No comment from the disgraced prime minister so far, as he doesn’t yet know which of his many disgraces he has been disgraced for.
He knows he’s going to get fined for breaking the emergency laws he wrote himself, but despite having insisted, for months on end, that he did nothing wrong, he still has to wait for the police to tell him exactly what he’s been done for, because he knows there are too many incidents to choose from.
That’s the most laughable aspect, isn’t it, amid the near infinite range of options? Has there been another political scandal in which the guilty party, having been found guilty, has to wait to find out precisely what he’s been found guilty of, from the vast array of options, all of which he continues to deny?
No, there hasn’t. And there’s never been one quite like this, either.
A government forced to bring in the most draconian emergency laws in the country’s history, in a desperate attempt to stem the overwhelming loss of life. And then 50 people, at least, are found to have been breaking them, inside Downing Street, including the prime minister and the chancellor of the exchequer.
Perhaps it’s best to think of it as, say, a birthday cake. Making the laws then breaking them, that’s sort of the cake bit. But then you’ve got the intricate icing of lies that have been layered upon it for months and months and months, each one making the whole thing ever more precarious.
There were no parties. There were parties, but I wasn’t at them. I was at them, but I didn’t know they were parties.
To that we must now add: There were parties, I broke the law by being at them, but I don’t know which ones.
That Rishi Sunak and Carrie Johnson have also been fined intimates rather strongly that this latest tranche of fines pertains to the impromptu birthday party in the cabinet room. Just in case your irony-o-meter isn’t working, that’s the prime minister’s law-breaking birthday party that happened in the room where he made the laws.
There is no reason to suspect that more fines aren’t coming, for the bring your own booze party, the Abba rave in his flat, the cheese and wine spread, or the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral do (I think we’ll leave it there in the interests of basic dignity). That the prime minister may look into setting up a charitable trust for donors to pay them all off for him can certainly not be ruled out.
It’s not to say there aren’t any winners. Rishi Sunak certainly has a lot to be happy about. A mere 24 hours ago, he thought his political career was over for completely different reasons, so he’ll surely be relieved that it was over anyway, he just did not know it yet.
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There’s Lulu Lytle as well. Even in the rarefied world of ultra high net worth individuals to which Johnson and Johnson like to pretend they belong, there can’t be many clients who pony up two hundred grand for a flat refurb, only to be kicked out of the place within two years?
Can golden wallpaper be recycled? The google hits on that one are not promising for the criminal couple I’m afraid. One doubts the Ms Lytle’s seven-hundred-pound-a-roll jobs are of the new, and ever more popular, peel and stick variety, which are “popular with renters who won’t be there for long”. So she’ll have to be hired again. She wo n’t she? Surely?
He can’t just brazen it out, can he? You can’t have a prime minister that’s broken the laws he made, can you? Well, at the time of typing, it really looks like you can. The Tory party are the only people who can get rid of him, and they don’t seem to have the appetite to do it just now. For a while, there has been no shortage of concern that there is no one around to replace him, and there definitely isn’t now.
It’s horrifying to think that enough of them really do think that the guy that’s been found to have broken public health laws in the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic really is the best they’ve got. It’s even more horrifying to consider they might be right.
All this is “priced in”, isn’t it? Well, there happen to be elections coming up, that’s when the price of things tend to become unignorably clear, especially to a party that clearly knows the value of nothing, not even the basic dignity of the highest offices of the land.