The 17th of December might go down as a historic date for the landscape of modern British politics as the liberal democrats have won the North Shropshire by-election, paving the way for a vote of no confidence against Boris Johnson, the conservative PM. This was somewhat predictable as the Tory party has been under heavy criticism for their lack of seriousness regarding the covid pandemic, especially since the news of last year’s alleged Christmas party at Downing street broke alongside the recent controversies surrounding drug use in the houses of parliament.
As covid cases went up and hospital beds filled, British PM Boris Johnson enacted on the 8th of December a plan B, imposing new covid rules just before the holidays. But the attention hasn’t been so much on the new measures that have been imposed, but rather the British public is looking back at around this time last year when a Christmas party at 10 Downing street allegedly took place.
You can’t spell conservative party without party, and Johnson and his colleagues really found the perfect way to illustrate that during a period where families in the U.K. couldn’t meet for Christmas, couldn’t travel abroad, or do very much at all… And one of the reasons this scandal is only coming up now might be down to the fact that at Club Downing Street there may have been some journalists from the conservative media. Right-wing journalists and politicians are known to mingle, especially during lockdowns. For example, when Bob Seely, Tory MP, attended a barbeque hosted by Spectator magazine’s deputy editor Freddy Gray after encouraging his constituents to follow the lockdown rules.
There is, however, a list of the people that attended the alleged Christmas party. This list is in the hands of the Telegraph and the Daily Mail, two of the biggest right-wing newspapers of the UK who, unsurprisingly, have refused to release it. What’s more is that staff from Downing Street have been recorded joking about the party that happened on December the 18th, the same day that 458 people died from Covid-19 in the UK.
Following the reports of this alleged party, the metropolitan police have stated that they will not investigate this case due to it being “retrospective”, which seems quite contradictory given that every investigation in history has been retrospective. Perhaps the Met is paving the way to investigate prospective crimes that will happen in the future.
This party is somehow not even one of the most shocking displays of decadence from the Tories, as a recent report revealed that traces of cocaine had been found in at least 3 different lavatories in the Houses of Parliament, including the bathroom right next to the prime minister’s office. This is being revealed all while Boris Johnson has announced his newest policy: a renewed war on drugs.
The PM announced that “drugs are not going to make you cooler” and decided to target drug users by taking away the passports and driver’s licenses of substance users. You’d think that since Nixon’s famous speech on drug policy in 1971 one could perhaps come up with an original way of naming their new drug enforcement policies, especially given the horrible ring “The war on drugs” has. This phrase of course is heavily associated with the racially motivated institutionalized violence unleashed by Nixon on the black and Latin communities in the US and spreading out giving the US a mandate of violence to unleash in countries like Colombia, which is still struggling to recover from the US war on drugs in the area.
Declaring this “War on Drugs” shows firstly a lack of vocabulary from the Tories, but also emphasizes how clueless they are. There has always been a war on drugs as long as drugs have existed, and the drugs are yet to lose. The main losers of these anti-narcotic decisions are the usually lower or middle-class users who rather than get comprehensive help with their addictions are fined or jailed while the politicians and the rich can keep their noses stuffed with little to no repercussions.
The loss of the North Shropshire by-election will hopefully be a devastating blow to the current government. The likelihood of a vote of no confidence might mean that Boris Johnson and his cabinet will actually suffer the consequences of their actions, a rare sight in the grand scheme of Tory incompetence.
This general lack of consequences for the Tories is mostly down to the less than convincing opposition from the Labour party. Previously under Corbyn and now with Keir Starmer at its head, Labour has found it difficult to show itself as a convincing and enticing party to the general public from the claims of antisemitism to the lack of a concise position on Brexit. But these recent conservative fiascos should hopefully bring on a change in voters’ minds and one can hope that Starmer and his party will somehow form a potent opposition to the Tories and bring a certain level of seriousness to British politics if that’s even possible. One can always dream.