Party news from Britain and–oh, you know, other places

The recent news from Britain demonstrates my theory that politicians aren’t brought down by corruption, by undermining democracy, or by heartlessness toward the vulnerable. It’s the human-size scandals that do them in. Not the kind that  wreck a country–we’ve developed a high tolerance for country-wrecking–but the ones that show the politicians as human-size jerks, people no larger than ourselves who we can afford to wipe off our plates.

Yes, it restores my faith in the basic lunacy of my species. (I’m assuming that’s your species as well.)

What’s happened, you ask? Or you ask if you’re not British, because over here we’ve been following this with either glee or despair or fury, depending on our pre-existing political convictions, our temperaments, and how warped our senses of humor are. Or in my case with a destabilizing mix of both glee and despair–a mix that leaves me wondering what kind of excuse for a human being I really am.

What I’m talking about is a drip feed of stories about Boris Johnson–Britain’s prime minister when he can spare the time and attention–along with the circle around him having broken every rule of the Covid lockdown that they imposed on everyone but themselves. At a time when people couldn’t be with family members as they died, Johnson and his cohort were holding parties. Or gatherings. Or work events. With wine and cheese. And, for one of them, a bring-your-own-booze invitation. 

Irrelevant photo: Cornwall’s trees may not tell you which way the wind’s blowing at any given moment, but they do let you know where the prevailing winds come from.

At a time when extended families couldn’t meet in parks, never mind at funerals, they were holding more work events involving alcohol. And in the spirit of screaming irony, dozens of people from the Cabinet Office’s Covid task force showed up at one of them. On the same day the government tweeted that workplaces couldn’t hold Christmas lunches or parties.

The prime minister has variously said that he wasn’t at one or another of them, that he was there but thought he was attending a work meeting, that no one told him they broke the rules, and that he was there but is really, really sorry, especially about the party the day before Prince Phillip’s funeral, which (this being Britain and all) may be the one that sinks him. 

On the other hand, the video of Johnson dancing around with a light saber isn’t from any of the lockdown gatherings. Fact checkers have established that it predates the pandemic.

You feel better now, right?

*

Meanwhile, Michael Fabricant, a Member of Parliament from Johnson’s own Consevative Party, accused the BBC of attempting a coup.

How? By covering the Partygate story. 

“This is not news reporting an event,” he said. “This relentless news creation is a coup attempt against the prime minister.”

What the hell, a coup attempt made big news in the U.S. I expect he thought tossing the phrase into the conversation would trigger the same sort of attention here. 

*

At more or less (mostly less) the same time and no doubt backing the BBC’s coup attempt, dozens of people in dark suits, Boris Johnson masks, and floppy blond wigs turned up in Trafalgar Square and outside Downing Street with beer, wine, music, and British flags to drink, dance, and chant, “My name is Boris,” and “This is a work event.”

I heard some pundit on the news saying that when the political response shifts from anger to mockery, a politician’s career is over. Stay tuned and we’ll see if it’s true.

 

And in party news from elsewhere

A December 30 charter flight from Montreal to Cancun, Mexico got so rowdy that the passengers were banned from their return flight

The trip had been organized by something that describes itself as an “exclusive private group,” the 111 (pronounced  Triple One) Private Club. 

If exclusivity depends on who you exclude, I’m happy to be among the people who get left out of this.

The passengers drank and danced in the aisles, maskless, and of course video’d themselves to provide evidence. Because nothing that happens happened if you don’t have a selfie to prove it. 

The airline they flew down on, Sunwing, canceled their return flight. It did negotiate with Triple One about taking them back, and it got as far as agreeing that the passengers would show up sober and not be served any alcohol on the flight, but negotiations broke down over food: Sunwing said it wouldn’t serve meals. Triple One said that on a five-hour flight they’d fade away without it. 

Okay, I haven’t a clue what Triple One actually said, but negotiations did break down at that point. Last I heard Triple One said it was working to get the passengers home and two other airlines also refused to have them on board. I

Who were these little charmers? Influencers. Reality TV stars. A small handful of the organizer’s business partners. They were facing  fines when they got home. And possibly jail time, which gives a whole ‘nother meaning to the word  reality

*

And finally, an Australian four-year-old wanted to have a party of his own–he had a birthday coming up–and used his father’s phone to order $1,139 worth of cake and ice cream, including a personalized birthday cake, from Uber Eats. It was delivered to the fire station where the boy’s father works, and the firefighters accepted the order.

What sane person, after all, would ask questions before accepting a thousand dollars worth of cake and ice cream? 

Uber Eats agreed to refund the money and the parents are speaking to the kid again, although I don’t know if he got to eat any of the stuff he ordered. Which doesn’t make it much of a party for him. 

Boris Johnson will be drafted in to consult with him on his party planning as soon as he’s booted out as prime minister.

56 thoughts on “Party news from Britain and–oh, you know, other places

  1. I read that article about the Sunwing flight. What I found really – I was going to say shocking but, in truth, surprising will suffice – is that they were Canadian. Aren’t Canadians supposed to be, well, nice. I know we can’t condemn an entire race with that bland a description, but – yes – that’s the bit of the story which surprised me. If it was Brits going on holiday, it would pass almost entirely without mention I suspect.

    As to number 10, I’m with you in the glee/despair club.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There is something about the relentlessness of the news about the parties of Johnson et al that means people cannot simply excuse it, brush it under the carpet, and move on. While one (definitely not me) might be able to argue that one party was an error of judgment or an oversight or a work meeting that got too jolly or whatever, it becomes impossible to justify and excuse multiple examples of such hypocrisy and especially when their callous selfishness is contrasted with the pain and anguish of people having to experience some of the worst days of their lives in isolation. That is what turns their shindigs into acts of cruelty.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The careless way politicians act nowadays is just disgusting. Following the news in Britain as well as in the US, my current resident country Germany and my home country Austria … I’m sad to say, it’s the same everywhere. Once they get into power they just don’t care anymore … and there is not a single one without a skeleton in their closets. The new German foreign minister? The chick is so dumb she doesn’t even know how to quote correctly in her measly book. (The first thing one learns as a university student!) As if there hadn’t been enough cases of plagiarism in the political world showing how easy it is nowadays to prove it. Not to mention other stuff she pulled. It’s a disgrace, they are a disgrace, pure and simple.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I confess, I haven’t been following German politics, although I know enough to know that they’re important right now. I don’t know what it is that makes this seem like an inevitable pathway–although I know there are exemptions. (Jacinda Ardern, I’m looking at you. I’m sure others are out there somewhere.)

      Liked by 2 people

  4. What is up with these people (everyone except the boy who ordered cake and ice cream for his party – I get that)?
    There is no end to the madness of our so called leaders.
    Makes me harken to the hellfire speeches of my childhood – may fire and brimstone overtake them in the now and/or in the hereafter. (everyone except the boy who ordered cake and ice cream)

    Liked by 2 people

    • My best guess is that he’s found a persona that works for him–a kind of I’m such a clown that no rules apply to me character. And it (plus connections and money) have gotten him this far. If he presented himself as a serious person, people would expect competence–something he seems to be short of.

      Or that’s my theory, anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What an interesting analysis–that it’s the personal stuff–rather than the country killing stuff that brings them down. Here in the US even the reprehensible personal stuff doesn’t get them. Boris is almost as horrifying as our last guy, but not quite. As for people who let their kids have access to their phones…

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s one of the odd things about American politics these days–the shrug that greets all kinds of behavior, as long as the politician’s doing what you want. We’ve really traveled past anywhere that’s on the map. About the kid and the phone, though: The longer story is that the father handed his phone to the kid during some sort of sports event his sister was taking part in, to keep him occupied. Which, I guess we’d have to agree, it did. We can probably also agree that the kid’s smart–and isn’t going to be easy to keep up with.

      Like

  6. We have seen plenty of BoJo’s “garden party” over here as a kind of comic relief from our ongoing crises…especially the anti-voting rights group of 52 senators…
    I did see on a cat blog (and cannot find it now to link to) that Larry the cat at # 10 Downing Street has denied any attendance at any of the festivities. So it’s nice to see there is some integrity left.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Larry the Cat is–I’m struggling to get the word right. Integral? No. Full of integrity. That’s it. He also tweeted just the other day that he was looking for a new human flatmate. He’s a beacon of light in our dark times and I don’t know what we’d do without him.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Running the country?

          Oh. Right. Geez, we kind of forgot about that.

          Actually, behind the scenes, I’m afraid they’re quite active–trying to outlaw protests that become inconvenient; making it possible to lift citizenship from people who were born here. But it’s not getting a lot of press. More proof of my theory that it’s the stupid things that bring them down.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Sounds like British politicians need a lesson in hidden hypocrisy from the US. Our leaders tell their constituents that it’s fine to gather, no need for masks, and to disregard the science. They then gather openly to show the virus who’s boss. What remains hidden is the fact that they’ve been vaccinated and have access to premium healthcare if they do get sick. Occasionally one dies, but hey, freedom!

    Liked by 2 people

    • He was–at least allegedly. It’s entirely possible that he simply assigned someone else to do it. My impression is that he outsources actual work and stands in front of the cameras so he can look like it’s his. But allegedly, yes, they were his rules. Which has given reporters all the fun, when he says (as he has) “no one informed me that this was a breach of the rules” (I’m paraphrasing there), of asking, “Um, weren’t they your rules?”

      Liked by 2 people

  8. >>I expect he thought tossing the phrase into the conversation would trigger the same sort of attention here. <<

    Not coming from under that (?)hair (coiffure-shaming it may be, but Mickey Fab seems impervious to ridicule, so let's have at it).

    Any coup against BJ is coming from within his own party and former friends, who have only now twigged what sensible folk have always known. And anyway, this sort of coup is a well-honoured tradition of his party.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tossing out a party leader, although it gets called a coup, is a very different beast than, say, tossing out an election or overthrowing an elected government. This intra-party assassination is part of the structure of government here. Calling it a coup is just a bit of colorful use of language.

      Sorry–that wasn’t even remotely funny. I blame it on the hairstyles. They distracted me.

      Like

    • True–and being a bigger country, the US has more of them. Let’s not wrestle with proportions and just stick with absolute numbers. What I’m finding fascinating is that every country (and I’m basing that on a sample of two, so let’s not take me too seriously) seems to cultivate (or at least elect) its own strain of pompous asses.

      And on that cheery note, a good January to you as well.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Partygate, exactly. I love you borrowed that from our famous Watergate scandal. However, partying as the Royal Family was mourning Prince Philip exceeds almost anything our errant polilticians have done-well almost. Yes it is quite the story here also, at least for those of us who care about decency. If Johnson survives this, I seriously worry for your country.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I worry about both countries, whether he survives this or not. This is counter-intuitive, but I’m not sure it wouldn’t be better (in terms of damage done to the country) to have him limp on, wounded and unable to rally his MPs behind him, than to see him replaced by someone able to use the large Conservative majority for some of the awful things they’ve been trying to get done.There’s plenty of damage left to do to the NHS. They may go from talking about pushing back boatloads of refugees to actually doing it. They may succeed in making demonstrations illegal if they’re noisy or inconvenient. And so forth.

      Like

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