Saturday, January 22

In the Trumpian administration of British pound sterling, the rules are for the rest of us | Owen jones


ORn the day government officials allegedly celebrated at No. 10, British hospitals were filled with the dead and dying. 514 deaths were announced that day, while 2,000 Covid patients were transferred to hospitals, for exhausted foot soldiers from a shocked NHS to put ventilators on and comfort them. We have endured two years of personal sacrifice on a level never seen since World War II. With the death of 150,000 of our fellow citizens, we have all taken extraordinary measures to avoid an even more serious human catastrophe: not being able to hold the hand of dying family members, separated from their loved ones, wounded educations, forced loneliness for the 8 million Britons living alone.

The story of that one Christmas party, with its secret Santa Claus, cheese and wine and all that, is a lesson in how power works in this country. Among the general population, enforcement of the most severe restrictions on our freedoms in Britain’s history far exceeded skeptical pre-shutdown predictions. Still, the state has been tough on those accused of breaking the rules. There was almost 6,500 prosecutions for lockdown violations in the first six months of the crisis, while Londoners have been forced to pay more than £ 1 million in fines. These punitive rules have not been applied equally.

In Scotland the fines were 12 times more common in disadvantaged communities than in affluent areas. The blacks in London were doing 11 times more likely to be arrested and searched that whites, while in the first confinement, men of color were twice as likely to be fined like their white counterparts. There were cases of homeless people accused of being on the streets during the confinement and a caregiver is being fined for eating a sandwich. It was found that more than a quarter of ordinary citizens improperly loaded with Covid fines – with fixed penalties that are issued up to £ 10,000 – according to the Crown Prosecutor’s Office.

Laws have always disproportionately affected poor and marginalized communities. As working-class citizens were forced to pay ruinously large sums of money, our top officials appear to have been frolicking with “definitely no social distancing,” as former Prime Minister Allegra Stratton’s spokeswoman put it in the leaked tape. It is a revelation of both a corrupt government and a rigged society, where the powerful often correctly calculate that the laws and rules are for someone else: often poor, and often black.

The lies too: Boris Johnson is simply a more vulgar example of deception and dishonesty than most of our rulers. The only consistency in his tacky and ever-ascending career is deception: from making up dates to lying to his former leader about affairs and, more recently, prioritizing the airlift of cats and dogs from Afghanistan over human lives. Whether he himself knows what is a lie and what is the truth is an open question, but ultimately irrelevant: what matters is that no rational human being should ever trust a single statement issued by a Trumpian administration of the pound. .

There is also another lesson in power, and that is the revolving door that unites the British establishment. Allegra Stratton personifies it: A former journalist at The Guardian, BBC and ITV whose job it was to scrutinize the government, she eventually joined him as a propagandist. She is married to the viewer political editor, James Forsyth, who was the best man at the wedding of Rishi Sunak, who is a former Stratton employer. This is a story of incestuous political and media elites.

When Stratton was Newsnight’s political editor, she humiliated a single mother on national television, seeking to portray her as a benefits “gorilla,” erasing the fact that she was in a full-time job and was forced to claim the housing benefit. ; the program was forced to apologize in the air. This isn’t tangent – it’s a story of how much of a media ecosystem deeply entangled in government fails to hold the powerful accountable, while also encouraging us to get angry at the defenseless and vulnerable. It’s no wonder, like Stratton in that leaked video, they laugh at the rules that bind us to the rest of us.

In fact, consider how the Sun newspaper today fails to talk about the biggest political scandal of the year. The deputy head of this rag is none other than James Slack, a revolving door veteran who was the prime minister’s official spokesman at the very time the Christmas party took place.

A single episode can act like a blaze, illuminating the true nature of power in ways that only those who deliberately close their eyes can ignore. So yes, Boris Johnson must go, and indeed much of the Conservative party is coming to this conclusion, perhaps in favor of Stratton’s former employer. But that is not enough. The ugly truth about our ruling system is there before us. And the consequences must go far beyond our deceitful and corrupt Prime Minister.


www.theguardian.com

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