FEATURE: OPINION – “Jingle Bells, Our Government Smells”

By Sean Mulryan – Current Affairs Editor

Crude, though the title may be, it perfectly encapsulates the unnerving ineptitude of those that are elected to govern us. I am sure that the recent events emerging from Downing Street have not escaped your attention, however I shall inform those that are enviously unaware. I apologise in advance. It is alleged that in December of last year, a Christmas party took place within the halls of Downing Street during the height of the pandemic, whilst millions were prohibited from seeing their families. This must be a joke, right? A joke it is, but unfortunately the joke is most certainly on us; it appears only Downing Street officials happen to find it incredibly funny. So much so, that they are quite literally laughing at us! Leaked footage shows a dress rehearsal of buoyant and upbeat senior members of Downing Street giggling in galling fashion at reports of a Christmas party.

Former Press Secretary Allegra Stratton resigned yesterday after the report came out, ITV News

Within the video, exclusive to ITV news, there is a rather informal interaction between the then spokeswoman for Boris Johnson, Allegra Stratton, and a special advisor to the prime minister, Ed Oldfield. The main quotes circulating social media as of writing include a line from Mr Oldfield, “I’ve just seen reports on Twitter that there was a Downing Street Christmas party on Friday night, do you recognise those reports?”. Ms Stratton blurts into laughter, quickly composes herself and asks, “What’s the answer?” all whilst having a sickly grin plastered across her face.

We are no fools. We don’t believe every single statement to emerge from callas government media spin, naturally so. But to see such flagrant disregard for the public, to mock a situation in which they have clearly violated numerous COVID-19 sanctions – set out by themselves I must add – lowers the bar to depths I thought unimaginable.

Downing Street officials in the leaked media dress rehearsal video, ITV News

To see such a mockery made of us is disheartening, and the most concerning factor of the leaked video is the clear indication that they have tried to hide it. What is the answer that the honourable lady attempts to seek? What can be said to throw the hounds off the scent? She jokes that, “It was a business meeting”; a meeting in which social distance was not a factor. As this alleged event was occurring, London itself was incurring tier 3 restrictions that dealt specifically in ensuring social gatherings were forbidden. On the 19th of December 2020, a day following the alleged party in Downing Street, Boris Johnson announced that, “…we cannot continue with Christmas”, placing our beloved holiday on hold and isolating millions. A sad reality of this current discussion is that it is all futile. Not for one minute am I suggesting we let the people involved off the hook. They deserve the full wrath of the public. I mean futile in the sense that it is already time lost. It is already time we will never get back with our loved ones, which was only tolerable because we were protecting ourselves and our families in curbing the spread of COVID-19. Meanwhile, the elites partied making it less tolerable. To have lost that time when the very people setting out the rules simultaneously violated them. It is time we will never get back and an unspeakable act of treachery that cannot be forgotten.

The current figure for total number of COVID-19 related deaths stands at 145,987. Many of us have been left bereft with the death of close friends and family throughout the pandemic. Known to the touch of the virus in some shape or form. We’ve been scared for our health, been careful to take the necessary precautions to ensure we do not inflict this heinous illness onto someone else, and we have abided by the sanctions and rules set out by the government, only to be let down time and time again by officials within our government.

Labour Leader Keir Starmer stated that Boris is “taking the public for fools”

Labour party leader Keir Starmer rather poignantly stated that Boris is “taking the public for fools” in his denial and that the public “followed the rules even when that meant being separated from their families”. This is hard to disagree with. I feel like a proper apology is in order, but I also know that we will never get one, not a real one anyway. Resignations will follow, there will be attempts to reconcile with the precious voters, but it will be nothing short of tokenism. This is just another scandal to heap upon the ever-growing pile of shameful activities we have suffered throughout the last two years, from the poor eyesight of Dominic Cummings to the infamous remarks around letting the bodies pile high from Boris, and now Stratton’s laughter. The only reasonable question left to ask is, when will it end?

Editorial Note – A Return to My Opinionated Self

“You’re joking – not another one?” were the infamous words of Brenda from Bristol hearing the news of another snap election back in 2017. At the time, my own sentiments were incredibly similar to that of the brilliant, brilliant Brenda from Bristol. The purpose of parliamentary terms is to have a degree of stability in the country between the civilised overthrowing of government we call elections. But, in all honesty, can Conservative voters really claim that this is what they voted for? Brexit is a contentious issue, yet we should still recognise and respect the wishes of the people; I, nevertheless, find it incredibly hard to believe that this remarkable degree of incompetency is what they voted for. Whilst Keir Starmer is far from ideal – with his own internal workers informing those in the know that Starmer is a “five-year project” – he is surely preferable when it comes to ability to govern? Or at least ability to stick by his own rules? The Conservative Party have done all they can to demonstrate their incapacity to lead, and in a record-breaking (probably) amount of time, they have sewn enough resentment within the country that it is unquestionably time to bring this nation-desecrating calamity to an end. If an election were to be called, I for one would back it.

This story, as well as the others we’ve covered in the Gown Newspaper over the passed year and a half should make you angry. If you’re not, then that is your prerogative. But if the Government’s previously somewhat covert policy of “one rule for them, no rules for us” does make your blood boil, then it’s time to become politically active; I sincerely do not care which party or ideology you advocate for, but I will be amazed if anyone can even attempt justify this Government’s continuation.

The Gown Newspaper will continue to report on the incompetency found in the hallways of Number 10 Downing Street.

Published by The Gown Queen's University Belfast

The Gown has provided respected, quality and independent student journalism from Queen's University, Belfast since its 1955 foundation, by Dr. Richard Herman. Having had an illustrious line of journalists and writers for almost 70 years, that proud history is extremely important to us. The Gown is consistent in its quest to seek and develop the talents of aspiring student writers.

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