to even consider resigning.
When forty per cent of his own MPs voted against him in a motion of no confidence, the PM said that this showed he had the full backing of his party and this was no reason to resign, and that we should draw a line under the matter and move on. He had to do the things that the British people wanted him to do, such as sorting out the war in Ukraine, whether it was any of his business or not.
When he lost two by-elections and the Tory Party chairman on the same day, Boris Johnson said that this was no reason for anyone to think that he should resign, and that we should all draw a line under the matter and move on The British people wanted him to get on with the job of levelling up, or inventing other similarly meaningless soundbite policies.
But I think Johnson is right about one thing. I think it is time to draw a line under the matter and move on. And I think he should do what the British people want him to do, because the British people obviously want him to fuck off.
At least, Neil Parish, the MP for Tiverton and Honiton, did the decent thing and resigned when caught watching porn on his phone in Parliament, which is more than the current Prime Minister would have done in similar circumstances. If Boris Johnson was caught on camera masturbating in a public place, which is not beyond the boundaries of plausibility, one suspects he would still refuse to resign. He would doubtless try to bluster his way out of it, saying it was important that he focussed on the issues that matter to the British people and got on with the job in hand, no pun intended.
The reality is that Johnson is never going to be able to draw a line under the matter and move on from ‘partygate’ because the public are never going to forget how often he has lied about the issue. At first there were no parties, then there may have been parties that he didn’t know about, then they were explained as being a Zoom quiz, and after that they were dressed up as ‘work events’. But finally, thanks to ITV News, we have photographic proof of the PM at a very drunken party. The fact that everyone else at the event was blurred or pixilated can be explained in three ways: 1) They were so drunk they actually looked like that in real life; 2) The person who took the photo was so wasted they couldn’t hold the camera straight; or 3) Boris was so blootered that’s what everyone else looked like in his eyes.
In one of his many ‘apologies’, Johnson mumbled that it was vital that he stayed in Downing Street so that he could tackle the cost-of-living crisis. Then Transport Secretary Grant, Shapps, came up with a marvellous piece of ‘blue sky’ thinking to tackle the issue, namely, changing the need for an annual MOT to a test every two years. That really will give succour to the millions in grinding poverty to know that as they walk to their local foodbank, they could be run over by a car with defective brakes.
The whole idea itself can be seen as metaphor for this current government. A clapped-out old banger stuck in first gear veering from one side of the road to the other before ploughing into a brick wall. But, of course, the Tories are still trotting out the tired old line that now is not the time for a second independence referendum. What better time could there be? Do the Scottish people really want to stay a colony of a third-world dictatorship that rips up international treaties, ignores climate change agreements, cuts international aid to the most needy countries, sends asylum seekers fleeing torture to a country with a dubious human rights record and whose government breaks their own laws and then lies about it. Time to launch the lifeboats and get the hell off this sinking ship.
Vladimir McTavish’s Edinburgh Fringe Show ‘2022, The Beginning of the End?’ is at The Stand’s New Town Theatre, 5th-28th August at 7.10pm Tickets on sale now at edfringe.com