Toxic entitlement: letter to the editor

“Champagne Mumm” by dpotera is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Dear West Country Voices,

When news about ‘the party’ first came to light, Johnson and his crew tried to spin it as a ‘Westminster bubble’ story. To everyone else, it looked as if they were just thumbing their noses at the suffering of ordinary people who had followed the rules and suffered greatly as a result. The anger has spread and become a common talking point, with #PartyGate and #OneRuleForThem spreading across social media. Why do they feel entitled to ignore the rules? When the initial anger and disgust die down, their lack of respect is what will stay with people.

The rehearsed press conference at Number 10 brought back memories of so many encounters when I have observed ‘the entitled’ meeting with the ‘ordinary’. One in particular sticks: the retired head of a large international bank, who was a member of the board of trustees of a local hospice, and the hospice’s voluntary receptionists.

Fire regulations said all visitors must sign in and out of the building. Not a big ask, but one he always refused to comply with as he breezed past the desk. The implication was that this rule was for ‘little people’ whereas he should be known by all. Not surprisingly, many receptionists did not know who he was and were disconcerted by not being able to do their job as they had been asked to. Some even found dealing with him so stressful they stopped volunteering.

This same attitude infects our government. How dare we suggest they apply to themselves the same standards of behaviour and accountability that apply to the rest of us! This lack of humility and concern for others can do nothing but harm at any level. If institutionalised distraction and lying are now to be accepted without consequences, we are on a perilous path.

Writing to my MP is pretty useless because he is one of them – a Conservative MP who doesn’t think he should be bothered by little people, whose votes he takes for granted in his safe seat. But bother him I will – so should we all – until they start to show some respect and accountability for their actions. 

Barbara Leonard,