Tag Archives: Hancock

Tory government caused tens of thousands of Covid-19 care home deaths unlawfully

Dr Cathy Gardner: she was one of those who took the government to the High Court, after the care home death of her father, Michael Gibson.

Watch (and/or listen to) this:

“The thing that we didn’t know in particular was that Covid could be transmitted asymptomatically,” said Boris Johnson.

Not true.

In their judgment, Lord Justice Bean and Mr Justice Garnham found that the government failed to take into account the risk to elderly and vulnerable residents from non-symptomatic transmission, which had been highlighted by Sir Patrick Vallance in a radio interview as early as March 13, 2020:

“Those drafting the March Discharge Policy and the April Admissions Guidance simply failed to take into account the highly relevant consideration of the risk to elderly and vulnerable residents from asymptomatic transmission.”

The government stopped testing for Covid-19 on March 12 that year, due to a lack of capacity, and care home residents weren’t regularly tested until April 15, by which time the virus was rampant.

The Commons’ own Science and Technology Committee pointed out in May that year that, despite having been warned about asymptomatic transmission, and despite evidence suggesting a “high proportion” of people with Covid-19 – possibly as high as 80 per cent – have no symptoms at all, the government’s approach to dealing with asymptomatic carriers was still unclear.

And more than 20,000 people died.

This Writer hopes the judgment opens the way for the families of the deceased to claim compensation from the government – although, sadly, any such payments are likely to be paid from the public purse, rather than directly by the Tory Cabinet ministers responsible, such as Boris Johnson and then-health secretary Matt Hancock.

The deaths of this multitude of people are their responsibility. It’s no wonder that bereaved families have demanded Johnson’s resignation.

He has ignored the demands, as usual. He doesn’t care that thousands of people died. Remember – he’s alleged to have said “let the bodies pile high in their thousands” at a later date.

But there will be an inquiry into the lessons to be learned from the Covid-19 pandemic next year.

Perhaps it will recommend that those responsible be brought to justice for the deaths they have caused (but I doubt it).

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No prosecutions over Hancock kiss photo leak – because someone wanted him out?

You go for Klimt but you get Munch: Matt Hancock’s social distance-breaking kiss was compared to Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’ but apparently the colour makes it more reminiscent of Munch’s ‘The Scream’. Many women may understand that sensation.

Isn’t it odd that arrangements can be made to leak images of an embarrassing Cabinet minister in a compromising situation – but it’s impossible to find the culprit(s)?

Someone apparently used a mobile phone to take images of then-Health Secretary Matt Hancock kissing his long-time friend and then-aide Gina Coladangelo, from CCTV camera images taken at the Department of Health on May 6, 2021.

It has been alleged that the camera had to be moved in order to be able to take the image, although it would be beyond This Writer’s powers to secure proof of whether that was true.

The images were handed to The Sun the following month and Hancock resigned as Health Secretary on June 27. He subsequently separated from his wife, with whom he has three children, and moved in with Ms Coladangelo.

It was one of those instances in which the end justified the means; Hancock was a disgrace as Health Secretary, presiding over many tens of thousands of preventable Covid-19 deaths because he was more interested in handing huge contracts to Tory cronies for equipment they were never going to supply. And did the government ever get any of that money back?

But it is also true that someone breached the security of a government department, and it was right that a criminal investigation should have been launched – although I question why the Information Commissioner’s Office carried it out and not the police.

Logically, the location of the security office to which the CCTV cameras feed was sent would have been known. And the names of personnel staffing that office would also have been known. So only a small number of people could have been suspects.

I wonder whether they were employed by a private security firm? If so, that’s another black mark against the privatisation that the Tories love so much.

The ICO said checks of mobile phones owned by the suspects revealed no evidence of relevant CCTV footage. Did they contain other footage, then? What are these security people doing with images taken from cameras – and is taking images off camera footage a widespread practice?

This Writer’s experience suggests law enforcement agencies are able to find evidence, even if it has been erased from a mobile phone’s memory, so I wonder whether any of the suspects had a new phone? Wouldn’t that be suspicious? It’s possible the phone used to take the image(s) was left with The Sun, isn’t it?

It seems there were a few avenues of investigation to explore – but it also seems that the political will to find the culprits simply wasn’t there.

Maybe I’m doing the ICO a disservice. Maybe we simply haven’t been told about every stage of the investigation.

Or maybe those responsible for leaking the image(s) served their purpose and that’s why they have been able to disappear without a trace? Nothing would surprise This Writer, as far as Boris Johnson’s government is concerned.

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After #BorisJohnson denied #DowningStreetParty, we find he’s been raving it up since #Covid started

Next time I get to “have a drink” – you know, “after a busy working day” – it’s going to be a bacchanalian orgy. Who’s up for it?

(Make sure you’re Covid-tested first, mind. The Tories might be incapable of keeping us safe from Covid-19, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t safeguard ourselves.)

Clearly we deserve it, and there’s no moral authority that Johnson, his government or his police can exert on us because the first two have clearly been partying in defiance of their own rules since the start of the very first Covid-19 lockdown, and the cops – by refusing to investigate/arrest/prosecute them – have shown us they are in the pockets of the politicians.

We know the Tories have been partying it up since at least May 2020 because – after Johnson insisted that he had followed all his own rules, despite evidence of him participating in rule-busting parties last December – a photo has now emerged of him at a rule-busting party in May 2020 – seven months earlier.

Clearly he and the other Tories have been at it all the time.

The image in question is at the top of the article – I’m using a version that has been labelled with the names of some of the participants so we can all see that Johnson was there with his wife Carrie and son Wilfred, Dominic Cummings (this was before they fell out), Matt Hancock and James Slack (then an advisor to the prime minister and now deputy editor of The Sun).

Challenged to justify the scene in the image, Tory government figures couldn’t even get their story straight.

Johnson himself claimed, “Those were people at work, talking about work.”

If it was a work meeting, where were the laptop computers? Where were the notepads and pens? Can you see a whiteboard anywhere? I can’t!

can see wine, cheese, Johnson’s wife and his baby son.

But Dominic Raab had already claimed that the image was taken after any work had been done. He told BBC Breakfast: “Sometimes after a busy working day people have a drink – that was not against the regulations.”

He was lying; it was. In that same lockdown a care worker who had just finished her shift was fined £200 for sitting alone in her car at a local beauty spot (according to Nadia Whittome).

There’s also this:

Indeed:

And Adil Ray made mincemeat of Raab on ITV’s Good Morning Britain:

Crucially, Johnson was in the wrong, no matter which story was right:

If this was an official government business meeting, then he had brought his wife – an unforgivable breach of the Official Secrets Act.

If it was a social gathering – in May 2020 – then it was a breach of the lockdown Johnson had imposed on the whole of the UK at that time.

Either way, Johnson and Raab both lied – Johnson about what was going on, Raab about the conditions under which it was happening:

It would be entirely appropriate to humiliate Johnson and Raab (and all the other Tory liars and rule-breakers who have been endangering us all and laughing about it) with stories of people who have suffered and died while following the demands that they ignored:

Personally, I think a better humiliation is humour; we should be mocking these entitled Tories who think they’re better than us but whose behaviour falls so far below our own standard.

Oh wait – that might have actually been a serious claim. Okay – try these:

Getting back to the point I was making at the top of this article: while I’m not about to embark on any life-threatening binges, I feel sure many may.

That’s right. Johnson has betrayed us and none of us – not even Tory voters! – can afford to give him even the slightest bit of trust.

He has to go.

And he needs to take his entire cabinet with him because they’re still backing him to the hilt and that means we can’t trust them either.

ONE MORE THING:

This is absolutely right. James Slack from The Sun, for example. He was at the May 2020 Downing Street garden party and never mentioned it – the revelation had to come from another source.

People like him aren’t news reporters. Their function isn’t to tell you what’s being done by our leaders and how it affects you.

It is to keep you under control so they can carry on doing – well, what Johnson and his cronies were doing in that picture. It’s working well, too – after all, Johnson’s still prime minister, isn’t he?

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#Tories line up to backstab #BorisJohnson, with #PritiPatel leading the charge

How do you fancy living in a UK led by Priti Patel?

(Although, let’s be honest, if you remember the reason she was forced to resign by Theresa May, you’ll think it’s being run by the government of Israel.)

Here’s The London Economic:

Priti Patel is reportedly ready to run for prime minister as Boris Johnson may be facing a vote of no confidence.

The Home Secretary is considering throwing her hat in the ring to replace her current boss as both the Conservative party leader and prime minister, according to The Sunday Times.

According to The Sunday Times, chancellor Rishi Sunak and foreign secretary Liz Truss already have donors lined up. Other possible candidates are Michael Gove, Nadhim Zahawi, Jeremy Hunt, Tom Tugendhat and Matt Hancock.

What a candidates’ list! Drunks, druggies, liars and lechers; the richest man in the UK (what does he know about the problems ordinary people face?) and the Evil Queen of Cheese.

All of them lining up to stab Boris Johnson in the back.

But it should be clear to even the most devout Tory that their party only won a landslide at the last general election because people believed Johnson’s lies about Brexit – and media lies about Jeremy Corbyn.

They’re now much less likely to believe either.

Without a charismatic figure to rekindle public support, their goose is well and truly cooked.

And they don’t even know what a charismatic figure looks like; they thought Johnson was one.

Source: Priti Patel is ‘ready’ to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister, reports say

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#MattHancock is talking himself into a corner over his friend’s #Covid19 #contract

Matt Hancock and Alex Bourne: nothing to see here, according to the former Health Secretary.

I agree with Matt Thomas about this:

But to his words I would also add that misleading Parliament about such a contract should also carry an automatic penalty: expulsion.

It seems clear that Matt Hancock arranged a preferential deal for a Covid-19 contract with a company that acted as a ‘front’ for Alex Bourne, who used to run a pub close to Hancock’s constituency home in Suffolk.

Bourne has said he offered to supply the government with vials for Covid-19 tests via a WhatsApp message to Hancock. He ended up with a £40 million contract, despite having had no previous experience of providing medical supplies.

The contract was provided to a supplier already approved by the NHS – Alpha Pharmaceuticals, who then sub-contracted the work in its entirety to Bourne’s company Hinpack – apparently because Hancock’s Department of Health and Social Care had demanded it.

Hancock told Parliament that any suggestion Bourne’s firm had been favoured because of his connection with the then-Health Secretary was a smear (as it implies corruption). He said: “I have heard this point about this pub landlord and I just want to tell her and the House, and put it formally on the record, and after this I hope the Labour party will also stop this slur, that the man in question never got nor applied for a contract from the government or the NHS at all. It is a fabrication pushed by the Labour party. It’s a load of rubbish.”

He added: “Of course, the Department of Health and the NHS does not have a say in sub-contracting arrangements.”

But the government did know that the work was being sub-contracted to Hancock’s company because it was written into Alpha’s contract. We have no reason to believe that Alpha, which is based in Harrow, Middlesex, had any knowledge of Hinpack prior to the awarding of this contract.

It seems clear that the contract was constructed carefully in order to put distance between Hancock and his acquaintance, although information has emerged proving that Hancock, as Health Secretary, had personally referred Bourne on to a government official.

His claim that he did not corruptly arrange for Bourne to get the work has been rubbished by Labour figures – to his face on Robert Peston’s ITV show when he clashed with Jess Phillips:

She’s wrong about a lot of things, but this isn’t one of them.

When the details of the sub-contract came out, Labour’s Annaliese Dodds demanded that Hancock return to Parliament to set the record straight:

He did respond, as follows: “This point of order and the point made in it demonstrates very clearly that there was no contract between the firm being discussed and the department or the NHS.

“So what this has done is demonstrated finally and for the record that there was no such contract between my constituent and the department or NHS. No matter how hard they look or how deep they dig, all that will be discovered is a lot of people working hard to save lives. That’s what was going on.”

That seems like bullshit to me.

Hancock recommended Bourne to a government official after having been contacted by Bourne.

He was responsible for awarding contracts.

A contract went to a company that then immediately passed on the work to Hancock’s friend, apparently because Hancock demanded it:

And, think about it: if you wanted to give plausible deniability to a corruptly-awarded contract, wouldn’t you do it by ensuring that it was a sub-contract that you could then say had nothing to do with you?

This Writer thinks Hancock’s story stinks – and I am looking forward to new information that the Good Law Project, which has been investigating the case, may turn up.

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Government rules out searching Matt Hancock’s private emails. What does Johnson NOT want to find?

Matt Hancock: I thought I might not get another chance to use this image of him looking gormless. How wrong I was!

Despite admitting that Matt Hancock used his private email address to carry out government business, Boris Johnson’s gang won’t check his private emails to find out what he did in them.

Why not?

It seems the government has no record of much of Hancock’s decision-making during the pandemic, and this is because he carried out his business by private email.

Government guidelines expressly demand that ministers who use their personal emails for Parliamentary business should “take steps to ensure the relevant information is accessible” but it seems clear that Hancock hasn’t bothered.

Otherwise, why would The Sunday Times state that no record exists to show how Hancock negotiated PPE contracts, created the test-and-trace programme and oversaw the care homes strategy?

The nation needs to know about these matters because we need to know how much money he wasted on the first two, and how many lives he wasted on the third.

It seems clear that the only reason the government won’t go through Hancock’s emails is fear of embarrassment; he was incompetent at best, and a search could reveal the kind of mistakes that are actionable in court.

The claim to have been through 1.4 million documents already, so checking Hancock’s mail won’t be necessary, is clearly a smokescreen. Why do all that work when you can get all the information you need just by looking at one person’s emails?

The Good Law Project is already calling for Hancock’s inbox and outbox to be examined.

If the information won’t be provided willingly, perhaps this organisation should seek a court order?

Source: Government rules out searching Matt Hancock’s private emails – BBC News

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Did the media delay Matt Hancock ‘affair’ story to keep Labour’s useless leader in place?

Hancock and Starmer: it seems evidence of the former’s affair was held by a Tory-supporting newspaper in order to bolster the latter’s position in the polls, because Starmer is considered a better advert for keeping the Tories in power than Hancock.

Here’s a disturbing new wrinkle in the story of Matt Hancock’s affair with Gina Coladangelo and his fall from the UK Cabinet.

According to Jeremy Corbyn’s former spokesman Matt Zarb-Cousin, The Sun – a member of the UK’s mass media that insists on calling itself a newspaper while consistently failing to meet the standards required – had evidence of Hancock’s affair for a considerable period of time before publishing it.

He reckons that… periodical… sat on the CCTV image, waiting for the best moment to use it – a moment that would create a political advantage for its own bosses and their opinions.

So the images – taken by a CCTV camera that had been moved from its original angle – were made on May 6, but The Sun didn’t publish them until nearly two months later, on the weekend before the Batley & Spen by-election.

Zarb-Cousin reckons the intention wasn’t to support Labour and its candidate, Kim Leadbeater (The Sun supports the Conservatives politically) but to ensure that the Labour Party remained stuck with a useless party leader in Keir Starmer – who is doing more harm to the UK’s official Opposition party from the inside than any Tory ever could (Starmer’s future as Labour leader was in doubt as pre-election polling showed Labour could lose the formerly-safe seat but he seized on the wafer-thin majority of 323 votes won by the party to claim a huge resurgence in support):

Zarb-Cousin puts forward convincing evidence:

There can only be one reason a Tory would want to keep an Opposition leader in position, and that is because they believe their own position in government is made safer by him being there.

Of course this puts Starmer in an untenable position because action to keep him in place by the Tories undermines any authority he has as a force to remove them from power…

… but we all know, now, that he won’t do the honourable thing and quit because he wants power for himself.

Does he just want it for its own sake, or is he actually following a plan to destroy the Labour Party? I don’t know.

Does it matter? No.

In the distorting hall of mirrors that is the Westminster media, we can only rely on what we see.

And, seeing that a Tory-supporting rag withheld information until it could be used to support the Labour leader, we must conclude that he is unfit for the job and must be removed.

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Does anybody think Matt Hancock will face any real punishment over his affair scandal?

The snog and The Scream: a reminder of what Hancock did – and of our reactions when we saw the CCTV image for the first time.

I don’t – even though a Tory councillor in his constituency is calling for him to resign as a member of Parliament – or be deselected if he doesn’t, so he can’t stand as a Tory again:

Ian Houlder has written to the local Tory party calling for Mr Hancock to be removed as MP for West Suffolk in the wake of his resignation from cabinet.

The West Suffolk councillor said Mr Hancock’s actions were “beyond the pale”, adding that his “honour, integrity, probity and honesty, should he have had any, [is] trashed beyond redemption”.

In his email to the chair of the West Suffolk Conservative Association, Mr Houlder said the controversy had shown Mr Hancock to be a “selfish, egotistical man”.

“He has let every member of the public down, pontificating that they should all make huge sacrifices on the altar of the pandemic, whilst doing the complete opposite himself,” Mr Houlder added.

Those are all valid points.

But Hancock is a wired-in member of Boris Johnson’s gang who will probably be back in the Cabinet as soon as any of the other dodgy individuals there are forced to go the same way he did.

For now, I think we’ll hear from apologists saying, “He’s suffered enough,” which is the usual excuse.

Suffered? He looked like he was enjoying himself immensely in that damning photo of him snogging his aide.

But that’s Tories for you. Nobody in the party hierarchy honestly believes Hancock did anything wrong. Rules are for other people and the power to hire and fire is there so Cabinet ministers can satisfy their grotty little carnal desires.

Meanwhile, Mr Houlder’s motives seem readily apparent.

As a Tory councillor, he’s probably standing in line for his own chance to take the constituency seat in Parliament. The Hancock scandal is just a chance to jump the queue by eliminating the incumbent.

I don’t think he’ll succeed but it will be interesting to see how the Tory leadership handles it.

Source: Matt Hancock faces constituency backlash over affair scandal – with calls for him to ‘resign without delay’ | Politics News | Sky News

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Tory MPs have been using private emails to covertly conduct government business for YEARS

Boris Johnson: who knows how much government business the prime minister has corruptly carried out over his own personal email account, in order to hide it from your scrutiny? And before anybody says they expect honesty from the PM, let’s all remember that we all knew what he is before he won the 2019 general election.

Why is everybody making such a fuss about Matt Hancock carrying out government business on the sly via his private email account now? Tory ministers have been doing this habitually since 2011.

There can only be one reason for it, too – and that is to avoid proper and lawful scrutiny of activities that they know are not acceptable behaviour for government ministers.

Michael Gove was caught using private emails to communicate with Department for Education personnel, all the way back in 2011.

Financial Times journalist Chris Cook established that Gove and some of his special advisers (or Spads) had been using private email accounts to conduct business which appeared to many (eventually including the Information Commissioner) to be Government business. It was suggested that this had been done to avoid potential disclosure of the emails through FOI.

Did Gove receive any punishment for this? No.

Liam Fox’s personal email account was hacked by Russians in 2019 when, as International Trade Secretary, he was responsible for negotiating a trade deal with the United States.

The hackers lifted 450 pages of classified information from the account, prompting Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party to ask why Fox had been using an unsecured personal email address to carry out government business.

Has there ever been an answer to this question? No.

There have been attempts to justify the use of private emails – Tory MP Tom Tugendhat claimed in 2016 that he had received private advice from GCHQ, the government communications centre in Cheltenham, that a Gmail account would be more secure against hacking than the government’s own system.

It’s possible that he was telling the truth – after all, it has been claimed that GCHQ routinely monitors MPs’ private email accounts in any event. Alarmingly, it seems the US National Security Agency is also privy to any information gathered during these sweeps. Why?

And now we have information showing that Matt Hancock, Lord Bethell, Helen Whately and PM Boris Johnson himself have all misused their personal email accounts in order to hide business they have done as members of the government from lawful scrutiny.

You may have heard misinformation claiming that ministers are allowed to conduct some business by private email, depending on the seriousness of the matters concerned and the level of security to be applied.

This Writer heard a mealy-mouthed Tory apologist making such claims on Radio 4’s PM on June 28. They are not true.

Cabinet Office guidance clearly states that “The originator or recipient of a
communication should consider whether the information contained in it is substantive discussions or decisions generated in the course of conducting Government business and, if so, take steps to ensure the relevant information is accessible (e.g. by copying it to a government email address)”.

There is no opt-out. Any and all emails in which government business is carried out must at least be copied into the government’s email system and any failure to do so is a breach of the rules.

Sadly, the guidance note does not describe any sanctions that could be used against government ministers or officers for misuse of private email accounts to carry out government business in secret. This is a common omission that makes the rules themselves a dead letter; worthless.

In other words, while it is entirely possible that Hancock, Johnson and all the others have been corruptly hiding dirty Tory deals for more than a decade, there isn’t a damned thing that can be done to stop them.

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Hancock out, Javid in – it seems Boris Johnson has few Tories to choose from

Sajid Javid: the new Health Secretary has been compared with Gollum from JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth fictions.

Hancock had to go, in the end.

Not only had he brought the position of Health Secretary into disrepute by breaking his own “guidelines” (and we all thought they were rules), but he had allowed the Tory government to be ridiculed.

And nobody thought he should stay. This Site’s (admittedly unscientific) poll gave a 100 per cent result in favour of him resigning.

And now he is gone.

(I’m not saying he went just because of my poll’s result, but it does seem to have reflected the mood of the nation at large, meaning it was impossible for him to stay.)

Ironically, that leaves the woman he allegedly hired solely so he could have an affair with her, stuck in a Health Department job that she may not even be qualified to hold. We know nothing of her record as an adviser.

But he’ll probably be back very soon.

Yes – now for the bad news.

You see, Boris Johnson has appointed Sajid Javid as Hancock’s replacement.

Javid was removed from his previous Cabinet job as Chancellor of the Exchequer in February last year, after a row with Johnson and then-prime ministerial adviser Dominic Cummings over his own advisers.

The fact that he is back now – filling the gap left after the first Cabinet change since he left – suggests that Johnson has very few allies in his own party.

This could explain his refusal to sack his ministers; with only the Britannia Unchained mob (Patel, Raab, Truss, Kwarteng) and a few Brexiters to choose from, he can’t afford to lose anybody.

This would also explain the increasing wave of corruption in Johnson’s ranks.

They know he is weak and they are exploiting it.

Further signs of Johnson’s weakness are evident – and likely to become more so after Javid’s appointment.

We have already seen attacks from Dominics Cummings and Grieve, and the defection of John Bercow to Keir Starmer’s Labour (not a huge leap, sadly).

I’m willing to predict more backstabbings from what we might call more “traditional” Conservatives, as they realise an 80-seat Parliamentary majority doesn’t mean more than 360 supporters for Johnson’s fascism.

They have plenty of attack options – the fact that Johnson allowed Hancock to make so many mistakes, break so many rules (all right, “guidelines”), and generally corrupt his office shows that the prime minister’s judgement is highly questionable.

The fact that Johnson refused to sack Hancock in the face of the public outcry also raises serious questions. Other PMs have sacked ministers who brought their administration into disrepute, even though it meant hiring MPs less sympathetic to their own politics, but Johnson didn’t.  That could be a valuable pressure point in the future.

In fact, there’s really only one ray of hope for Johnson amid this political and public relations disaster:

Hancock’s personal life brought him down, not his utter failure at his job.

This is a man whose three years as Health Secretary were characterised by rampant corruption – the appointment of an adviser purely so he could have an affair with her is just one example – and incompetence.

He gave contracts to provide the NHS with personal protective equipment (PPE) to Tory donors and friends who failed to do so. In the time he wasted this way, tens of thousands of people died.

He wasted £37 billion on a privatised “track and trace” system that still doesn’t work after a year. That organisation was run by Dido Harding, who now wants a job running NHS England – and if she gets it, she’ll ruin it as well.

He lied to us repeatedly about the seriousness of the Covid-19 threat, about the effectiveness of the government’s opposition to it, and about the incompetence of his own decisions (covering up his uselessness).

He failed to provide appropriate guidance to protect care home residents from Covid-19 – most especially from fellow residents returning from hospital but also from staff who worked in multiple homes.

I’m listing these examples off the top of my head, by the way – they are so obvious I don’t even have to research them.

But those failures aren’t what brought him down.

Johnson can take heart from this. It shows that the mindless mass of tribal Tory voters is still right behind him – convinced that his government is doing what’s right for the UK, even as it drags us into the cess pit of fascism and exploitation.

It’s a very small gleam of sunlight through the clouds surrounding him, though.

He has surrounded himself with corrupt incompetents just like Hancock, whose rampant self-interest will bring them before the court of public opinion again – very soon.

What will Johnson do when the mob is baying for the next one’s head?

Source: Matt Hancock quits as health secretary after breaking social distance guidance – BBC News

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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