OPINION: PM broke his own rules - he has to go
- Credit: PA
Boris Johnson has to go. In light of the Downing Street parties, he has to go.
I’ve read many stories this past week of what others were doing on May 20, 2020 and I’ve never been more certain we have a government that’s out of touch with the rest of the nation..
In contrast to rule bending and flouting, people have shared how they couldn’t hold hands of dying loved ones, be they in hospitals for Covid-related illnesses or otherwise.
Some have told stories from the other end of the circle of life, when they had to give birth without their partners, so strict were the rules back then. And in between are a whole host of experiences shared where loneliness, unhappiness and difficult decisions were made with the greater good in mind because that is what we were told we had to do.
We were in lockdown, just as we had been for 58 days since prime minister Boris Johnson had told us to stay home and save lives. Everyone, aside from key workers and co-parenting teams (support bubbles were yet to be introduced) had to comply.
We were not allowed to visit the homes of friends or family for any reason and, though we could, in just days earlier changes to the rules, meet one person from outside our homes, this was very strictly to be outside, in a public place, where we had to keep two metres apart at all times. Those who broke the rules were arrested and fined.
Children were not at school, university students at home with their parents, the nation, aside from key workers, were trying as best they could to work from home and any gatherings, of which many are documented, from protests to parties, were broken up by officers of the law. Because it was law breaking to not adhere to the instructed rules by our prime minister.
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Weddings were cancelled and funerals attended with limited mourners. Indeed, nearly a whole year later, our own Queen sat alone at the funeral of her husband. We were living at the height of the pandemic and it was necessary, because on May 20, 2020 there were: 2,472 new cases confirmed (testing was still limited), 9,563 people with COVID in hospital (1,034 of those on mechanical ventilators), no safety passed vaccines, and 328 deaths were recorded as Covid-related bringing the total number of deaths to 34,794.
It was the week the government changed their messages to read ‘stay home, protect the NHS, save lives’ and ‘stay alert, control the virus, save lives’.
Yet on May 20, 2020, just after culture secretary Oliver Dowden held the daily coronavirus news briefing outside number 10, a party was held in the garden.
Literally, just as Oliver Dowden reiterated those newly jargon changed messages and told us that England was on alert level 4 (of the brand new alert level system) to show that transmission was currently high or rising exponentially, the now famous Downing Street ‘BYOB’ party was in full swing.
The invite sent by Mr Johnson’s principle private secretary Martin Reynolds asked more than 100 people to join the revelry and at least 40 people gathered in Mr Johnson’s garden for picnic food and drinks. Of the 40 plus attendees it’s crucial to know that Mr Johnson and his wife were among them.
I haven’t been to Downing Street’s garden but I think it would be quite hard to contain a party in a garden of a London street without the occupier at least knowing about it, so of course, it makes perfect sense that they were there, enjoying their own booze and chatting with friends who were colleagues but very definitely not doing any kind of key working on that evening in the early summer we found ourselves gifted with. An early summer most of us took as an antidote to all the sacrifices we were making.
I, myself, thank goodness, don’t have a terrible story to share from that date. I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I was playing by the rules and doing my best to keep my family, and everyone else, safe.
I listened to our government, despite the many failings I believe they’ve brought to our country (pandemic related or otherwise), because it was the right thing to do and I didn’t want to to endure any of the horrors bestowed on those who had the virus.
I was in my own garden with my family. Would it have been nice to “make the most of the lovely weather and enjoy socially distanced drinks with friends”, just as the invitation to the Downing Street party had asked? Of course, it was the perfect moment but instead we made the best of it as I expected everyone else, not least those in charge, were doing.
That evening I floated on a lilo inside our 10ft paddling pool which we’d bought to pick up the mood for our children who were missing their friends, missing grandparents and sad that life had changed so dramatically.
I remember at that time feeling lucky to be well, to have everyone I loved healthy, and that it was all a sacrifice worth making. I missed my mum terribly but aside from all the good reasons to protect ourselves and others, not breaking rules, not breaking the law, was also teaching our children how to be decent human beings. A lesson avoided by our government we now know, and, at the helm, our prime minister.
It's my opinion that Boris Johnson has to go.
Young people need to know those running our country are decent, honest, good and don’t ask of others the sacrifices they are not prepared to make themselves.
Children learn by example and right now the example needs to be set that this behaviour won’t be ignored.
For the BYOB party, the rule breaking and the blatant disregard for every family like mine who played by his rules, let alone all the families who lost so much, he has to go!
Ruth Davies has a parenting blog at www.rocknrollerbaby.co.uk