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United Kingdom: the cross misfortunes of BoJo and Andrew

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Cornered, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged Wednesday before the deputies his presence at a party in Downing Street in full confinement in 2020 and presented his “apologies”, without convincing the opposition which demands his resignation. The editorialist Vincent Hervouët delivers his analysis of the situation across the Channel.

EDITORIAL

In the hot seat after a series of damning scandals, Boris Johnson lived his most difficult weekly session of questions in Parliament on Wednesday since his triumphant arrival in power in July 2019, as a savior of a deadlocked Brexit. The Labor opposition is demanding his resignation, the Conservative party seems ready to drop him, and all this because of a “garden party” at 10 Downing Street in full confinement. The editorialist Vincent Hervouët returns this Thursday to the misfortunes of BoJo.

Raise a statue of Tartuffe

“Molière is fashionable, Valérie Pécresse would like to move this so French genius to the Panthéon… But it is in Tartuffe his creature that a statue should be erected. Thanks to the Covid, he is exported all over the world. London, Her Majesty’s Opposition, Boris Johnson’s Tory rivals want to punish him, not just kick BoJo out, they want to kill him.

Drive him out of power or force him to resign. All this because he drank, ate and debated with his collaborators during confinement. It even seems that they laughed in the gardens of 10 Downing Street. It is bad in the eyes of English puritans and even worse in the eyes of those who do not forgive him for Brexit.

A photo in May 2020 indeed shows BoJo on the terrace of his office, the cheese platter and the glasses of rosé circulating. He may say that they were at work, that they were talking about work and that working in the open air was recommended by Doctor Diafoirus, the kingdom is shocked. The press has identified a dozen parties, farewell drinks, ‘garden parties’ between May and December.

It is perfectly hypocritical to reproach the political leaders who worked night and day at the height of the crisis for having taken risks. May those who have never forgotten to put on the gel throw the first mask at them. At the same time, Johnson and his gang seem so casual as they confined the subjects of the kingdom to their homes, forbidding them to visit their friends, their loves, their old relatives. The scandal is commensurate with the deprivations that the British have inflicted on themselves.

Mea culpa in front of the deputies

On Wednesday, Boris Johnson therefore made his mea culpa in the House of Commons. He maintains that the rules of distancing were respected, but concedes that this is not the perception that the British have. In front of his bloodthirsty colleagues, he put on an air of a beaten dog which suits him very well.

Leaders everywhere were caught breaking health rules. The Austrian president was fined for violating the curfew, the Argentinian celebrating his wife’s birthday with friends, the Israeli celebrating Easter with the family, Putin shaking hands with doctors, the European Commissioner for Trade having a banquet in a golf.

Health ministers from South Africa, Malaysia, New Zealand all resigned for forgetting finicky rules, Finnish Prime Minister in nightclub, Dutch king taking walkabouts, Nancy Pelosi at the hairdresser, etc, etc… All of them transgressed the rules they imposed on others. Few have resigned, it’s just a matter of balance of power.

Boris Johnson threatened?

The British Prime Minister has slipped in the polls, but he is fitting with his brat image. In the conservative party, it is too early to get rid of it. He himself postponed any decision after the internal investigation. It will be published in the spring, at the time of the local elections. If the party wins, the party will forget about its ‘garden parties’. If not, he will make a perfect scapegoat.

The real British drama that played out on Wednesday was in New York, where the sexual assault complaint was brought against Prince Andrew, the friend of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. That is no longer a comedy by Molière, but a Shakespearean tragedy. There would be something rotten in the kingdom of Elizabeth.”

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