“The Rule Of One”: One For Them, But Another For Everyone Else

You may have heard about the growing political controversy here in the UK as the public is hearing more and more about the behavior of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and members of his staff – particularly during the “first lockdown” in early 2020, but also since – in holding gatherings of a sort that were evidently prohibited under anti-COVID regulations that had been written by HIS GOVERNMENT.

Reportedly he told staffers to “let off steam” at the get-togethers.

The issue of “one rule for them” and “another for the rest of us” is now dominating the news here and one suspects the PM hopes something “bigger” happens to distract the media and the public…

[From BBC News, January 15, 2022.]

Even though vaccinated and boosted, we – my wife and I – stay home EVEN NOW as much as possible. We avoid socializing in large groups. At gatherings such as funerals, we adhere to anti-COVID suggestions.

Seeing this unfolding “scandal,” I have recalled again too – as I suppose many of us have – on how we had “lived” under government-decreed “lockdown.” Back then, personally I was lucky. I was with my wife and we get along. (Well, I get along with her… and I hope she does with me. She says she does anyway.)

I was also writing, so my days were often much as they might have been in “normal” times”:

[Capture The Cause paperback proof. Photo by me, January 16, 2022.]

Instagram STORIES truly won me over during the early pandemic. I saw how they allowed an immediacy in terms of interaction. We could post “silliness” and try to take our minds off our troubles. (And you may have experienced the same.)

It also allowed us to help each other in a way. One story I recall truly bothered me. Someone I followed (and she did not have a lot of followers) had posted only text to a Story… saying her husband was a doctor and he was staying in the hospital where he worked (so he minimized risk to her and to others) and so she had not seen another person IN PERSON in days and was miserable. It struck me as a cry in the darkness and I could not ignore it: I messaged her that we were here viewing and reading her Stories, so she was not “alone.” We became “chums” after that online – and we still are.

Another was also alone and cooking relentlessly and putting up videos of doing so. When she at point even apologized for doing so much posting of pots and pans and dishes, I messaged her too and told her to post whatever she wanted to post if it helped her outlook. I was enjoying seeing it all, too – she was so entertaining she was actually BETTER than television.

Neither was here in the UK either. For a time around the world so many of us were all in the same pandemic isolated “boat.” And social media like Instagram brought us together as never before.

What happened to the Queen at Prince Philip’s funeral really resonated with us. After my father-in-law died, my wife could not even legally hug her mother at his – restricted to less than a dozen people – April 2020 “funeral.” Why not? Because she did not live with us and was not in our “bubble.”

Here in Britain (and this likely applies of course also to where you are) in much of 2020 and into 2021 we could barely leave our house aside from food shopping or once a day for a walk. Families and friends were separated. Christmas 2020 here especially was long and lonely for millions – many spent it ENTIRELY ALONE in a house or an apartment.

Yet at about the same time, there was reportedly a gathering pre-Christmas 2020 in which “40-50” people were jammed into a room at 10 Downing Street (the prime minister’s official residence and office) that was a clear violation of then anti-Covid “rules.” The Daily Mirror newspaper has revealed:

...just days before Christmas [2020], with London in tier 3 restrictions, members of his top team held their own festive bash in Downing Street. 

Officials knocked back glasses of wine during a Christmas quiz and a Secret Santa while the rest of the country was forced to stay at home.

Drinking at the gatherings is being much reported, but it is actually NOT the drinking that is the main issue (for me anyway). Socializing happens in office settings as we know and with it does drinking at the end of a day or early in the evening. The questionable conduct was far more the human interaction that occurred – even if “socially distanced.” For no one aside from those absolutely needed in offices were supposed to be in an office during that period and there is NO WAY all of those staffers “lived together” in a “bubble” that would have justified such “closeness” to each other.

[Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com]

Indeed for much of the early pandemic in particular we could not turn on the radio here without being essentially ordered: “You must STAY HOME.” That was repeated ad nauseum by some deep-voiced male announcer in a Government ad to the point it is imprinted into my memory. I think I will be able to recall his voice and words for the rest of my life.

So if I may “let off steam” here… don’t tell me those Number 10 staffers could not have had Zoom meetings in order to converse, and “share their spreadsheets,” and even say “goodbye” ONLINE with drinks consumed SEPARATELY in their INDIVIDUAL RESIDENCES if one of them, for example, resigned for a new job… as EVERYONE ELSE out here was then being forced to do in an office work situation. (Downing Street staff were officially classified as “key workers.” That meant they could work in the office. However, the notion that most of them could not have most of the time, like most of the rest of the office workers in the country, worked remotely to churn out reports, etc., and by video, is hard to buy.)

Just in case you wanted to know what all the internet memes about Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his staffers and parties are about, and why so many – even in his own Conservative party – are calling for him to resign.

Have a good Monday, and, if you are in the US, a good Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. 🙂

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