+Another government minister was interviewed on the news tonight, in the wake of the Metropolitan Police winding up their inquiries into the Downing Street ‘Partygate’ affair. The police it seems have issued 126 fixed penalty notices, but Johnson has escaped with only one. The minister told the nation that he believed the Prime Minister believed he was telling the truth when no rules were being broken and that’s quite sufficient. This is known as the Tony Blair defence, which is to say ’I honestly thought I was doing the right thing at the time.’ I wonder how this defence would stand up in a court of law, if it were to be fully tested (which it won’t be). For example, if I recall correctly, the ’Yorkshire Ripper’ Peter Sutcliffe claimed he was hearing voices from God commanding him to do what he did at the time, a belief sincerely held (one assumes). If psychiatrists concluded that this was his sincere belief (one would want a second opinion) then that is his defence, and if such a defence is allowable then there’s no stopping anyone from claiming it. Which is exactly what politicians do when they know they’ve no other leg to stand on. Clearly this is not good enough. We await the Sue Gray report into Downing Street behaviour as well as a parliamentary standards inquiry. But all that can be brushed aside now, as the minister said people are getting bored with the story and its time to move on to the ’people’s priorities,’ presumably referring to the cost of living crisis about which Tories feel so much.
I wonder why the BBC asks ministers on to answer questions about Boris Johnson. Do they hope that one day one of them is going to say ’I don’t give a damn about my red box, I’m resigning now in disgust at my boss’s appalling behaviour?’ That’s a story political journalists would love to break.
+It’s odd that one word which seems to have been expunged from the ’cost of living crisis’ lexicon is ’austerity.’ I’ve heard nobody use it. But it looks like we’re heading into to some real austerity now. Perhaps this reluctance to use the word reflects the liberal media’s rehabilitation of the Liberal Democrats.