Could You Be, Could You Be Squeaky Clean….

January 16, 2022

It turns out that a serial liar has been caught lying. That a member of the Bullingdon Club was attending boozy parties in lockdown. Surprised? 

That Boris Johnson’s premiership is circling the drain makes me sad for two reasons. 

Firstly, it was blindingly obvious to anyone with any understanding of human behaviour that the man was unfit for high office. He was sacked for lying. Twice. From The Times in 1987 and by Tory leader Michael Howard in 2004. He lied to the Queen about proroguing Parliament. He said “let the bodies pile high in their thousands.”  He has been abusive to just about everyone who isn’t him – from “flag waving picanninies with watermelon smiles” to “tank-topped bum boys.”

Some thought it a good idea to put a clown in charge, because he would say the things they wanted to. They were wrong. A character like Johnson was never on their side. He is always on his own. 

His 1995 article makes it clear, “… the modern British male is useless. If he is blue collar, he is likely to be drunk, criminal, aimless, feckless and hopeless, and perhaps claiming to suffer from low self-esteem brought on by unemployment. If he is white collar, he is likely to be little better.” 

That’s you he’s talking about. Or your Dad, your brother, your son or your husband. He displays the same contempt for the rules as he shows for people. 

Secondly, I’m sad because it’s his personal failings bringing him down, not his political actions. Tears for Fears nailed it with their 1989 song, Sowing the Seeds of Love. “Could you be, could you be squeaky clean and smash any hope of democracy?” 

What if Johnson hadn’t attended those parties?  Would everything still be alright? 

Take one example. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill going through Parliament right now. 

Police can already suspend protests that cause serious disorder – quite right. But this new legislation will make “serious annoyance” or being a “public nuisance” illegal. A judge will be able to jail a person for up to 10 years. Seriously. A police officer will be given powers to take “such conditions as appear necessary” to that officer “to prevent disorder, damage, disruption, impact or intimidation.”

Did you notice the word “impact” snuck in there?  What the hell is the point of a protest that has no impact?  The legislation should be renamed the Father Ted Bill. “Down with this sort of thing,” and “Careful now!”

If your local beauty spot is going to be bulldozed, your protest could land you in jail. Not happy with who owns your football club?  Better not protest, or you could get 10 years. Your employer failing to keep you safe?  Better stick to a strongly worded letter, or else jail for you. Oppose the closure of your local school or hospital?  Don’t want a bypass through your village?  Better make sure your protest has no impact, you criminal. Whichever way you vote, Johnson and his ilk will throw you under the bus.  

I asked some police constables what they think of the Police Bill this weekend. “I joined the police because I want to protect vulnerable people. Not to stop people protesting,” one officer told me. Former Chief Constables have criticised it as a “politically motivated move towards paramilitary policing.”  How long before these powers are used by private security firms? 

Protest is an essential part of healthy democracy. My fourteen year old son attended the protests against the Bill in Newcastle on Saturday. He wants to study medicine, and be a doctor, like his Mam. I can’t help thinking how many of his generation will end up with criminal records for peacefully campaigning for a better world. 

I’m unhappy because this Bill stays whether Johnson goes or not. Whether they broke lockdown rules or not, Tory MPs broke their manifesto pledge and voted to raise National Insurance.  Voted to deny hungry kids school meals through the holidays. They’ve announced plans to effectively abolish the BBC from 2027. 

There’s another line in Sowing the Seeds of Love:  We’re fools to the rules of a Government plan.