A brief history of how the government pissed all over our trust during the pandemic

I literally can’t believe these people are in charge

Boris Johnson and his merry band of fuckwits have once again taken it upon themselves to destroy people’s trust in the government, this time over a simple question of whether or not the Prime Minister should self-isolate.

When newly appointed Health Secretary Sajid Javid contracted Covid over the weekend, Boris and Chancellor Rishi Sunak got told to isolate as they had been in close proximity with Javid.

How close, we aren’t sure. But Boris said he was part of some pilot scheme that meant he didn’t have to self-isolate and would just do a couple of tests instead. Outrage ensued, prompting Boris and Rishi in to an abrupt U-turn, both eventually deciding to self-isolate in the end.

We were angered by this whole drama? Yes. Shocked? Absolutely not. This is just the latest example of the public losing trust in a government that seems to do what it wants with few consequences. Here’s a brief history of how the government completely pissed all over our trust during the pandemic.

March 2020: Boris makes his first pandemic speeches


Boris giving one of his confusing speeches

Remember Boris’s early pandemic speeches? No one had a clue what was going on. The rules were so unclear, conveyed in such a way that made you think the government just didn’t know what they were doing at all.

We were told not to go to the pub. But it wasn’t the law for pubs to close. So they were still open. And closing soon. Talk about a predicament.

The Malones from Gogglebox summed it up perfectly.

March 2020: Boris calls Matt Hancock ‘totally fucking hopeless’

Obvs this all came out in June 2021 when a disgruntled Dominic Cummings dropped the screenshots into the public consciousness, but Boris’s unflattering texts about Matt Hancock were actually sent one day after the first lockdown came into effect.

In a Whatsapp message sent to Cummings, Boris called Hancock “totally fucking hopeless.” It took until June of this year for Hancock to get sacked and even then it wasn’t on the grounds of his incompetence.

May 2020: Dominic Cummings goes to Barnard Castle to ‘test his vision’


Dominic Cummings

Way back in the first lockdown, Boris’s main adviser, Dominic Cummings, was caught travelling from London to Durham with suspected Covid, when the whole country was under strict rules to stay at home to halt the spread of the disease.

Cummings will have had a key say in crafting the very rules he broke on this trip. He also drove to Barnard Castle which he said was to “test his vision.”

And then there was the general thing of feeling like Cummings, an unelected adviser, was running the country with Boris as his puppet. Cummings is the man who was at least partially responsible for the false claim that the NHS would save £350m a year after leaving the EU, and for much of the pandemic, he was at the very centre of a completely mistrustful government.

Throughout the pandemic: Ministers give out favours to their mates

Remember when former head of TalkTalk Dido Harding was put put in charge of the absolute shambles that was Test and Trace? What a joke that was.

Harding, who is also a Tory peer, had no experience in the area of public health, so it came as no surprise when a group of MPs from all parties found that there was “no clear evidence” the £22bn Test and Trace scheme had had ANY impact at all on reducing coronavirus infections. None at all.

Many believe the only reason Harding got the job was through her close links to the Conservative party. “I have got concerns why she was appointed to such a critical role, especially at the time of the biggest crisis we are facing globally when any restructuring would be a setback,” said Patty Kostkova, director of UCL’s Centre for Digital Public Health in Emergencies. “It gives the impression of nepotism.”

And Harding isn’t alone in this government cronyism shitstorm. Allegations that the government haven’t been going through the correct processes when handing out contracts during the pandemic have been absolutely rife.

A recent study indicated that a fifth of all contracts handed out in response to the coronavirus pandemic potentially involved some level of corruption.

Someone’s even made an “interactive visualisation of the links between Tory politicians and firms winning government contracts” which you can find here.

April 2021: Boris delays closing the borders to India

At the start of April, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh were under an intense wave of coronavirus, but while the latter two were put on the red-list, the UK’s borders remained open to people coming from India until 19th.

Critics of Boris Johnson believe this has something to do with the fact he had a high profile visit planned to New Delhi to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Arpil 19th.

Boris did eventually cancel the trip and the borders closed to people coming from India on April 23rd, by which time the Delta variant was beginning to take hold in the UK. Critics like Alistair Campbell see Boris’s decision to delay border closures as directly contributing to “lost life and damaged livelihoods.”

April 2021: The government hide things by chatting on Whatsapp

The government has been making key policy decisions over Whatsapp meaning that they could be hiding important information from the public. Nine cabinet members including Boris, Rishi and Priti also use an encrypted messaging app called Signal.

Both of these apps have functions where messages can disappear after a short while meaning that the government could be using them instead of official channels in order to avoid accountability.

June 2021- Matt Hancock’s affair

Yes, this was really fucking entertaining, but it was also a complete betrayal of public trust. The Sun published a picture of then Health Secretary Matt Hancock kissing his aide Gina Coladangelo. Then the footage emerged and Twitter went into meltdown.

But this wasn’t just your everyday “Tory politician has affair story.” No. The man who was in charge of implementing coronavirus restrictions and who has time and time again told us to respect those rules, was caught flagrantly breaching them. People will have lost confidence in the government and the rules keeping the population safe as a direct result.

July 2021- Priti Patel being a complete hypocrite about racism

When England crashed out of the final of Euro 2020, Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho found themselves inundated with horrible racist abuse online. Home Secretary Priti Patel rightly condemned the abuse saying she felt “disgusted” that  the players had been “subject to vile racist abuse on social media.”

But her remarks couldn’t help but feel somewhat hollow, as just weeks before, she had accused the England team of engaging in “gesture politics” by taking the knee before matches.

Tyrone Mings summed up Patel’s hypocrisy best, tweeting: “You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens.”

July 2021- Boris’s self-isolation U-turn

And here we are. We’re finally at so-called Freedom Day. Cases are rising rapidly and yet for some reason clubs are open again and we can wear masks in indoor public places.

The silver lining is that following the Prime Minister’s U-turn, he’s now locked up in his house and legally unable to leave, meaning the country hasn’t been this safe all year.

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