I have to take issue with some of the comments made by your illustrious correspondents and other commentators regarding the PM’s, and other MPs’, standards whilst representing the British electorate.
My feeling is that British people care very strongly that Boris Johnson, his cohorts and other MPs stub the laws/rules of the land and ride rough-shod over accepted norms in everyday life. That is: truth, integrity and honour, without which people’s interaction cannot exist without trauma.
Some have claimed that the people of Britain will put up with Boris’s and his government’s antics because it is not as important as other pressing problems, Covid-19 in particular. While other government officials cover Boris’s butt with nothing but a smoke-screen. His party has certainly gathered around him to prevent the current accusations from deepening and the Conservative Party suffering from the fallout.
The frustrations that the common man/woman feel is that we, the electorate, can do nothing to remedy the unsavoury position of having a man with little or no integrity/honour, and who is estranged from the truth, leading the government. Worse still is that he has infected so many others around him to the extent that virtually nobody can be trusted to tell the electorate the truth of any given situation.
All the government officials who have betrayed their values, some of which have resigned, are then caught in a web of complicit lying. Generally, what starts as a lie turns into a sacking offence. The only difference in this government is that nobody gets sacked. And that is the real problem. No matter what the government does there is no retribution for the transgressors. It appears that Boris and his government have carte blanche to do what they require to get their way.
Why are there so many dishonourable MPs in our government who side with Mr Johnson, encouraging him to be even more insensitive, allegedly saying things like, “let the bodies pile high”? Officials who break lockdown rules, found to have sworn and shouted at their staff, and MPs who fell foul of procurement rules have retained their jobs.
Is there no accountability for Mr Johnson’s behaviour?
Britain must be the laughing-stock of the world, after Mr Trump, because of his tenure at No 10. Even a half-wit could do better. I’m not saying that previous governments have been squeaky-clean, but Mr Johnson’s government has reached the dizzy heights of excellence in the field of lying, false information, obfuscation, insensitivity and severe lack of integrity.
If Mr Johnson were to leave office and search for a new job he would be suited to working for a large banking house in those islands that have liberal laws on the movement of money.
No to vaccine passports
We are writing to urge the government to immediately halt plans for vaccination passports.
We are concerned that they will put an excessive burden on businesses in the entertainment sector, particularly cinemas. As you will be aware, cinemas have already suffered severe losses during the pandemic.
They are among the beloved venues which it has been suggested will be required to check the “vaccine passports” of their customers. We are all desperate to see people back in cinemas, watching blockbuster Oscar-winning films, but it is misguided to suggest the idea of a vaccine passport will help make this happen.
Instead it will just place a huge additional administrative and organisational burden on these businesses while they are struggling to get back on their feet.
From a practical point of view, checking the medical documentation of attendees at venues and the additional security to remove those without them, will be a significant additional cost for businesses who are already struggling.
Furthermore the principle of a “Covid ID card” will create a two-tier society where those who are not vaccinated will be unable to access social spaces and venues which are available to others. This will in turn, rob the entertainment industry of keen movie-goers.
This will have a particular effect on young people, last in line to get the vaccine, who make up a big proportion of cinema customers and help keep smaller, independent venues afloat. Many families also have an emotional connection with their local cinemas and this anti-business proposal will potentially keep them away.
An effective test and trace system, combined with a proper self-isolation system, supported by the success of the vaccination rollout, is the way out of this pandemic.
With cinemas on the brink, an impossible-to-police scheme is the last thing they need. We have to work together to return to the world before coronavirus. And I do not believe that vaccine passports are the best way to achieve this.
We look forward to hearing from you at the earliest possible opportunity.
Jamie Stone MP
Liberal Democrat spokesperson for digital, culture, media and sport
Dyson vacuum of integrity?
Although the prime minister has attempted to explain the funding of his flat renovations and distance himself from high profile donors, it remains a mystery as to whether he relies on a Dyson or alternative vacuum for keeping the dirt out.
Sustainable school runs
Surely one of the most effective ways to help the UK meet its net-zero emissions target by 2050, and to show commitment to improving air quality, would be to put government capital into creating a national network of school transport, probably electric driven buses. This could be supported by legislation requiring their use by everyone – children and all school students – and not allowing anyone to travel to and from school in private cars. Of course there will be exceptions, but the principle should be bound in legislation.
My local anecdotal observation is that car traffic because of the school run has increased dramatically since schools returned post-lockdown. In my local area, daily traffic chaos has substantially increased at school times. Standing traffic is adding to ground-level air pollution and the majority of vehicles contain only one child.
During the pandemic we saw that less travel improved our environment in many ways, both large and small. The infrastructure to put in place a national electric vehicle mass transport system for schools would require initial considerable financial and logistical input from central government, but the benefits for the environment would be permanent.
The article “The Chimpanzees in Downing Street are throwing excrement at each other again” by Tom Peck is unfair to chimpanzees. Chimpanzees are intelligent animals.
If the Downing Street refurbishment scandal has taught us anything, it is that concepts such as self-reliance and living within one’s means, and the condemnation of those who fail to comply with them as "feckless" and "scroungers", are merely sticks to beat the "lower orders" with.
If you’re part of the ruling elite, it’s called cementing power, wealth and influence through networks of mutual obligation.
Overpopulation is the real enemy
The horrific situation now unfolding in India is a reminder of the only real problem facing the world in the near future, the sole cause of all our problems: over-population.
Only when worldwide coordinated policies on birth control, and the means to implement them, are put in place will the population stabilise. Simply trying to find new ways to feed and accommodate more and more people will only exacerbate the problem.
Global capitalism created this situation and must now be harnessed to tackle it. And that requires global cooperation and governance, which can only come from the UN and not from the cosy, self-serving deliberations of the G7 et al.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies