From 'hope for the best' to jokes about pants, here are 6 of the worst things the Tories have done this week

From 'hope for the best' to jokes about pants, here are 6 of the worst things the Tories have done this week

News cycles pass so quickly now that it’s hard to keep up with exactly what our dear leaders are doing.

Especially when there’s regular U-turns, misdirection and generally confusing policies flying about.

So to make life that bit easier, here’s a collection of the Tories’ top hits from the last seven days.

After all, we wouldn’t want them to be forgotten, would we?

Here’s 5 of the most awful things the Tories have done this week:

Boris Johnson's strategy to reopen the country is to 'hope for the best'

On Friday, the prime minister went through with what he'd been hinting at for weeks, and announced that despite coronavirus being nowhere near eradicated and experts warning of a potential second wave, he wants everything to go back to normal.

But the guidance offered was so confusing that people didn't know what to think.

He said the virus would be more "virulent" in winter months, but also that he wants to scrap the 1-meter distance rule in November; he said that people could start using public transport immediately, even though just four days ago he said anyone using public transport should wear a mask.

The government also refused to give employers guidance on when and how people should go back to work, which people were not happy about.

And of course there was the slogan: "Hope for the best, prepare for the worst."

Aside from sounding suspiciously like a Tom Cruise film reference, it just doesn't really... mean anything?

Plan for the worst should be the standard strategy here and "hoping" is really no use to anyone.

If we're hoping for anything, it's that the government's strategy is about more than blind faith. Is that too much to as in 2020?

A Tory MP got sacked for allegedly disobeying Downing Street’s wishes

Remember Chris Grayling? The inept minister who was Downing Street’s baffling favourite to take over as chair of the Information and Security Committee? It seemed a done deal. But no! The thought of Grayling overseeing one of the key security briefs of the UK (including holding the government to account over the running of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ) struck fear into the hearts of his own colleagues.

Which is why fellow Tory MP Julian Lewis has been accused of “conspiring” against Grayling with Labour MPs to get himself voted chair. Lewis won the secret ballot but was immediately chucked out of the Tory party, seemingly in retaliation for his actions.

A cross-party selection of MPs have condemned the decision by Boris Johnson, as it suggests meddling in what is meant to be an independent body. But the incident has also prompted mirth at Grayling’s failure to clinch what seemed to be a given.

As SNP defence spokesperson Stewart McDonald put it: “Chris Grayling is the only man who could lose a rigged election”.

Boris Johnson used a question about bereaved families to make a joke about pants

Boris Johnson, what a charmer. And that famous wit was on show during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday when the PM chose to reply to a query about bereaved families from opposition leader Keir Starmer, with a crass joke about his underwear.

Starmer had asked Johnson about what he would say to campaign group Covid-19 Families for Justice, made up of hundreds of families who have lost someone to the virus.

“They say this and I quote: 'We won’t let the deaths of our loved ones be in vain and we won’t allow the government to risk a second wave of deaths without learning from their mistakes,' said Starmer.

“They will be listening to the prime minister’s answers today so what would the prime minister like to say to them?”

Johnson replied first by saying he “mourned the loss of everyone who has died in this epidemic”. But he added that Starmer should decide whether he “backed the government’s programme or not” continuing:

“He needs to make up his mind which brief he’s going to take today because at the moment, Mr Speaker, he’s got more briefs than Calvin Klein”.

Members of CFJ called it “hugely disrespectful” and there was outrage online.

Stay classy, Boris!

Matt Hancock tried to “rewrite history”

This week, the UK’s chief scientific advisor revealed that the government had been told to begin a full, official lockdown a week earlier than they actually did, on 23 March. Sir Patrick Vallance told the House of Commons that the scientific advisory group for emergencies (SAGE) issued advice on 16 March that the government should impose lockdown.

But health secretary Matt Hancock was accused of trying to “rewrite history” by Labour MP Zarah Sultana as he claimed that vague advice issued on 16 March actually counted as the beginning of lockdown.

“Advising people to practice social distancing [...] is not the same as imposing a lockdown,” Sultana told Hancock.

In response, he said:

On 16 March I said to this house, ‘Today we are advising people against all unnecessary social contact with others and all unnecessary travel’. 

That is when the lockdown truly started. 

Except that’s not true… as multiple media sites registered, the official lockdown began on 23 March.

Good try.

Rishi Sunak was accused of “repackaging” old funding as shiny new spending

Money makes everyone’s brains switch off so here’s the short version of this story: the chancellor has been making lots of noise about spending more money to save jobs.

But according to analysis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, one third of this big package – roughly £10bn – is actually scraped from planned projects and investments that are no longer going ahead because of Covid-19.

The IFS called this a “lack of transparency” and “corrosive to public trust”. They’re not angry the money is being reallocated – they’re angry the government weren’t open about the fact.

Nothing new then.

The head of government’s inquiry into racial inequality was revealed as having made homophobic comments

When Tony Sewell, who had previously worked with Boris Johnson in 2013, was appointed as head of the government’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, concerns were raised.

These were thanks to Sewell’s well-documented position on institutional racism, ie he described evidence for it as “flimsy” and has blamed both knife crime and educational underachievement of Black youths on the absence of father figures.

But this week he was forced to apologise for shocking homophobic comments made in The Voice newspaper in 1990.

Writing after Black footballer Justin Fashanu revealed he was gay, Sewell said:

We heteros are sick and tired of tortured queens playing hide and seek around their closets. Homosexuals are the greatest queer-bashers around. No other group of people are so preoccupied with making their own sexuality look dirty.

In his apology, sent to The Guardian, Sewell said he was ““sorry for my comments from 30 years ago which were wrong and offensive,” adding:

“They do not reflect my views today nor indeed the views of modern society. I am committed to championing the cause of equality and diversity across all of our communities, including for LGBT people”.

However in 2010, Sewell wrote a Guardian op-ed arguing that the “main problem holding back black boys academically is their over-feminised upbringing”.

So maybe he’s got some more work to do...

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