Mark Steel points out the double standards surrounding Boris Johnson’s lockdown parties versus the Keir Starmer curry as Tories dismiss stories every time they are caught up to no good
Image: Adam Gerrard / Daily Mirror)
Around 100 fines have now been handed out for government gatherings that broke lockdown rules. Ministers will probably appeal against them on the grounds that technically there was only one party, which lasted from the day the lockdown began in March 2020 until last Tuesday.
Maybe there was the odd moment when the number of people getting hammered in the Downing Street garden dwindled to 150, but then it took off again so there should just be one fine.
In any case, Jacob Rees-Mogg assured us the fines are a “non-story”, especially as the laws were “too restrictive”.
Maybe they can use this defence for whatever they’re caught doing next?
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Boris Johnson will say we shouldn’t make a fuss about Michael Gove stealing a steamroller and driving it through an old people’s home, as the rules against steamroller-theft are far too restrictive.
In any case, Michael had been working hard on his speech about Brexit opportunities, and that’s his way of relaxing.
We should all be allowed to do it. We can say we parked in a bus lane for four months because the rules were too restrictive, and we’ll be fine.
Putin will say the rules we made about shelling a city to bits were too restrictive, so you can’t blame someone for relaxing by surrounding Kyiv with tanks, after a hard day at the Kremlin.
Newspapers that support the Prime Minister have had headlines screaming: “Don’t they know there’s a war on?!!!! Why is there all this fuss while Ukraine is being invaded?” But now the story has taken another turn, and the same papers shriek: “ KEIR STARMER HAD AN ONION BHAJI DURING LOCKDOWN!!!**???!!! Some people are still dribbling on about Ukraine, but who cares about that when Starmer had a SIP OF LAGER!!%$££*!”
Supporters of Johnson are like a football manager complaining “their player did a clear handball that he should have been sent off for. On the other hand, the incident in which our goalkeeper released a panther that ate all their defenders is a non-story. In any case, the rules about deadly animals on the pitch were too restrictive”.
Starmer has offered to resign if the police investigation into him leads to a penalty notice, so one Conservative newspaper had a front page saying: “Starmer piles pressure on police.”
That’s typical of the scoundrel. The police must be sick of people who put pressure on them by saying they’ll accept the verdict of any case made against them. When a bank robber says, “If I’m convicted, I’ll agree to go to prison”, this puts an unfair burden on the police… as if they’re not busy enough.
The standards of public life have been eroded by these people who resign when they’re caught breaking the rules.
Instead, when they are caught ignoring the laws they insisted everyone else should follow, they should do the decent thing and tell everyone to shut up going on about it as they can do whatever they want.
Because they are men of honour.