Partying Through the Pandemic

William Norwood

April 1, 2022

I awoke to a BBC Breaking news. Whenever I see the breaking news notification on my phone I get nervous, I start to sweat. I thought about what's next for the world. This time it was not a possible start to WW3 or a mass shooting, it was over the potentially criminal activity of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The British public received an incomplete report from Sue Gray, the Cabinet Office Second Permanent Secretary of the United Kingdom of England. Within was information regarding the British Prime Minister’s social gatherings during the pandemic. On May 15, 2020, Boris Johnson was pictured eating wine and cheese with multiple colleagues in the garden of Number 10 Downing Street. On December 15th, 2020, a Christmas trivia quiz took place within the halls of Downing Street. On December 18th, 2020, a christmas party allegedly took place. These events took place at a time when it was, under British law, prohibited, to mix with other families. Over the holiday season, families were not allowed to visit their loved ones, close friends, and even dying loved ones in the hospital, yet the Prime Minister, and his staff, believed it was perfectly acceptable to party on. In addition, while the nation mourned the loss of a monarch in a socially distanced way, Johnson and his cronies were celebrating.

The most important factors of the investigation were the dates of these events. Throughout the pandemic, Coronavirus restrictions were not guidelines, they were national law. All of these gatherings were simply illegal. As a result, the Prime Minister now faces an inquiry from the Metropolitan Police, so the public may find out the what really happened.

Boris Johnson started off by claiming he had no knowledge of any party, but soon after reversed his message and admitted to being at the gatherings. He claimed, however, that the gatherings were business-related, rather than for personal pleasure. The audacity Boris Johnson has to change his stance from not knowing about these gatherings to “I was actually present” is astonishing. How can the British public trust a man who lied to his own people? When previous health ministers were caught breaking the same COVID restrictions, the Prime Minister was quick to remove them, but it appears he subscribes to a “rules for thee, but not for me” approach.

Through the halls of parliament, calls for Johnson’s resignation were echoed by many. There was frustration from both ends of the political spectrum, coming from Liberal Democrats, Labour MP’s, and Conservative Party backbenchers. Boris Johnson’s own party was turning against him.

Weeks after the report, we are still left without accountability. This issue has been brushed under the mat because of the current crisis in Ukraine, but just because it is no longer headline news does not mean voters will forget. . The stark irony in his breaking of laws he wrote will remain in the British history books for decades. During Prime minister’s question Kier Starmer voiced the concerns of the British public,“After months of deceit and deception [in the form of ] the pathetic spectacle of a man who’s run out of road. His defence that he didn't realize he was at a party is so ridiculous that is actually offensive to the British public.”