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History | PSHE | Relationships and health

Johnson future now in hands of the police

Is hypocrisy always part of politics? Furious critics last night accused Boris Johnson of a cover-up. “He made the rules. He broke the rules. He is unfit for office.” said Labour.  To outsiders, British politics might seem strange. For the last two months, everyone has been waiting with bated breath for a report by a civil servant looking into the social lives of Downing Street staff. Yesterday, they got their wish. Although Sue Gray’s report looking into “Partygate” was cut at the request of the police, it still contains plenty of damning detail. Perhaps most damaging for Boris Johnson, the report suggests that he might have misled Parliament. This breaks the Ministerial Code. But some think we should not worry too much about this kind of hypocrisy, because it is what politics is all about.  Political scientist David Runciman argues that every government in history has been based on hypocrisy. Politics is all about compromise. It relies on shady deals that force politicians to break their own rules. Take out this hypocrisy and there can be no progress. It seems like the British public might agree. After all, no-one was under any illusions about Boris Johnson when he won his resounding election victory in 2019. Just a few months earlier he had been accused of lying to the Queen over the advice he gave her on proroguing Parliament. In 2012 he apologised for repeating a lie about drunken fans causing the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. Some think people prefer slippery politicians. They often come across as fun and friendly characters. Honest politicians can seem self-righteous. But others think if we just let politicians do whatever they like the public will become disillusioned with the rules themselves. This can be a matter of life and death. If people had known about the lockdown parties in 10 Downing Street it might have made them less likely to obey the rules. Is hypocrisy always part of politics? Hypercriticism Yes: Politicians get elected by championing certain ideals, but when they get into power they can only implement their policies by compromising with people of other views. Hypocrisy is baked into politics.

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