Today, May 24th, is within the midst of a furore about the behaviour of the Prime Minister’s adviser Dominic Cummings regarding Covid-19 lockdown rules and associated responses from the Prime Minister and some of his cabinet colleagues. Prevailing consensus of opinion and reaction among the public is that Cummings was wrong to avoid the lockdown rules and was more wrong to lie about his avoidance and that Johnson and colleagues were undemocratically wrong to continue to support Cummings even as more facts emerged about his behaviour.
Politicians (including some Tories), journalists (including several Tories) and an eclectic collection of centrist observers, columnists, talking heads and celebrities expressed their shock, emotionally, with dollops of incredulity. Apparently, never in the history of British democracy has an elected Prime Minister behaved as Johnson did recently and never have these keen observers ever witnessed such venality and contempt.
Some of the conservative and centrist analysis of Johnson and co.’s mendacious obfuscation, misdirection and evasion was accurate but infused exhaustively with hypocrisy and faux surprise. Conservatives wanted a Tory government regardless of who was its leader and they knew where Johnson sat politically, to whom he chose to be accountable and were fully aware of his abject lack of integrity, professionalism, moral compass and honesty. How can they expect their protestations of surprise and despair at his decisions and performance following Cummings’ transgressions are reactions that could be accepted as genuine?
Centrists are aghast at what happened, or didn’t happen; they announced the birth of a new epoch whose key feature is depravity that eschews civilisation, society and democracy. Shocked and stunned into stupor, the centrist kittens couldn’t comprehend the creation and evolution of such a calamitous and evil government and they were amazed at the fantastic grotesque that materialised inexplicably in front of them. Knowledge of Johnson and cohorts’ previous acts, words and objectives disappeared from the centrists’ memories as did any concepts of libertarian hard-right proposals for the fiscal economy.
Centrists clung to an imagined prediction, founded in quicksand, that Boris Johnson, a typical product of the Eton machine with a long history of lying, offensiveness and obedience to the desires of extremist capitalist exploiters, would magically transform into a different person when elected Prime Minister. They chose to cling to that fantasy because, for the awful centrist gloop, anything but socialism was, and is, the only principle. Johnson, who, in a just society, would have been imprisoned indefinitely long ago, was preferable for the centrists than a genuine shift toward socialism.
Astonishment and disillusionment were real consequences of how the Tory government behaved regarding Cummings’ lockdown breaches but even some of the reactions speckled with veracity were displayed by people who chose to stifle their acquired knowledge of what Johnson and colleagues were and chose to resist easy deductive analysis of how the government would proceed and conduct itself.
Johnson and Cummings, two like-minded characters with similar agenda, are, and have always been, opposed demonstrably to a functioning civilised society. Their faith lies elsewhere as gofers for economic extremists. Their aims and ambitions were always visible brightly but wilful ignorance by observers consumed the latter so completely that they believed their own cries of amazement at what the former said and did.
Factually, the current British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is exactly as he was expected to be. He is dim, a sociopath and an employee of a capitalist elite who want to use him and to use Brexit as tools to steal Britain from its inhabitants. Cummings, an experienced manipulator and conman, is an important cog though not indispensable. Nothing that Cummings said or did was surprising and nothing that Johnson or his cabinet colleagues said subsequently was surprising. They are what they are.
The Tory government’s utter contempt for the public, and for the law, is reprehensible and it is right to be violently angry in response. However, conservatives’ and centrists’ responses are not grounded in consistency.