Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Today’s talking point


A POLL which the Cabinet Office almost certainly did not commission, published on Saturday, suggests that the penny is finally dropping about our compromised Prime Minister. Almost two in five of those questioned for Opinium, 37% per cent, describe Boris Johnson as mostly or completely corrupt (vs 16 per cent for Keir Starmer). 

Pretty staggering considering the very sweet deal he’s been given by his friends in the media who have chosen not to hound him relentlessly over his tawdry affair with Jennifer Arcuri and the £100,000 contract she was awarded that Johnson was miraculously cleared over; or over the dubiously funded refurbishment scheme for his Downing Street flat – a story that won’t go away. 

He’s also pretty much had a free pass over the countless chumocracy ‘Covid contracts’ from PPE provision to PCR testing handed out to friends and families of his Cabinet coterie under his neglectful eye, brought to our attention by the Good Law Project. 

The days when the Telegraph ruthlessly exposed the MPs’ expenses scandal, when not a duck house, lawnmower or moat escaped publicity, seem to be over.

How Robert Jenrick is still a minister raises many questions. Mr Johnson stood by him in the episode involving billionaire Richard Desmond and a rushed property scheme approval.

The return of Tory sleaze has erupted once more in recent weeks  with the exposure of former Prime Minister David Cameron’s links to the fallen financier Lex Greensill – made public, says the Guardian, ‘in drip-drip leaks from, in all probability, people now close to power in the Boris Johnson administration’, which says as little for them as for Cameron. 

Johnson, suddenly full of moral virtue, has announced an independent inquiry into the affair. The surfacing of so many allegations that politicians and advisers at the centre of power are using their public positions to benefit their private interests makes this a doubtful move – one which won’t save his own reputation. His values to date seem much the same as those of his ministers. Will he demand the resignation of  Matt Hancock who met Cameron and Greensill for a drink during which they lobbied him over a potential contract and came under scrutiny over his shareholding in a family firm approved to bid for NHS contracts? You can bet he won’t.

The schoolboy-level spat between Johnson and his former chief adviser Dominic Cummings tells us everything about the descent of this once great political party. The idea that Johnson should be the moral arbiter of anything is simply risible. But here he is, still in power. 

With standards so low in the UK – for once I agree with the Guardian’s Zoe Williams when she says that the John Major era was positively pure compared with this lot – is it any wonder that when it comes to corruption, experienced older journalists such as Patrick Cockburn think that Britain is catching up with Middle East? What a legacy to take away from your term as PM. 

Feel free to discuss this and anything else on your mind.

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Kathy Gyngell
Kathy Gyngell
Kathy is Editor of The Conservative Woman. She is @kathygyngelltcw on GETTR and is back on Twitter.

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