They really don’t care, do they, these Conservatives? They don’t care how they’re seen by the public. They don’t care if they break the law. They don’t care about the optics of selecting accused/under-investigation rapists retaining the whip. They don’t care about trashing the economy/the environment/the NHS/people’s lives or the UK’s reputation.
Instead, they appear to have made a decision to embody all the very worst aspects of the human race.
Take Robert Jenrick (please). He is Immigration Minister, a role for which he is evidently well-suited in the Home Office’s culture of sadistic and performative cruelty under the leadership of Suella/Cruella Braverman.
In what looks like a bid to outdo Braverman for sheer callousness, he ordered murals of cartoon characters at a children’s asylum reception centre to be painted over (at a cost, naturally!). Why? Because they helped to create a welcoming, reassuring, child-friendly environment for kids arriving, alone and traumatised in a strange land, having fled danger … and this government can’t have that!
This government seems determined to demonstrate that it is on the side of the xenophobes, haters, tabloid readers and GB News viewers who have been told, over and over, that the country is being wrecked by immigration, that the cost of living crisis and every ill can be assigned to refugees and that we are being overrun by criminals arriving on small boats.
‘Look how we crush any glimmer of hope or joy! Delight in our cruelty performed in your name! It’s the people’s wish! The people’s priority!’
But this is not our priority and not who we are, is it? Lord Dubs, who has personal experience of the trauma of being a child fleeing war and terror, had this to say:
“Something has shifted in the public mood regarding refugees. I’ve been tweeting about refugees for many years but never before received such an upswell of sympathy, and near universal condemnation of the government’s callous approach. Thank you to everyone for your positive tweets!”
Children’s champion, Michael Rosen, was moved to write this reworking of Auden’s ‘Stop all the clocks’ in response:
“Paint over Mickey Mouse
Burn Where the Wild Things Are
Pulverise the Lego
Set fire to the Christmas tree star.
“Seize all the teddies.
Bury every skipping rope
Paint the walls dark brown
Abolish all hope.”
By the by, the perpetrator of this evil is the same ‘Honest Bob’ Jenrick who acted unlawfully over a £1bn London housing development and saved Tory donor and billionaire Richard Desmond between £30m and £50m which should have gone to Tower Hamlets, one of London’s poorest boroughs. It was money that would have been invested in community projects. Hey, you might even call it a bit of levelling up.
Of course, there was no consequence for this breach of the ministerial code, just as there will be no consequence for his callousness. It’s a perma-feature of this government. Illegal, immoral and incompetent actions carry no penalty.
Johnson, that master of deceit and deflection, conveniently forgot his generous promise to hand over his phone and its WhatsApp messages to the Covid Inquiry, and failed to comply with a court order to honour that promise. Johnson, who has happily gloated about the ease with which the public’s eye can be drawn away from scandal and calumny to gaze at some bauble, decided to wait until breach of deadline day to announce that his dynasty had expanded by one a week earlier. A live baby will serve as well as a dead cat, it seems. And heaven knows, Johnson has an almost unending requirement for dead cats …
But what consequence will there be for Johnson’s obstruction of a court order?
And what of the seven MPs found in contempt of parliament over the Privileges Committee report into Johnson’s repeated lying?
Sunak, the self-styled champion of integrity, once again ducked out of a debate on integrity in politics and, whilst the seven were found to have been in contempt, no punishment has been suggested, let alone meted out. One of the offenders is Nadine Dorries, so contemptuous of parliament that she doesn’t bother to show up anymore, and rendered extra venomous having been deemed unworthy of elevation to the peerage. She has yet to do her constituency the service of resigning properly (having resigned and rescinded) so they can elect someone who might just make an attempt to represent them rather than focusing on their media career and ambitions for ennoblement.
Consequence of being in contempt and not doing her job as an MP?
Now you, dear reader, probably know about all of this stuff (and this is a mere tip of the dirty iceberg) because you read Peter Stefanovic and Marina Purkiss and Byline Times etc.
But most people do not. It is our duty to make sure that they do.
It is also our duty to try to sustain each other as the fury mounts at the endless ‘getting away with it’.
You can well understand why fantastic parliamentarians and genuinely altruistic MPs like Caroline Lucas and Mhairi Black felt ground down by the toxicity and head-bangingly god-awful depravity and dishonesty of current politics. But we have to fight on. Call it out. Keep calling it out.
One day, justice will be served …
Meanwhile, here’s Jenny Jones reminding us that compassion and kindness are strengths, not weaknesses: