Partygate in Downing Street offers a unique glimpse into the inner workings of Downing Street. The Sue Gray report opened a Pandora’s Jar, revealing the unprofessional and unsavoury culture in Downing Street, a culture that would not be tolerated in any other serious, high profile workplace in Britain. 

It is not just about the drinking, or even the dependency on alcohol at No 10, it is the public trust and credibility in this government that has been severely eroded. That, is the real issue.

Comments from the Sue Gray report like “There was excessive alcohol consumption by some individuals. One individual was sick. There was a minor altercation between two other individuals” raise very serious issues about the quality of the work being undertaken in what is supposedly the heart of government. 

There are  accounts of Downing Street staff arriving at work and finding bins overflowing with empty bottles from parties the night before. Red wine had been spilt on walls and over a printer.

It does explain many of the slip shod and ill-considered policies and misjudgements made  by the Tory government there, which has led to so many U-turns. The alcohol-fuelled, even drunken culture of Downing Street, condoned, if not encouraged by Boris Johnson, totally undermines the feeble, repetitive mantra that he is focussed on delivering the government’s agenda! Mere empty words…

There have been numerous headlines and articles in the right wing press about the alleged problems of working from home (WFH). The classic problematic example appears to be Boris Johnson in Downing Street, who claims he is constantly distracted by the need for cheese, and wastes a lot of time making coffee. 

According to Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Government’s Efficiency Minister, working from home is a bad habit. (However a comment in the MailOnline suggests that the opposition to WFH has “Something to do with far fewer copies of the Daily Mail being purchased by far fewer commuters” )

The solution to the problem culture  of Downing Street, is surely to give the Prime Minister and his staff, their own offices in Whitehall. (Such offices without fridges for cheese or wine. A tea or coffee urn would provide quick refreshments.)

More importantly the new Prime Minister’s office could have CCTV cameras (like those in Matt Hancock’s Health Minister’s office), so the Queen could keep an eye on him!

All this whole issue does is raise very serious questions about the quality of Boris Johnson’s leadership, his self esteem and ego are so fragile that he constantly seeks popularity at any cost, and he is so thin skinned he viciously lashes out at any critical media.

This desperate need to be liked created an inappropriate and totally unprofessional culture in Downing Street, more like the notorious Bullingdon Club, than the dignified home of the British Prime Minister. Sue Gray found  “multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment” of staff by officials when gatherings took place.” 

As always, one rule for the entitled “ruling class”, another for us mere plebs.

Andrew Milroy

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