One of the challenges that we are currently facing is how unreliable or rather how incompetent our UK Government is on several levels. Another challenge is how much attention is being placed by Conservative MPs into the problems that are emerging from the Government which arose many months ago. Irrespective of our political views we can applaud people like Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham for calling his Prime Minister to resign after his lies emerged on his behaviour at events in Downing Street. Those activities took place when he and his senior colleagues were telling the rest of us not to hold events together and indeed to avoid meeting with people in our families. Sadly, there does not appear to have been any other local Conservative MPs who have endorsed the call from Tim and so we continue to wait for the next phase of the assessment to become public. No doubt the resignation of Cressida Dick in the last few days will make the process being carried out by the Metropolitan Police potentially slower than we had anticipated. They are still reviewing the behaviour of Johnson and his colleagues from over the last 20 months.
Another subject that has arisen is the comments that Johnson made in the last few days towards Keir Starmer regarding Jimmy Savile which were tragically supported by some of his senior colleagues such as Michael Gove. Although there has been criticism from a number of MPs and also some of the ex-Ministers and even an ex-Prime Minister sadly there has been no evident local criticism towards Johnson from our local Conservative MPs. As it happens if one studies who has spoken about Jimmy Savile over the last decade in Parliament, Tim Loughton is one of the few people to do so. Theresa May was another person who did so and they both spoke about the issues of Jimmy Savile in the past and there was no suggestion that someone like Keir Starmer was responsible for the challenges that emerged.
Another theme emerged last week which once again was a reflection of the claims from the Prime Minister that are entirely dishonest. It was a theme that I first came across last November in one of his Prime Minister Question periods on the 24th of that month. Johnson stated
Let me repeat: there are now more people in work in this country—jobs up, with their wages going up—than there were before the pandemic began. That is because of the policies that this Government have followed.
It was a theme that has emerged again more recently from the same man and when it did take place it became clear that there was a lack of honesty. On another Prime Minister Question time this time on the 2nd of February he stated
What we are also doing, and this is absolutely vital, is increasing the number of high-wage, high-skill jobs in this country. There are 420,000 more on the payroll than there were before the pandemic began
He continued on that theme during his challenge to Keir Starmer. As it happened there was an article that came out last Wednesday on Radio 4 that focused on the February comments. Thankfully we can often benefit from such comments on Radio or TV as well as the pieces that emerge in our published media. The radio programme is called “More or Less” and it raised a serious concern about the statistics that Boris Johnson had claimed regarding how well businesses are developing and people are earning well post COVID. As Tim Harford explained, that after Johnson had made the comments on the 2nd of February there was a response from the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) that sent message to No 10 Downing Street. The OSR is an agency that appears to be part of the Government agency and as their website explains it
encompasses every aspect of statistical work from collection of data and information to the publication and regulation of statistics which touch on every aspect of daily life in the United Kingdom.
The OSR sent a message to the Prime Minister at No 10 Downing Street raising concerns about what he had claimed and pointing out that he was wrong. Tragically the following day he was in Parliament and he repeated his lies. The Radio 4 piece connected with Tony Wilson, Director for the Institute of Employment Studies who agreed with the OSR challenge. Later they involved Will Moy who leads the Full Fact team which explains
We’re a team of independent fact checkers and campaigners who find, expose and counter the harm it does.
We clearly need to persuade all of our MPs to listen to these agencies and stand up in the House of Commons to raise their concerns.