Hello, this is Wilhelm. Today’s blog is about the hullabaloo that could bring down the government, and why the wrong lessons are being learned.
The civil servants and political advisers in number 10 Downing Street (and even Boris Johnson himself) made a bad mistake in having a series of social events while the British people were forced to stay at home for months on end. As they say in Germany, you don’t starve your horses while you feast.
Of course the Prime Minister shouldn’t resign over this stupid but ultimately minor breach of the rules. Nor should he and his team learn the lesson that Labour and the BBC want him to, that is that the government should have followed its own advice and avoided one another at their place of work as soon as it became 5 o’clock, going home and not bothering about governing the country in crisis. The whole incident shows that the policy of lockdown-at-all-costs was, is and will be impractical, unfair and destructive to the fabric of the economy and society.
The anger of the British public and press is rather caused by the fact that this culture reveals how those making the decisions knew, or should have known, that those decisions were the wrong ones. You don’t break a rule that you yourself made unless it is a bad rule. The people running our government aren’t stupid (or at least some of them aren’t) but they fail to understand that freedom for some and not for others is not freedom at all. “All animals are equal,” Napoleon the pig says in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, “but some are more equal than others.” It is an idea you find in the kind of communist totalitarian regimes the book is commenting on. But it is closer in application to today’s governments than one would think.
If Johnson and his colleagues can learn from this that never again should there be a lockdown like this, and even go further in restraining the hectoring, freedom-limiting urges of a bloated big government, then they – and we – will be better off for it. For only a healthy horse carries you far.