Boris Johnson's Tories are breaking the rules so blatantly they must think public were all born yesterday – Angus Robertson MSP
Get the feeling that the Tories think that they can get away with everything and anything?
They certainly believe its one rule for them and another for everyone else. The Conservatives now face legitimate and serious questions of impropriety on a weekly basis, if not more often. Their default reply: obfuscate and dissemble.
In fact, even if they are in no doubt whatsoever, but know the truth ain’t pretty, they obfuscate more.
This last week saw the revelation that there was, at least, one large gathering at the Prime Minister’s residence during the height of lockdown, a time when such gatherings were prohibited.
Did this event happen? Why was it allowed? Why does the Prime Minister’s office not have to follow the rules he has set for everyone else?
These are perfectly legitimate and basic questions. No one has denied the claims outright, yet spokespeople and politicians have been trotted out to attempt to spout enough piffle, as Boris would say, to cloud the facts.
After the meaningless statements from No 10, Conservative MP Maggie Throup was pushed in front of the BBC Question Time audience for a grilling.
"Was there a party, yes or no?” asked Theo Paphitis. A mumbled response about guidance always being followed in Downing Street was met with audible sighs. “Does that answer your question?” Fiona Bruce asked the audience. “No!” came the unanimous response.
And the question remained unanswered not only on Question Time, but the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, when Dominic Raab was quizzed on the matter.
In spite of it being several days following the initial revelations about the party and the knowledge he would be asked about it on air, Mr Raab had not bothered to do any digging to find out whether it was true.
Furthermore, Raab took aim at the BBC’s investigative journalists, saying the multiple sources given to the BBC about the party were anonymous and therefore discountable. But, above all, he was also quick to assure viewers he wasn’t at the party that may or may not have happened.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Mr Raab has failed to have the necessary facts to hand. When he was Secretary of State for Exiting the EU and facing difficult questions about Brexit’s effect on stipulations of the Good Friday Agreement on the Irish border, he admitted to having not actually read the Good Friday Agreement. For Mr Raab, when the difficulties come, the details go.
While all this is going on, another Tory sleaze scandal trundles on. The House of Commons standards watchdog has formally announced that Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross is being investigated for possible breaches of the MPs’ code of conduct, having failed to declare about £21,000 in earnings from his job as an MSP and £7,000 earned for work in his third job as a football referee.
It’s just one thing after another. The longer Boris Johnson’s government is in power, the more we see scandal, hypocrisy, and corruption. Every time they are caught out, they duck and dodge questions, try everything to pull the wool over the eyes of the public with obfuscation.
Here’s one last question that I am sure the UK government will decline to answer: do you think we were all born yesterday?