The official Covid Inquiry has rapidly descended into yet another Whitehall farce. We already know the ending.Like Brian Rix before him, Boris will be
The official Covid Inquiry has rapidly descended into yet another Whitehall farce. We already know the ending.
Like Brian Rix before him, Boris will be left standing on stage with his trousers round his ankles, his modesty covered by a pair of comedy Brexit boxer shorts.
Yet despite the fact that the judge and leading counsel appear already to have decided on a verdict, this one will run and run.
It’s main line of investigation seems to be designed to discredit the former Prime Minister still further and reinforce the widely-held establishment view that Britain should have locked down faster and for longer.
Most of the so-called evidence to date has amounted to little more than score-settling, name-calling and trawling through social media in search of swear words.
‘Boris will be left standing on stage with his trousers round his ankles, his modesty covered by a pair of comedy Brexit boxer shorts’
Former Deputy Cabinet Secretary, Helen MacNamara, giving evidence to the Covid-19 Inquiry last week. She has been among a number to strongly criticise the former Prime Minister
Dominic Cummings also strongly criticised Boris Johnson for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in an appearance at the inquiry
Lockdown sceptics such as the eminent scientist Professor Carl Heneghan have been given short shrift by the judge Lady Hallett.
There may well be a long way to go, but my impression is that the final report will turn out to be as one-sided as the judge’s instructions to the jury which found former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe not guilty of conspiracy to murder in 1979, despite an avalanche of damning evidence against him.
That case was brought back to life recently by John Preston’s brilliant book on the subject and subsequent TV drama, A Very English Scandal, starring Hugh Grant as Thorpe.
The summing-up was superbly parodied by the late, great Peter Cook in an hilarious satirical sketch co-written with the late, and equally great, Christopher Booker, occasionally of this parish. It was performed at The Secret Policeman’s Ball, a charity concert in aid of Amnesty International, and concluded with the line:
‘Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you will now retire carefully to consider your verdict of … Not Guilty.’
(Check it out online. It’s still doing the rounds on YouTube.)
The Thorpe trial was widely considered a cynical Establishment stitch-up. The Covid Inquiry looks to be heading the same way. Only this time there would seem to be little chance of an acquittal when it comes to apportioning blame.
This got me wondering how the final Covid report would turn out had Mr Justice Peter Cook been presiding over the Covid show trial. His summing up may have gone something like this:
OVER the past few months and years, we have all heard some pretty extraordinary allegations about one of the most unsuitable politicians ever to rise to high office in this country.
We have heard, for example, from the ex-Downing Street adviser Mr Lee Cain, a man who by his own admission is a self-confessed chicken-strangler.
You may choose to believe the evidence of Mr Cain, that the former Prime Minister is a liar, a humbug, a hypocrite, a vagabond, a loathsome spotted reptile, responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of old people. That is entirely a matter for you. Mr Cain has further maintained that after contracting Covid, Mr Johnson was effectively away with the fairies.
Lee Cain, one of Boris Johnson’s closest and longest-serving aides, resigned in November 2020 amid anger at the government’s handling of the pandemic. He also criticised his former boss
‘The official Covid Inquiry has rapidly descended into yet another Whitehall farce. We already know the ending’
For taking Britain out of the EU, Richard Littlejohn writes, Boris will be found ‘GUILTY!’
We have heard, too, from a Mr Dominic Cummings, who worked alongside Johnson during the height of the pandemic and has described his former boss as an out of control shopping trolley.
You may wish to balance his evidence alongside the fact that Mr Cummings broke lockdown regulations to drive first to the North East of England and thence to Barnard Castle, in order to test his eyesight prior to embarking on a return journey to London, so he could resume his duties as our de facto Prime Minister saving the world from coronavirus.
Mr Cummings may have used intemperate language at times, describing colleagues and subordinates in the most disparaging terms. But he was under enormous pressure trying to prevent Mr Johnson recklessly ordering the certain deaths of millions of vulnerable citizens. We fully accept that at all times, Mr Cummings acted in the public interest.
It has been said that Professor Neil Ferguson, the so-called architect of lockdown, is an unreliable witness, based upon the fact that he had previously over-estimated the numbers of deaths from swine flu and other animal-related diseases by a factor a several million — causing the unnecessary slaughter of ever sheep in the country. But, surely, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Prof Ferguson — who also answers to Professor Legover — has been criticised for breaking lockdown by indulging in some extra-curricular rumpy-pumpy with his mistress, but we find his explanation — that it was a necessary experiment to test the efficacy of social distancing regulations – entirely credible, indeed commendably selfless in the circumstances.
We have also been listen to the pitiful whining testimony of Mr Matthew Hancock, the former Health Secretary, who was caught on camera snogging his secretary, gorgeous, pouting Miss Gina Lollobrigida, and who has since been reduced to chewing a kangaroo’s anus on prime time television.
It would be hard to imagine, ladies and gentlemen, a more discredited man, a more unreliable witness, now a national laughing stock.
You may choose to believe the transparent tissue of odious lies that streamed on and on from his disgusting, greedy, slavering lips. That is entirely a matter for you.
Mr Hancock has still not provided a satisfactory explanation as to how contracts for hundreds of millions of pounds of PPE equipment were awarded to Tory donors with no previous medical supplies experience. I speak specifically of a Mr Arthur Daley, managing director of Daley Into Europe Inc, which operates out of a lock up in Acton; and Mr Derek Trotter, proprietor of Trotter’s Independent Traders, which has branches in New York, Paris and Peckham. Mr Daley and Mr Trotter are, as far as I can make out, complete and utter crooks.
Billions of pounds were wasted on PPE which never arrived or was unfit for purpose. But we have been unable to verify wilder allegations that public money intended for the NHS was diverted to more nefarious items of expenditure, including the purchase of several rolls of expensive gold wallpaper and the provision of prosecco and birthday cake for illicit gatherings in No 10 Downing Street.
Which brings me the evidence of the defendant, Boris Johnson. You may choose to believe the testimony of this philandering fantasist and his arrogant dismissal of all the charges against him as a merely an inverted pyramid of piffle.
You may think him the most discredited, embittered, most unreliable, most dishonest, most economical-with-the-actualité witness ever to have sullied a witness box in any court of law in this country, let alone to have become Prime Minister and aspiring President of the World.
You may, on the other hand, care to regard him as a true, selfless Churchillian patriot, a man who saved Britain from Covid and Got Brexit Done.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is entirely a matter for you. You poor deluded fools.
Boris Johnson taking Britain out of the EU did more damage than coronavirus and it is for that, rather than any mistakes he may or may not have made during the pandemic, that he must be severely punished.
And on that sole count, ladies of gentlemen of the jury, you must now retire to consider your verdict of… GUILTY!