Boris Johnson has been in political hot water for months after it was discovered he and some of his closest mates in the British government defied the strict lockdown orders issued by his own government and held several parties during the early days of the pandemic.
Judging by the report just released by the senior British civil servant who was tasked with investigating the parties, you have to wish that our national leaders would party this hearty — lockdown or not.
Johnson has apologized for his “bad form,” as the British say. But with typical understatement: it’s actually a political earthquake.
The report on this bacchanal is fairly dry — considering the lurid details.
A scuffle broke out, one attendee was sick and excessive amounts of alcohol were consumed when workers at Downing Street held a party in the middle of Britain’s coronavirus crisis as the rest of the country was observing strict lockdown rules.
The incidents happened at a leaving party on June 18, 2020, that began in the Cabinet Room and later moved to the nearby Cabinet Secretary’s room with the last member of staff leaving at 3:13 a.m. the following morning.
There were several other parties as well, including one where red wine ended up on the walls and spilled over onto photocopying paper.
Johnson was fined by police for attending one of the parties, but otherwise, no serious lawbreaking was observed or reported.
Some of the 16 events under investigation were held at 10 Downing Street — Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official home and office — and the Cabinet Office, and should not have been allowed to take place, investigator Sue Gray concluded in her 37-page report, adding that “other events should not have been allowed to develop as they did.”
In April, Johnson was fined for attending his birthday party, making him the first British prime minister ever found to have broken the law while in office.
“What took place at many of these gatherings and the way in which they developed was not in line with COVID guidance at the time,” Gray said.
That may be true, but it was the guy’s birthday, for crying out loud. Can’t you cut him some slack for that?
The problem for Johnson is the same problem Gavin Newsom and other American politicians faced when they were caught busting COVID protocols to enjoy themselves. Ordinary people are stuck inside, unable to visit family or friends, unable to go to weddings or funerals. And here, they see big-shot politicians — most of them wealthy — thumbing their nose at the “little people” while they enjoy fine food and the company of other wealthy people.
But so far, Johnson has been able to weather the political storm. But if more revelations about those parties surface, Johnson will likely be forced to resign in disgrace.