Opinion: Boris Johnson is unfit to lead

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Boris Johnson. The continued outbreak of scandal has engulfed Downing Street yet again, a pandemic all of its own.

This time, the scandal that has hit the news is the number of gatherings, parties or otherwise, that the government have held while the rest of the country was under lockdown restrictions, making a mockery of the sacrifices ordinary people were making at the time. One day after an infuriating video of COP26 spokesperson Allegra Stratton was released, Boris appeared at a press conference to introduce the rest of Plan B, despite there being no reason for it. 

However, before the unjust nature of the restrictions is addressed, the Christmas parties must be looked at in more detail. The Mirror first broke the story, claiming that Christmas parties were held, at first on December 18. Since then, a number of gatherings have been reported to have been held, when London was in tier two and three restrictions. These restrictions banned indoor social mixing with other households, which many people followed. Those that did not get hit with fines of up to £10,000.

Many people were unable to see their friends and family. A day after the December 18 party, tier four restrictions were introduced in London to curtail the spread of the Alpha variant. These restrictions would have no doubt been spoken about in advance, showing Johnson’s uncaring attitude to the struggles of the British people.

In another shocking disregard for the rules, a video of former spokesperson Allegra Stratton emerged mocking the parties that were held, continuing the blatant disregard shown for the rules. This disregard will damage people’s abilities to follow COVID-19 restrictions, and unsurprisingly so. If the people who instituted the rules are not able to follow them, how should they expect the public to? 

But this is only the latest scandal affecting Johnson. The Electoral Commission fined the Conservative Party £17,800 for failing to report donations properly, relating to the refurbishment of 11 Downing Street.

The by-election of the disgraced (now former) MP Owen Paterson will be held on Thursday, December 16. He was forced to resign after corruption, but not before the government tried to defend him. The constituency in question, North Shropshire, has long been a Conservative stronghold, but this has now been put into question. Johnson’s leadership is already on the rocks due to the Christmas parties, but if the Conservatives lose this seat, it will show voters are willing to act against him. 

If this was not enough to show Johnson is having an awful Christmas, then the new COVID-19 restrictions he is planning to introduce will surely do it. A day after the video of Allegra Stratton emerged, Johnson announced that the rest of Plan B, including vaccination passports, would be introduced. This is despite there being no need for this plan.

Vaccination passports, in particular, will split society into two tiers and cause discrimination. It also does not prevent the virus from spreading, something the Omicron variant has highlighted. Instead, these new rules further the current contradictions. Mask mandates exist in empty shops and train carriages, but are absent in crowded nightclubs and bars. So much for following the science.

While there has been a slight increase in hospitalisations and deaths (3.7 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively) as of December 12, this is not enough to justify a sudden move to Plan B. The government said that the mask mandate would be reviewed three weeks after its introduction, making the review date December 20.

There has been no massive change in the situation to justify a sudden change. This move only serves to try and draw attention away from the Christmas party scandals. However, it has been poorly calculated. With pictures of the Christmas parties now coming out in the media, and backbench Tory MPs rightly in arms about the prospect of vaccination passports, it has created several crises for Johnson at once.

Around 75 Conservative MPs have said they will rebel against these plans, forcing the government to rely on Labour votes. This is disastrous for a government with a large majority and shows a complete collapse in leadership over the party. 

This collapse in support has been replicated in Tory members across the country. The Loughborough University Conservative Society voted in a supermajority to call for Johnson’s resignation, and it is clear why. Boris’ unconservative nature has angered the public and the party faithfulness; he must go because of this. His repeated scandals show a government uncaring of the British public, and that the restrictions are simply unnecessary. Boris Johnson is the spreader of this ideological decay and scandal-ridden government. If the Tory Party is to be cured of this, they must remove him.

This is an opinion piece and the author’s views do not necessarily reflect the views of Platform Magazine.

Lead image: Chatham House

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