Britain had one of the worst death rates per capita in the world by January of this year, becoming the first nation in Europe to surpass 150,000 deaths from COVID. And, as you’re no doubt sick of reading, Conservatives partied while people were dying. There is hardly a more glaring example of Mr. Johnson’s entitled indifference than the revelation that the prime minister’s official residence, 10 Downing Street, hosted drunken parties while the rest of the nation was under strict lockdown. However, scapegoats were identified, forced to resign, and the government went on as usual.
Then this year’s soaring inflation, which reached 9% in May, and the ensuing cost-of-living crisis arrived, making many essentials like food, energy, and fuel unaffordable. According to reports, some families are now refusing potatoes when they visit food banks—the number of people doing so has risen dramatically in the last ten years. The gas to boil them is too expensive for them.
Although Mr. Johnson lacked solutions for these issues, he could always divert attention with a culture war by attacking the publicly funded BBC, the European Convention on Human Rights, transgender people, and refugees.
The Tory faithful have decided that enough is enough after defending him throughout it all. In his letter of resignation, Mr. Javid, who is now vying to succeed Mr. Johnson, criticized “the tone” the prime minister had adopted recently and stated that he could no longer hold the position “in good conscience.” But when the government began deporting asylum seekers, Mr. Javid’s “conscience” was unmoved. Despite always being “loyal” to Mr. Johnson, Mr. Sunak wrote in his letter that he had “come to the conclusion we cannot continue like this.” Naturally, Mr. Sunak, who is currently the front-runner to succeed Mr. Johnson as prime minister, maintained his “loyalty” because he was partying himself. Mr. Sunak, who is the front-runner to succeed Mr. Johnson, is also running for the position. (If speaking out late were not bad enough, two other candidates for the position of new party leader, Penny Mordaunt, the minister for trade, and Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, chose to keep relatively quiet last week.)
Families are having difficulty, public services are deteriorating, and Britons are experiencing the greatest pressure on living standards in a generation as this disastrous changing of the guard plays out.
Despite the candidates’ efforts to distance themselves from Mr. Johnson, it is important to remember how we got to this point and who was involved. Some of the same individuals who have supported him for months will make an appearance as a “fresh start” in the coming weeks, unimpaired by this unpleasant situation. They were happy to elect and support a well-known charlatan up until last week. The results are just as dire now as they were back then.
Author of “Crippled: Austerity and the Demonization of Disabled People” and Guardian columnist Frances Ryan