Andy Mac

You’d have to be a pretty serious devotee of all things Johnsonian to excuse the way operations in Downing Street have been running whilst the rest of the UK was experiencing lockdown restrictions unprecedented in our history. Although I wouldn’t venture as far as to say the gatherings being highlighted amounted to the common definition of ‘a party’, they nevertheless illustrate a sense of aloofness those in the political class have displayed down the years. If you think the Johnson administration is unique in this regard, I suggest you pick up a history book (or several) and begin reading earnestly.

However much I’ve detested the rules of the past two years, the fact remains the Prime Minister had no choice but to impose them. The scientists he looked to for advice demanded no less. Had Boris Johnson refused to impose the most draconian laws since wartime, the mainstream media (MSM) would have performed a similar ‘pile-on’ to the one we’ve seen over ‘Partygate’, asking incessantly ‘how the leader of this country’s government could have condemned 88-year-old Joyce from Sidmouth to an excruciating death by not closing the country down?’ and other such emotionally-pointed ‘gotchas’. What irks me more than the Downing Street disregard for the rules is the way most in the MSM are now attempting to set themselves up as the moral custodians of public virtue. If most of them had even a scintilla of understanding or concern for the mental toll of lockdowns, they wouldn’t have been at the forefront of efforts to press for ever-tighter measures. At no point in recent history have we been compelled to stay indoors for so long, choose the people we could associate with, or have our ability to go to work so impeded. Yet, not only were these rules insufficient for the likes of Nicola Sturgeon, Mark Drakeford and the British Labour Party (now inexplicably 10 points ahead in the latest poll), they weren’t enough for the hacks at the BBC and Sky News (the latter news corporation knows all about its presenters breaking lockdown rules, despite the fact it now has the arrogance to platform these same individuals as judges of the PM’s behaviour!). Furthermore, the image these news outlets wish to conjour up in the first lockdown of 2020 – that of a country supposedly cursed by the universal misery of social isolation and lack of work – is a very different one from the situation I recall. I remember millions of people positively salivating at the prospect of staying away from work for weeks on end and getting paid for it by the state. The authoritarian social control we’ve witnessed over the past two years did have plenty of detractors (myself being one of the most vocal), but it also had plenty of willing followers. Let’s not pretend otherwise.

I’m not here to defend Boris Johnson’s most recent antics or, indeed, his period as Prime Minister. As an ardent Brexiteer I have a great deal to be critical about concerning this government’s record to-date. Blessed with an 80-seat majority from the 2019 General Election there’s much they could have done with economic regulatory reform, tackling the odious Northern Ireland Protocol with far more determination, fighting the Woke cultural war currently being waged throughout many of our civic institutions, and preventing the tide of freeloading humanity from washing up on our south coast day-in and day-out. That said, I simply cannot stay silent whilst the media circle Boris Johnson for no other reason he IS Boris Johnson. I’ll elaborate.

During the COVID pandemic, we’ve seen several examples of politicians flagrantly breaking the rules they demanded of everyone else. Nicola Sturgeon ‘forgot’ to wear a mask at a wake after a friend’s funeral and the executive she leads were accused of a cover up after Coronavirus spread at a Nike conference in Edinburgh last February, with the information surrounding the event withheld from the Scottish public. Over in Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein managed to assemble a 5000-strong set of mourners for the public funeral of one of the most vile and violent IRA terrorists of the Troubles – Bobby Storey. In May 2021, photographs were taken of Keir Starmer enjoying a drink with party activists at an event in Hartlepool in contravention of the rules. In each case the media focus was far less intense, far less coordinated and far less linked to their perception of the miscreant’s character. The question I have to ask is ‘why’? What makes the PM so exceptional to the way the MSM treat these revelations? As I’ve said they all wanted tight restrictions. The so-called ‘parties’ in Number 10’s back garden were far from super-spreader events. In fact if the Downing Street staff were going to contract Coronavirus from each other, it could have happened at any point from the commencement of the pandemic! What Boris Johnson or his staff have in hypocrisy, arrogance and disregard for the rules is not unique. So why is his media treatment unique? Simple! It’s because he is the figurehead of the Brexit campaign, and that is a constitutional change I doubt the ardent London Remainer classes (who now utterly infest almost every corner of the broadcast media – and significant sections of its print counterpart) will ever forgive him for.

To put it another way, if it hadn’t have been the Downing Street gatherings it would have been something else. The media have been relentless in their attacks on both the Prime Minister and his Brexit project. From false predictions over economic catastrophe to blaming him for any possible upset to the delicate community peace in Northern Ireland, this PM has been subject to a degree of media opprobrium unparalleled since the days of Margaret Thatcher. As Mick Hume said in an article in the Daily Mail a few days ago, ‘the Corporation (BBC) has built itself in the image of the Woke metropolitan elites who run it’. The same can be said for Channel 4 News, ITN and Sky. And they utterly despise not only Boris Johnson, but the entire Brexit phenomenon. Their aim? A twenty-year slow burn program to either take us back into the EU as full members, or as a vassal state hooked up to the Single Market and Customs Union without any say. They see a Labour government long-term as the best way to achieve that target. Everything else – the pandemic, the consequential deaths, the hypocrisy – is just froth. What arch-Remainer Lord Adonis tweeted the other day: ‘If Boris goes, Brexit goes’, is simply a clumsy overt way of describing what many hacks feel and desire in private. The potential fall of this government is a means to bring that objective closer, and the endless focus on social gatherings is their tool of choice. Nothing more.

I don’t know if Boris Johnson will survive. Unless he starts to deliver on the things the working classes elected him to do in 2019, he certainly doesn’t deserve to. But he should go according to the rules of the governing Conservative Party when they feel he no longer has the vision or the confidence to lead the UK. Not when a highly partisan, brutal, self-serving, equally dishonest, equally hypocritical media cabal decide. These were the same people who, when it was revealed a Chinese government agent had been donating money to the Labour Party and that a serving Labour MP has employed the agent’s own son in his constituency office, barely gifted a 12-hour window to the story. Whatever I feel about a Prime Minister who’s been rather underwhelming these past two years, it’s nothing to what I feel about those journos wanting his political scalp. 

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