When an argument is taken too far

Until today I had been quite concerned about the allegations that there were Chrsitmas Parties in Number ten and other government buildings last christmas.

It is essential that the same rules and laws apply, and are seen to apply, to everyone - we cannot have one rule for the people who work at the heart of government and a different rule for the rest of us.

I thought - and still do think -  it was essential that the country's senior civil servant has been asked to check what was going on in Number Ten on the dates mentioned by the BBC.  There cannot be one rule for the people who work in government and another for everyone else.

There needs to be transparency about what actually did happen, 

However, the BBC did not allege that the PM attended the party which they say took place on 18th Decembet - indeed they reported that he wasn't there. Facebook posts and a report in the local Bolton newspaper posted on that day suggests that in fact the PM was 200 miles away visiting the Openreach training centre in Bolton.

Some pictures have come out today showing the PM taking part in a virtual quiz over Zoom - if that's the best evidence Keir Starmer and the Mirror have of him taking part in any breach of COVID-19 regulations they have lost the plot and taken the issue way beyond the evidence. They will have nobody but themselves to blame if people stop taking their allegations seriously.



Jim said…
However you look at it trust in the current government has hit "net zero". Many people see Boris attempt at a Dead Cat by declaring an Omicron emergency as an absolute joke. The sad fact is many people won't have Basseterre simply because the current government are telling them to do so.

Fwiw I think its a shame the current pm should go down over "partygate" really would have rather seen his end for one or more of the many serious policy errors of the current government. Though I guess its often the case that the small things are the downfall, like the authorities having to get Al Capone on tax evasion.
Chris Whiteside said…
It is so often the case that not being upfront about what has gone wrong does more damage than the original mistake, and frankly that appears to be exactly what happened with whatever took place in Downing Street last December.

We do not yet know how serious a threat Omicron poses because it has not been confirmed what proportion of people in this country who get the Omicron variant will need hospital treatment or how many will, sadly die.

We do know that it is spreading at a frightening rate, so much so that if the proportion of those who get it who become seriously ill could be substantially lower than with the Delta variant and it would still put more people in hospital because a smaller proportion of a much larger number can be greater than the larger proportion of a much smaller number.

The fact remains that it is not just politicians who are telling people to take the jabs and the anti-COVID drugs, it is doctors, scientists and the clinical leaders of the NHS.
Chris Whiteside said…
At the time I made the original post the issue was being investigated by Cabinet Secretary Simon Case.

Concerns were then raised about what had been billed at the time as a Christmas party held by Simon Case's own staff last year. This raised legitimate concerns about whether he was the right person to conduct the investigation. It is clearly important that whoever does so should be seen to be independent and impartial and should not be open to charges of having acted in the same way or turned a blind eye to the same conduct he or she was investigating.

It was subsequently announced yesterday (17th December 2021) that Simon Case has stepped down from conducting the inquiry into Christmas Parties in government offices last year. This was the right decision.

A government statement said that the investigation will be taken over by veteran civil servant Sue Gray, second permanent secretary at the Communities and levelling up department.

“She will ascertain the facts and present her findings to the prime minister,” the statement added.

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