Opinion: ‘It’s time for the Prime Minister to go’

Councillor Shaz Nawaz, Labour Group leader on Peterborough City Council, writes...

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 23rd January 2022, 3:15 pm
Boris Johnson.
Boris Johnson.

I believe most of us were raised to believe that there is a correct way to deal with one’s failings and mistakes: acknowledge them, apologise, and make amends.

We are all human and can stumble into error; it is via mistakes that we, as individuals, grow. However, there must be that cycle: acknowledgement, apologise and making amends.

I do not care to speculate about Boris Johnson’s childhood.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

But somewhere along the way he either was never taught or simply forgot this lesson.

There was (and perhaps still is) a culture of excessive drinking and partying at 10 Downing Street; this occurred during the most inappropriate times, not just during lockdown, when such gatherings were forbidden, but even when the country was in a state of national mourning for the death of Prince Philip.

I do not buy that Boris Johnson somehow inherited this culture.

Put it another way: can you see any office run by Theresa May giving into excess of any kind?

Boris Johnson is responsible.

This is a duty that he sought, not was thrust upon him: he rose up through the Conservative Party with the ambition and intent to become leader and Prime Minister.

He has reached that dizzying height. But once one is at the top, there is nowhere higher one can shift the blame. Number 10 Downing Street is his office as well as his residence.

Whatever culture exists there is because he has either allowed it or willed it into being; his choices of personnel have reinforced this culture. It is a culture that is disrespectful; it flouts the law believing itself to be beyond its reach. It is a culture that ignores the suffering of the nation. It is a culture that allows those who are supposed to be public servants to be soaked in booze while thousands mourn.

A flurry of “initiatives” are coming out of the Conservative government now: they include changes to the BBC. No doubt more “red meat” will be offered up, which is intended to satiate what they think the voters crave. Headlines in some tabloids will continue to speak of a “fight back”.

It is window dressing, a shabby stage set dragged out to obscure the shambolic reality: we have a government that cannot do the mature and responsible thing of acknowledging its failings, apologising fully and making true amends.

It was only when Her Majesty was potentially offended that a hasty apology was offered.

I agree with Keir Starmer: it is in the national interest that Johnson should be made to go. If he cannot be sufficiently mature to do the right thing in this instance, he lacks the strength and character to do the right thing at any other juncture.

I say this knowing that it is politically advantageous to the Labour Party that Johnson remains; he is less popular than his party, and the longer he remains, the more his blemishes transpose themselves on the Conservatives as a whole. But political advantage in this be damned.

We have many challenges ahead ranging from ending the pandemic to dealing with the cost of living. A rotting, enfeebled, irresponsible government cannot possibly contend with them all and yet satisfy its more extreme acolytes.

It’s time for Johnson to go.