A Nightmare Before Christmas : The Conservative Christmas Party - An Opinion Piece

An opinion piece on the recent news and implications of The Conservative Christmas Party in December 2020.

A Nightmare Before Christmas : The Conservative Christmas Party - An Opinion Piece

For most of us the worst consequence of festive work parties is hangovers the morning after; Boris Johnson however woke up to accusations, resignations and his reputation in disrepute, one would hazard a guess that both he and his party would have certainly preferred the latter. This of course comes after over a year of double-standards, mixed messages and blunders by The Conservatives in what one can only describe as a grave mismanagement of the pandemic. 

The Evening Before … 

The entire affair can be understandably overwhelming and the narrative of events easily lost. On 16TH December 2020, London was put in the highest tier of restrictions before Christmas. On 17TH December 2020, @GovUK’s Twitter account explicitly forbade any festive gatherings; tweeting in reply to one user that “you must not have a work Christmas lunch or party …”. Yet, No. 10 hosted a staff party that contravened their own guidance on 18TH December 2020. One would rightfully be outraged learning of this fiasco alone but as if to add insult to injury – 22ND December 2020 saw these same staff host a mock press conference joking of the fact, a joke which ultimately led to the resignation of the COP-26 Spokesperson - Allegra Stratton. 

… The Morning After

The fact that this party was held and jokes were cracked seemingly at the public’s expense while thousands of people were infected, hospitalised and even died as a result of COVID-19, is only one of the many things that are wrong about what happened on 18TH December 2020. The main problem is that this is the latest in a long line of misgivings committed by the party; PPE contracts, Dominic Cummings’ scandal and more recently Matt Hancock’s scandal, all during a time we need strong leadership to survive a once in a lifetime health emergency. No, the real scandal here is the lack of accountability that is enjoyed by The Conservatives. Alan Dershowitz put it plainly, “candor and accountability in a democracy is very important”. Yet, what is becoming an increasingly one-party system is not conducive to accountability – we must not accept token gestures such as the rumoured resignation of the incumbent PM. This is not about partisan politics but the virality of the democracy our country is built upon, our government must be held accountable not only during times of crisis but indeed beyond; beginning with The Conservative Christmas Party.

Sources

•    BBC News (2020) ‘Dominic Cummings : Fact-Checking The Row’, 30TH May. Available At: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/52828076 

•    BBC News (2021) ‘Matt Hancock Quits As Health Secretary After Breaking Social Distance Guidance’, 27TH June. Available At: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-57625508 

•    BBC News (2021) ‘PMQs : Boris Johnson Sorry For Offence Caused By Aides Joking About Lockdown Party’, 8TH December. Available At: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-59580640 

•    GOV.UK (2020) 17TH December. Available At: https://twitter.com/GOVUK/status/1339594604522270721 (Accessed 8TH December 2021)

•    Open Democracy (2020) Government Accused Of ‘Cronyism’ After Tory Councillor Wins £156M COVID Contract. Available At: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/dark-money-investigations/government-accused-of-cronyism-after-tory-councillor-wins-156m-covid-contract/ (Accessed 8TH December 2021)

Header Image Credit: BBC Radio 4

Author

Dheeraj Chutani

Dheeraj Chutani Kickstart

Dheeraj is a recent postgraduate having graduated with a BA and MA in Politics from The University Of Leicester. He is interested in all things politics and current affairs but when he is not catching up with all the latest headlines, he enjoys reading, jogging, weight-lifting and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ).

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