Boris strikes again—but his apology won’t get him far

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson


U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson

By Frankie Rowley, Content Managing Editor

“Everyone has made personal sacrifices, some the most profound, having been unable to see loved ones in their last moments or care for vulnerable family and friends,” writes Susan Gray in her report explaining the findings of her investigation into the multiple “celebrations” that occurred at No. 10 Downing Street, the home of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. 

Johnson hosted a series of parties in his Downing Street home—12 to be exact (or 16 if you go by the alleged amount)—during England’s four-month lockdown, which lasted from March 26 to July 4, 2020. Two of these parties occurred in 2021— one in January when England was in its third national lockdown and the other in April when England entered “Step 2,” when unnecessary gatherings of two or more people indoors were prohibited. 

These laws were very clearly laid out by his own party, yet a man who graduated from Oxford, was elected to Parliament after working as a journalist, became the Mayor of London, and then was elected Prime Minister, cannot follow his own bloody rules? 

Well, that’s Boris for you. In his apology to the people of England during a Q&A session, Johnson said, “There were things we simply did not get right.” Following that, a series of exclamations rose from those listening, probably because they could all feel the insincerity of it all, just as I did. Actively breaking the rules you set isn’t getting things wrong, it’s blatantly disregarding them. 

His sentiment regarding the ordeal caused a bit of a stir in Parliament as well, with members of his own party, the Conservative Party, calling for him to be ousted. This is quite a big deal considering that Johnson is a very well-liked politician. He is the most electorally successful Conservative leader in over 30 years—receiving a majority of 80 seats in his 2019 election. 

So how does he manage to, well… fuck it all up? Simple, Johnson lacks a sense of correctness, he is relinquishing his reign over England because he has no moral compass. 

While I won’t go into too many specifics about all the ways Boris Johnson lacks morality (for fear of angry spontaneous combustion), I will explain his terrible judgement and ineptitude surrounding these allegations. 

The Mirror, a tabloid paper in the UK, published a story on Nov. 30, that accused Johnson and his staff of breaking lockdown rules. The article alleged that around 40 or 50 people attended a going away party for a member of the staff and that other events occurred during the entirety of England’s lockdown. Following this, a video emerged showing none other than Allegra Stratton, Ed Oldfield—the Downing Street special adviser— and other staffers joking about a party that occurred at No. 10 in a mock Q&A session. 

Now, if Johnson had any moral compass, he would have owned up to the fact that he broke the rules. But did he? Of course not! Despite there being video evidence of a member of his staff admitting to the party, Johnson did not budge. He and his constituents denied it all! 

In a country that has been pummeled by the pandemic— for reference, 157,357 people have died from COVID-19 in the UK as of Feb. 1, which accounts for almost 2.4 percent of the population—the Prime Minister should at least extend the common courtesy to follow his own rules. Especially since his handling of the pandemic has been substandard at best. 

Nevertheless, the more Boris denied it, the more evidence rose to the surface, the angrier people got, and an apology was forced out. The apology was more of an attempt at sounding remorseful for things that he alleges were never told were outside of the COVID rules he set. 

While admitting to participating in a series of parties, Johnson has the audacity to say, “I know the anguish they have been through, unable to mourn their relatives, unable to live their lives as they want or do the things they love.” I mean are you having a laugh right now Boris? How can you confidently say that you feel the pain of the people when you can’t even abide by the law you set to “protect” them? 

For a man who claims to have never told a lie—I wish I was kidding about that—the apology did as well as the Titanic did at avoiding the iceberg. Following his apology, Johnson quite literally almost incited a mutiny. When announcing he would be lifting all remaining COVID-19 restrictions—because this is exactly what a country still battling a pandemic needs—Johnson was met with disarray. 

One member of Parliament, Christian Wakeford, barged over to the Labour side of the House of Commons and declared he would be joining the opposing party in response to Johnson’s actions. Another, David Davis, cited a quote that was said to former Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain when he was asked to resign. 

“In the name of God, go,” Davis said. 

Now, I never thought I would agree with a tory, but in the weeks following his apology, at least 10 tory MP’s have submitted letters of no confidence. If 54 letters were to be submitted, Parliament would have to hold a no-confidence vote for Johnson, which could determine whether or not he remains Prime Minister. 

Along with that, according to a YouGov poll conducted on Jan. 13, the tory party’s approval ratings have gone down. The poll asks if a general election were to happen tomorrow, which party would you vote for? The Labour Party, the UK’s democratic party, has garnered 38 percent of the vote, 10 percentage points above the Conservative Party. So, not only has Boris ruined his career, he’s ruined his party’s reputation. 

So, what happens now? Well, if Boris had any dignity left he would resign, but I doubt that will happen. So, we wait for more letters to file in and hopefully a no-confidence vote ensues. Do I have hope that this will teach anyone a lesson? No, I do not. After observing the rule of Johnson and Theresa May during my adult life, I have no confidence that this will teach the conservatives or Johnson himself anything. 

If anything, this will become another blip in Britain’s history and we’ll still have our mouths agape in five years time, wondering how Johnson got away with it—which is what I predict will happen—as so many Prime Ministers before him have gotten away with their own rotten deeds.