Boris Johnson has finally resigned and this will undoubtedly draw a round of applause from those on both the left and even some on the right.
And I’ll admit, I did get a bit of a kick out of watching the controlled demolition of the Tory party as more than 40 politicians downed tools.
But only temporarily.
Let’s face it, the state of our entire political system has been farcical for years, and our first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system pretty much ensures that the loons will continue to run the asylum for as long as we’re prepared to put up with it.
For that reason, I think it is a little too early to pop the champagne bottles in celebration of the exit of bungling Boris. Partly because I’m waiting to see what nutter will replace him next.
Why Partygate Was Bipartisan
The blatant breaking of rules and wind by Boris Johnson is well documented. But have we forgotten opposition leader Keir Starmer’s beergate after he was pictured drinking a beer with colleagues while lockdown rules stipulated that nobody from different households could mix indoors apart from for work?
While he of course denied having any knowledge of such things, a leaked memo from The Mail On Sunday showed that the drinks were scheduled during the lockdown.
Dominic Cummings former advisor to embattled Boris was also caught breaching lockdown rules after driving to stay with his family.
Labour MP Stephen Kinnock also travelled to see his family for a birthday party, when everyone else was at home.
Meanwhile in Scotland, Scotland’s chief medical officer, Catherine Calderwood apologised after her hands were also caught prising open the lockdown cookie jar. She was joined by the likes of Jeremy Corbyn, Gavin Williamson and SNP MP Margaret Ferrier, who were all seen flouting the rules adhered to by us mere mortals.
And let us not forget the disgraced Matthew Hancock, who was figuratively caught with his pants down after mooching with his side chick, Gina Coladangelo at a time when he was meant to be behaving himself.
Even Neil Ferguson, the epidemiologist and government adviser who convinced Boris to introduce the rules in the first place, was caught breaking them.
This is why I say that partygate was a somewhat bipartisan affair. It is merely a symptom of the rot that has set into our political system from day one.
So the next time a politician smirks at you and tells you ‘we’re all in it together’, rest assured that for once they’re telling the truth — they most certainly are.
Where’s The Opposition At?
To say that in its current state, the Labour party is weak opposition to the Tories is putting it mildly.
Let’s take the master fence sitter Keir Starmer for example. If you had to create a caricature of a sleazy politician, this guy would be it. He was the head of the CPS at the time when charges were dropped against the suspected paedophile Jimmy Saville. This uninspiring guy also famously failed to back a public enquiry into claims over VIP paedophile rings.
Now those claims may or may not be complete donkey doo-doo, but thanks to the skilled fence sitting rabble rousers in charge, we’ll never know.
He also failed to commit to any particular policy or ‘side’ when it came to the lockdowns but then pivoted and called for the lockdown to be extended when restrictions began to be lifted.
But I don’t want to just focus on the leadership here. Cutting the head off the snake doesn’t get rid of the other reptiles.
In a party system, it doesn’t matter who the gang leader is — the policies are the same.
The list of broken Labour policies is about as long as the River Nile. They’ve broken every policy from building new affordable houses, increasing street cleaning, free breakfast schemes and the introduction of named park keepers. Regardless of how you feel about these policies, these are just a handful of manifesto items that Labour has barked about over the years and then promptly abandoned.
And let’s not forget the debacle over the NHS. While the Tories are systematically continuing to sell off as much of the NHS as they can, this process was actually started under Blair’s government, with the introduction of independent sector treatment centres run by private companies.
Then in 2012, the Tory Lib-Dem coalition government, continued the privatisation, and made it mandatory for commissioners to put every new NHS service (above a trivial size) out to tender.
So while Labour has been vocal about the privatisation of the NHS, it actually kicked off the process.
Why Real Change is Needed
I give these examples only to show that it really doesn’t matter which party you vote for. Transformative change won’t come from ousting Johnson because fresh faces alone won’t reboot a broken system.
The first real step would be to get rid of the FPTP system and pave the way for actual alternatives to come to the fore. And I really don’t know how you change a system which requires you to be a millionaire before you can even run for office. But until we get not-for-profit, bipartisan organisations helping to fund real change and real leaders, then we will always have a political class.
The political class are the undesirables squeezed out by Eton that coincidentally happen to always get positions as our ‘betters’. And while we might like to think that the likes of Boris, Clegg, Cameron and Starmer are free and fair agents of a democratic system, it seems more than a little bizarre that they all come from the same schools and universities.
As the old saying goes ‘democracy is like two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.’
The second step would be to make manifesto promises contractual — and therefore obligatory. It might expose just what a political party is or is not willing to commit to.
At the moment, there is no serious appetite for change. And while that may seem strange in the wake of Boris Johnson’s political funeral, mediocre token steps to appease the public is simply not enough.
History is saturated with people that bravely fought for freedom and democracy. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the fight isn’t over yet.
It’s only just begun.
So that is why I don’t yet feel like partying as hard as Boris did.
I don’t like the man, but I’m also pretty sure I’m not going to like whatever used car salesman replaces him.