Secrets and lies

Meme by Anthea Bareham

So, finally, Sunak found himself in a position where sacking Nadhim Zahawi was his only option. It really does not look much like an act of leadership and integrity and, as many have pointed out, it’s not every sacking letter that manages to combine “it’s clear there has been a serious breach of the ministerial code” with “you should be proud of your wide-ranging achievements”. Frankly, the whole thing read more like this:

Dear Nadhim,

Really sorry, mate, but we can’t make this go away without me being seen to be strong enough to fire you. You know I think you’re great and, hey, take a look at Braverman! Six days in the sin bin! So, we’re all good, yes? And you’ll play along?

Lots of love, DishiRishiRich.

But, as totally unexpected weapon of mass opposition, Carol Vorderman, said:

Zahawi reckons it’s the press wot done him in. But what else would you expect from a politician in the ‘none-of-it-is-ever-our-fault’ party?

A lot of us want to know why Sunak rehired Suella Braverman after her breach of the ministerial code. Why hasn’t she gone, too? What have these people got on each other?

An Omnisis poll (Jan 27) showed that 63 per cent of the UK population think the Conservatives are corrupt. Next week, Transparency International will publish their world corruption rankings. No prizes for guessing the UK’s direction of travel!

The Tory corruption scandals come so thick and fast that it’s easy to forget what’s still in the pipeline. There’s the Richard Sharp/Boris Johnson/BBC story: Johnson has denied that any discussions about his finances took place when he had a private dinner with Sharp or at any other time and yet, Gabriel Pogrund of The Times (the bastard media onto the truth again!) now has proof that Johnson was warned to stop doing just that.

Are we surprised? No. Of course we aren’t. Problem is, we are so constantly unsurprised that we are in danger of accepting lies and corruption as the norm and of slipping into apathy or defeatism.

How about this, for example?

And this:

Actually, it all pales into insignificance against, potentially, the biggest scandal of our time: the PPE procurement scam.

Yes, this is the shocker in which MPs and ministers appear to have taken full advantage of an opportunity to reward donors and mates with lucrative contracts, many of which were not honoured or the kit that was supplied was defective/not fit for purpose. Some suppliers of rubbish even got another bung to destroy their tat! And then, to add insult to injury, the Conservatives add the billions bunged to cronies to the NHS budget and claim to be spending record amounts. The £37 billion spaffed on the inadequate Test, Track and Trace scam also got counted. By the way, whatever happened to the Party’s racing mate, Baroness Dido Harding? Ah, yes, she’s a non-exec director of the Bank of England. Of course she is.

And how is it in remotely appropriate that Tory peer Lord Markham can simultaneously be a minister in the Department of Health and own 30 per cent of Covid testing firm Cignpost Investments? Funnily enough there is no mention of this connection in his Department of Health bio…

How do we feel about this?

Yes. You read it right. We are paying for Boris ‘let the bodies pile high’ Johnson to defend his indefensible misleading of parliament and the nation over partygate.

Johnson has come up with a dead cat, of course, which few of us are falling for and which the Russians have labelled ‘a lie’.:

Meanwhile, back on the NHS, we’ve gone from 40 new hospitals – the Johnson say-it-often-enough-and-it-will-magically-become-true lie – to the repair and re-opening of a new wing or ward being described as a new hospital to ‘hospitals at home’. Yes, your bedroom is now a private ward in a new hospital, staffed by, staffed by…. well, never mind about that. Probably staffed by a relative or an agency nurse from a crony agency which gets four times the amount to provide a replacement for an NHS health worker. The 800 promised new ambulances are probably going to be parked up somewhere, in the hope that one day a decent pay settlement and some long-overdue recruitment will mean that there will be someone to drive them.

The steady defunding of the NHS and undervaluing of its people is all part of a nudge tactic that will push us into a place where paying for ‘better service/more appointments etc seems the only sane way to go. We all know NHS fans who sigh, shrug and say that they can see no alternative to at least partial privatisation. The notion of spend more, get more/better/quicker has been insidiously dripped into the public consciousness by a complicit media and few seem to stop to reflect that the profit element means less bang for your buck, not more.

As for Brexit. Well. We are still getting the vaccine rollout lie, despite government being told repeatedly that is it is NOT TRUE that we managed to approve the vaccine fastest because of Brexit! Helen Whately spewed it out again unchallenged on TV to detract from the Zahawi debacle. It’s literally the only thing they trot out as a Brexit benefit and it’s a lie! Brexit will energise the economy, eh, Jeremy Hunt? Come on! You know that’s rubbish!

Of course, the real Brexit benefits actually do accrue to those who want a bonfire of regulation so that they can pollute, exploit, ravage and scam with impunity. The government doesn’t talk about those, but instead pretends that doing away with EU regulations, rights and protections will benefit ordinary people. It won’t: quite the reverse; but trying to sell us that lie is all part of the plan.

In fact, gaslighting us into not knowing what’s good for the country versus what’s good for the Tories and their backers, what’s true and what’s fake, what’s fact and what’s fiction is what this lot are all about.

The covert message fostered by those keen to weaken democracy is ‘they’re all the same’. That way the electorate begins to disengage, begins to believe that voting is a waste of time or that they might just as well vote for someone they perceive as ‘fun’ or ‘funny’ or just famous.

The cumulative impact of the endless stories of Conservative malfeasance must be to fuel our desire for change, not leave us numbed or overwhelmed by the tsunami of sleaze and lies. That’s when those with the money and the agenda win and we find ourselves ever more disempowered, abused and denied justice and a whole lot further down the road to a kleptocratic oligarchy. Let’s stop them!