Watching Boris Johnson perform at Prime Ministers’ Questions in Parliament yesterday sent a shiver up my spine. His blustery deployment of drivel and garbage with the aplomb of a Vaudeville veteran bellied the serious deceit and cold, callous cruelty which his comments were drenched in.
This is a Prime Minister who has lied every step of the way during the Covid19 health crisis. He was well warned about UK unpreparedness for such a serious public health pandemic and glibly and wilfully ignored those warnings and then tried to prevent the public from finding out those warnings existed and they had ignored them. He and his Ministers have been criminally negligent and consistently dishonest.
They lied about their initial pursuit of a ‘herd immunity’ strategy which basically amounted to the mass sacrifice of the elderly and infirm instead of lockdown, social isolation and test, track and trace to defeat the virus. The economy was more important to the Tories than the health of the elderly and frontline health and care staff so the lockdown was too late, a testing regime wasn’t prepared and the provision of Personal Protective Equipment was a litany of lies infused with farce.
Johnson and his government lied about the supply of PPE to frontline health and care staff. They lied about the implementation of testing for frontline health and care workers. And they have lied about implementing protective measures for care homes to protect elderly residents and the poorly paid carers who look after them.
Tory Lies Have Been Publicly Exposed but They Carry On Regardless
These lies have been exposed spectacularly and regularly. Often from surprising sources. If the Good Morning Britain and shamed former tabloid editor Piers Morgan were not so selfish and thick, he would not have done so much to undermine Jeremy Corbyn and boost Boris Johnson during the December 2019 General Election campaign. But he was thick and selfish, and he and his mainstream media buddies deliberately undermined a good and honest man in favour of a lying, lazy and reactionary buffoon.
Morgan must be deeply embarrassed by his actions in 2019 as several of his interviews and contributions over recent weeks have had Tory politicians wriggling like fish on a hook when presented with their government’s series of lies and deceptions. He lampooned Tory minister Therese Coffey for “lying through her back teeth” over the number of daily Covid19 tests being carried out in the UK while commenting on her BBC interview that morning when even the normally meek presenters there felt compelled to politely rubbish the often repeated lie about ‘100,000’ daily tests:
“We’ve looked at last week’s figures, and at no point in those seven days did you get anywhere near 100,000 people tested. 60,000 on Monday … only three times did it get to over 70,000, so those targets aren’t being met for numbers of people being actually tested.”.
Bear in mind Johnson has claimed several times it would be 200,000 a day. They just repeatedly lie in the face of daily facts.
In relation to care homes and the Johnson and Health Minister Matt Hancock claim that their government implemented plans to protect them and ‘shield’ them from the virus Morgan called Johnson a “brazen liar” and quoted from a reliable independent source to back up his accusation:
“The Reuters investigation has shown it was a lie, all a lie, in fact, there was a direct order from the top of our public health to clear bed space and to send people back to care homes.
‘We now know they let people infected with COVID back to care homes and when the Prime Minister said a lockdown in care homes was put in place before the official lockdown it is a lie, we now know it was a week after!'”
Tory Government Lies Must Be Examined During Post-Covid19 Public Enquiry
Last week Hancock was exposed as a liar for claiming nurses pay had increased by 15% under his government. The Full Fact Charity independently analysed the claim and found it to be false. In fact, the pay of nurses in real terms has actually fallen by over 7% over the ten years of Tory administrations.
The catalogue of Tory Government lies must be patiently documented and vigorously presented in a Judge led Public Enquiry which will surely find Johnson and his gang culpable for the worst Covid19 death rate in Europe generally; the worst Covid19 death rate amongst frontline health and care workers; and the worst Covid19 death rate in elderly care homes.
Drivers who injure and kill innocent pedestrians and other road users while drunk at the wheel do not deliberately set out to kill or injure others but their behaviour is considered so reckless they are held criminally responsible for the deaths or injuries they inflict. So, too with Johnson and his Ministers. They received clear warnings and stern medical and scientific advice. They recklessly ignored that advice and those warnings. They are culpable for the excess Covid19 deaths across the UK but particularly those of health and care workers and those in elderly care homes.
Johnson’s Dishonesty is Matched Only by His Lack of Compassion
Johnson lying through his teeth in Parliament and to the public is therefore nothing new. Lack of candour with the public is in his political and personal DNA. What was so chilling about yesterday was his response to the wholly rancid idea that the very low paid health and care workers who risk their lives daily to save others should be discriminated against if they are from other countries. The Immigration Health Surcharge is imposed on the very overseas health and care workers who dedicate their lives to saving others. Because they are from foreign countries, they face annual visa charges and an additional upfront Health Surcharge of £400 per member of their household regardless of whether they use the health service or not.
This Immigration Health Surcharge is to be raised to £620 per immigrant and immigrant family members from October. Johnson and his Tory mob gather each Thursday evening in front of as many cameras they can find to #ClapForCarers but on Monday they used those same hands to press voting buttons to doubly charge those overseas NHS workers and carers for using the very health service they help maintain.
Any employee within the NHS or care industry pays tax and National Insurance. They pay VAT on goods and services purchased in the UK. In other words, they already contribute towards the NHS they may need to use at some time while they live and work in the UK. To impose any surcharge on them is callous and cruel but particularly a surcharge as high as £400 per member of the immigrant’s household rising to £620 per head in October. It is despicable and disgraceful, but it sums up Johnson and the Tories to a tee.
Johnson Clapping for Carers is a Duplicitous Display
Johnson was fulsome in his praise of the health workers who cared for him during his alleged bout of Covid19. The circumstances surrounding his apparent contraction of the virus and subsequent admission to hospital demands forensic analysis because I refuse to believe the official government account but what did emerge was that two of his main NHS carers while in hospital were indeed immigrants. Immigrants typical of the staff within the health and care sector without whom we would likely collapse. Their skills and commitment are necessary, and many occupy lowly paid roles which otherwise would remain unfilled. One of Johnson’s care staff was from Portugal and the other from New Zealand. But it means not a jot to Johnson.
Examine the exchange between Johnson and Labour opposition leader Starmer yesterday in Parliament:
“Every Thursday, we go out and clap for our carers. Many of them are risking their lives for the sake of all of us. Does the Prime Minister think it is right that careworkers coming from abroad and working on our frontline should have to pay a surcharge of hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds to use the NHS themselves?”
“I have thought a great deal about this, and I accept and understand the difficulties faced by our amazing NHS staff. Like the right hon. and learned Gentleman, I have been a personal beneficiary of carers who have come from abroad and frankly saved my life. I know exactly the importance of what he asks. On the other hand, we must look at the realities. This is a great national service—it is a national institution—that needs funding, and those contributions help us to raise about £900 million. It is very difficult in the current circumstances to find alternative sources, so with great respect for the right hon. and learned Gentleman’s point, I think it is the right way forward.”
Johnson is then presented with the impassioned appeals of the very medical professionals who ‘saved his life’ and whom he claps for every week
“I am disappointed because the Prime Minister knows how raw this is. The fee in question, the immigration health surcharge, is currently £400 a year. From October, that goes up to £624 a year. For a careworker on the national living wage, that will require working for 70 hours to pay off the fee.
The Doctors Association and a number of medical groups wrote to the Home Secretary this week, and they set it out this way:
“At a time when we are mourning colleagues, your steadfast refusal to reconsider the deeply unfair immigration health surcharge is a gross insult to all of us who are serving this country at its time of greatest need.”
We agree, and Labour will table amendments to the immigration Bill to exempt NHS and careworkers from this charge. Can I urge the Prime Minister to reconsider his view as we go through this crisis?”
Johnson with a brass neck even a blow torch could not mark and indicating ice not blood courses through his veins curtly replies, “I have given my answer”.
Tory Dark Underbelly Is Exposed More And More Each Day
Such unashamed ruthless harshness in the face of the plight of over-worked and underpaid health and care workers from overseas epitomises the dark underbelly upon which the Tories exist and the hypocrisy, emptiness and insincerity which pollutes their weekly applause for health and care workers. His £900 million immigrant health surcharge claim was another lie as the Institute of Fiscal Studies analysis shows the figure to be nearer £90 million but the lie is second nature to him and expected. What alarms me more is the lack of emotion, empathy or contrition even after his well trailed life-threatening drama.
As each day passes the words of ‘Brassed Off’ writer Mark Herman, which were so expertly delivered during the film by Stephen Tompkinson as an exasperated and stressed coal miner, grow in prophetic prowess and potency:
“So God was creating man. And his little assistant came up to him and he said: “Hey, we’ve got all these bodies left, but we’re right out of brains, we’re right out of hearts and we’re right out of vocal chords.” And God said: “F**k it. Sew ’em up anyway. Smack smiles on the faces and make them talk out of their arses.” And lo, God created the Tory Party“.