Party gate and Ukraine: How Can Boris Challenge Putin Now?

After confirmation that he broke his own laws, Boris Johnson continues to cling to power. But how can he challenge Vladimir Putin when he’s repeatedly lied to his own people? 

To say this has been a bad few weeks for Boris Johnson would be the understatement of the year. This April saw police investigations confirm what we basically knew, The Prime Minister had broken the very lockdown rules he implemented. But so had his Chancellor: Rishi Sunak (so much for Dishy Rishi now). So now we know Boris Johnson broke the rules he and his government set in place. He broke the rules while people across the country compromised their lives to help fight a deadly, respiratory disease. Grieving citizens were forced to say goodbye to loved ones from behind phone and iPad screens. NHS staff worked themselves to the point of burnout. Many suffered desperate loneliness, as their only form of contact with other people was digital.

For months, Boris Johnson changed his story to clear himself of responsibility. He claimed all guidance was followed. Then he confessed he attended a gathering but didn’t know it was a work event. Now, only after getting caught, does he confess he broke the rules. He broke laws he, himself, oversaw and set in place. Surely, now his position is untenable? How can he stay on? Yet allies of Boris continue to defend him. Some defend him to the point of saying they don’t care. Wow.

But why? Some argue he has to stay in power because of the conflict in Ukraine. They argue this is not the time for a change of leader and Boris Johnson needs to stay in power to keep things stable in a time of uncertainty. But this argument just seems weak and desperate. Boris’ allies paint the conflict as if it’s happening in Britain. It’s not – it’s happening in Ukraine.

Not only that but how Boris can challenge Russian President Vladimir Putin? Our own Prime Minister lied to us. How can we expect him to be able to challenge Putin over his lies in Ukraine? I know Putin’s lies are far more dangerous. The Russian President’s accusations against the Ukrainian government border on ridiculous. From accusations of being run by neo-Nazis to causing genocide. It’s clear he’s clutching at straws to justify the invasion.

But the problem Britain is facing is Boris Johnson’s lies are still damaging. He’s essentially broken the Ministerial Code and refuses to resign. So how can he represent Britain as a strong, healthy democracy against Putin? Putin has a terrible habit of citing Western hypocrisy to excuse from his own actions. When Trump supporters stormed Capitol Hill on the 6th of January, it was ideal for Putin and other authoritarian leaders to use it as a symbol of failing liberal democracy. But this method works, and it works because it diverts attention to very relevant problems in our own countries.

If we are to stand against Russia’s actions, Britain needs an honest, competent leader whose image has not been tainted with scandal. The longer Boris Johnson clings to the position of Prime Minister, the worse British democracy looks. This Partygate scandal is not a sign of a healthy democracy. It’s a symptom of a political landscape where truth is more a matter of opinion.

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Ellie Scott

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May 2022
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