MPs can work themselves into a lather of indignation when Mr. Brexit is caught overseeing a hypocritical workplace, but where’s the outrage over the lockdowns themselves and the surge in unexplained excess deaths, asks Fraser Nelson in the Telegraph. Here’s an excerpt.
[Boris’s] lack of grip meant his Government descended into a disgraceful shambles that squandered his historic election victory. Those of us who spoke brightly about his potential as prime minister have had to feast on humble pie. But there is not a shred of evidence proving that he knowingly misled MPs. So making him the first Prime Minister in history to be denied a pass to enter Parliament will look to many like a deranged overreaction.
The use of legal technicalities to destroy political opponents is, overall, a deplorable trend. The ministerial code, which is now held up as the golden rule book, prohibits (for example) Government announcements being made outside Parliament or telling anyone what is said in Cabinet. So ministers can preside over policy calamities and keep getting promoted – but send a message from the wrong email account, violating Section 2.14 of the code, and you’re out on your ear. It’s a sign of a deeply dysfunctional system.
Parliament is not much better, as the Privileges Committee’s report proves. No one can fault the MPs for the rigour or energy with which they investigate and attack each other – but where was this energy when the lockdown rules were being designed? Where was our forensic democratic apparatus when it was needed the most? Our MPs abandoned their posts, signing emergency Covid powers long after the emergency ended. It was almost as if they were relieved to ditch the responsibility. Parliament is intended to protect against an over-mighty Government. Where, during lockdowns, was that protection?
And where, for that matter, is the 30,000-word report into the unexplained surge in excess deaths, or why the rate of sickness benefit claims has doubled since the lockdowns? Why doesn’t the Health and Social Care Committee ask whether lockdowns actually worked? The official Covid inquiry looks set to avoid this awkward question, so Parliament can step in. But all parties backed lockdowns, so it suits none of them to ask such difficult questions. Far easier to fire bullets into Johnson’s political corpse.