'My view of Boris Johnson is that he is a dodgy, incompetent fake with few principles or scruples'
Hywel Williams is the Plaid Cymru MP for Arfon
Politics is sometimes a bit like an iceberg. 10% above the surface, 90% lurking out of sight. The iceberg floats south in strong sunlight. That disinfecting light of day reveals not pure white ice but the grubbier truth. The top slowly melts, becomes unstable, and then, suddenly, it topples over.
That mental picture is very useful as the climate crisis worsens. It’s even more telling as the Westminster government groans and flounders in the searing light of open criticism.
The charge sheet is long, as you will have seen on the news. But we have an ex-Cabinet minister raking in tens of thousands of pounds for using his clout to get advantage for his paymasters. VIP lists of health product suppliers, some only just set up by friends of the government, all jumping to the top of the queue for billions of pounds worth of business.
Then, what about donations to the government party buying seats in the House of Lords. And to be clear, buying the new Lord or Lady the chance to influence the laws that apply to you and me. Thereby giving them real pulling power, not just over getting a better table at fancy Westminster restaurants.
And hiding in plain sight, we have ‘donations’ to improve the Prime Minister’s lifestyle, not limited to very kind friends providing agreeable holidays abroad.
Another government might have come clean. Instead, this Conservative government made a deadly serious attempt to dump the independent House of Commons Standards Committee. They wanted to set up a patsy committee with a Conservative majority, chaired – of course – by a Conservative.
A Conservative Cabinet Minister then said in public that the independent Standards Commissioner should ‘consider her position’, in other words, resign.
You will have noticed that I have at last used the word ‘Conservative’. For it is the Conservative government that is in the dock this time. All MPs should not be tarred with the same brush of course – and most MPs of all colours seek to serve their constituents with integrity.
But there is a bigger question about the validity of a system that allows MP to abuse their positions in this way. Do we still want to tie ourselves to this shambolic Westminster system? Our Senedd simply bans fat-cat jobs on the side for elected members. Which one would you choose?
It will be no surprise to anyone that my view of Boris Johnson is that he is a dodgy, incompetent fake with few principles or scruples. I don’t know how long he will cling on in Downing Street, but his support is melting away. He might topple over very suddenly. And then we might get a choice about the future of our country sooner than expected.
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