« A mid week high colonic | Main | A different look at the anti-vax movement »

December 10, 2021


Taking someone Like Bojo down for their actual crimes would tend to tug strings leading to other powerful people. .

Far better to burn him down for something silly and moralistic.

Well, my take is that this is not a typically British thing going on, this is BoJo specific (and to some extent a symptom of "long Corbyn", although the polls are now starting to shift a bit).

At least, not typically British previously. I think BoJo has a bizarre appeal for the non-politics-wonk population, due to his historic appearances on Have I Got News for You in which his act as a very funny, appealingly shambolic guy reached people who would not normally be interested in politics, and they took it for reality instead of the calculated act it is. And of course, they know nothing of his history of lying and conspiring, and care less. In fact, his "colourful" personal life probably makes them think he's one of the guys, not some stuffy typical politician.

However, and it's a big caveat, I do believe that many of the same forces are at play here as in the States, in that facts are less important, people know less and care less, they bought the Brexit lies and were perfectly content that he "got Brexit done". And the government have been able to pass many of the ill effects of Brexit off as due to Covid. I also think vast swathes of the population assume all pols are corrupt, so he's escaped popular wrath on that basis as well. But breaking the Covid rules, when so many people kept them and suffered for it? That does appear (at least for now) to be cutting through, particularly as it accretes to the previous Dominic Cummings scandal.

I suggest there is an analogy, somewhat darker, here in the U.S. in Mark Meadows' recent revelations about Trump's positive Covid test prior to the presidential debate.

Chris Christie appeared recently on PBS and described his role as Joe Biden in the debate preparation. He noted that 6 of 7 practice session attendees including he himself soon came down with Covid. He suffered a severe case and was hospitalized in an ICU.

To me common thread is the cavalier attitude taken toward the disease. Donald Trump and his staff disregarded a positive test and Trump himself probably spread the disease widely.

Whether this account will have any effect on support for Trump remains to be seen. The story demonstrates Trump's complete selfishness, his utter disregard for others, even his own strong supporters.

I think it's pretty simple, there are two factors:

1.) You can fool some of the people all of the time ...

Johnson's mendacity, incompetence and callousness have reached a critical point at which most people are getting seriously worried about the future of the country.

2.) Probably more importantly, there is a tangible experiential and emotional aspect to this and while the British public can be quite ignorant and docile, they do have a strong sense of fair play if it's related to something concrete (don't try jumping a queue...).

The BoJo Christmas party definitely puts be in mind of our governor's fund raising soiree at a posh restaurant here. Even an a state where the GOP is a non-factor politically, Newsom had to scramble to keep from getting booted out of office this summer.

He won, of course. But it was nothing like the cakewalk a Democrat should expect here. People just don't like seeing politicians ignoring the restrictions that those same politicians insisted on for everybody else.

Novakant is probably right with his 2), up to a point.
Though there’s a bit more to it than that.

Had Johnson come clean and apologised, he’d probably have got away with it for a bit.
What’s sunk him is the blatant lies professing ignorance, shortly followed by the video emerging od the slightly unfortunate Allegra Stratton appearing to be laughing at all us poor fools who’d followed the rules. Played on all the news channels.

Confirmation about all the worst thing anyone has ever said about him.

Bear in mind also that the vast majority of people don’t follow politics like us obsessive, many not at all.
Something simple to understand on an emotional level like this, played out over a few days with the perfect sixty second denouement which plays just as well on radio as on TV, and did repeatedly, achieves ‘cut through’ in a manner that anything involving policy simply doesn’t.

It’s like the Dean scream, but with added moral outrage, and reinforced with the tedium and misery of the last couple of years that so many have gone through.

I have a twinge of sympathy for Ms Stratton.
She had the grace to resign, rapidly, with a tearful statement which appeared genuinely felt. (The contrast with Johnson is of course marked, and the subject of comment.)

And she wasn’t laughing at us, I don’t think, but rather in embarrassment at being asked an impossible question. Her inability to push out the bland bullshit reply with a straight face is largely why the multi million pound ‘Downing St press room” (another Johnson whim) was scrapped before it was launched.

Btw, no one iI know is “shocked and horrified that the Conservatives can be so flippant with their rules for thee and not for me approach”.

What’s made them genuinely angry is having it plainly stated to everyone, in a manner which isn’t plausibly deniable, and being laughed at for having gone along with it.
Especially the Conservative loyalists, who’ve put up with him because he’s an election winner.

Newsome was going to face a recall no matter what, because its a trivial exercise to collect enough signatures to trigger one in California. And if the French Laundry faux-pas hadn't happened some other outrage would have been manufactured. The CRT fan dance proved you can just lie and it works.

BoJo is interesting in that he's the only politician I can think of who has the Trump NotAPolitician magic working for him.

Newsome was going to face a recall no matter what, because its a trivial exercise to collect enough signatures to trigger one in California.

Easier than it should be, certainly. But not trivial. Without a court-ordered extension, the recall petition wouldn't have had enough signatures. Even with some pretty toxic behavior by Newsome.

But once it became a ballot measure, the only thing Newsome had going for him was the lack of a serious Democrat on the ballot as a replacement. Putting in a RWNJ instead, which was what would have happened, made recalling him a bridge too far. But if a tolerable alternative is on offer next year, he's probably toast.

Here are some useful (and very popular) videos explaining the situation:

BBC Ros Atkinson on the Xmas scandal:


On Bojo's blatant mendacity:


I have to admit though that I have shared lj's sense of puzzlement, asking myself all this time "what on earth is it going to take for these knobheads to stop supporting the Johnson / Tories?!?".

Conversely, I think support for the Tories has something to do with a deeply ingrained conviction that they are "good for the economy" and that Labour would take away their money and give it to young people, drug addicts, single mothers and asylum seekers...

That's the dark twin of "fair play" regularly exploited in the tabloids.

Thanks for the varied comments. I don't think anything is wrong, though I'd point out that Newsome and Johnson's situation is the same, until it is different. Which is to say that the UK had a lockdown regime way more strict that Cali, so I don't think the situations parallel quite as far as wj suggests.

The NYT is investigating our killing of civilians by going inside the military and seeing how decisions were made and how the culture worked—


Gopal had this story from the civilian side four years ago, as did the Airwars site. It’s almost as if people who could do something just sat on their hands and didn’t give a shit.


Better late than never, but if our politicians and pundit class cared about the issue these practices would have been known about and stopped almost as soon as they started. There needs to be a BLM style movement on this— no doubt it would immediately become part of the culture wars but that would be a step up from almost universal privileged indifference.

I, for one, look forward to CA passing a statute modeled on the TX SB-8 abortion ban, but creating liability for "war crimes" and "torture".

*UNIVERSAL* jurisdiction, bitchez. Welcome to the cross-hairs.

"This guy stinks in the nostrils of decent people."

John Bercow's rather good two minutes on Boris Johnson:


(and by the way, a character dissection much of which also applies to Trump)

Since this is an open thread, this Hokusai exhibition looks wonderful:


I’ll treat Gavin Newsome to a meal at the French Laundry. Masks required when not seated at a table, however, unless he wants to be in a fist fight with me, his ally:


Conservatives love to point out that Second Amendment remedies are enshrined to protect First Amendment rights.

Conservatives will know that the same remedies protect every right guaranteed by every other Amendment to the Constitution, including Roe v Wade.


Long-time FOXNews Madame Chris Wallace is leaving the prostitution racket.

Sez Murdoch’s demand for unprotected sex was too much to swallow.

Boehbert’s headstone will read “Here enlies the problem.”

Followed by a 21 gun salute aimed directly at the enlied problem.


Pol Pot used kids as props too.


I just hope the at least gets finalized for debate (preferably all the way passed, of course) before the Supreme Court takes on the Texas law. It might help concentrate minds there.

(Cue nooneithinkisinmytree pointing out that the new Court may be as indifferent to consistency as the are to the Constitution.)

wj, if the Supreme Court wants to show they are not a bunch of partisan hacks they can decline to review the Appeals Court decision to deny Trump's request for an injunction blocking disclosure of the records pertaining to Jan. 6.

We'll see.

What amazes me most about Hokusai is that, in his lifetime, his prints were seen as, and valued like, we see the cheap posters young people put up. Perhaps exactly because they were prints, rather than unique pieces.

When you see a cheap poster of The Great Wave in your kids dorm room, it's actually a return to it's roots as "cheap art for the masses, i.e. those without taste"

ral, except, of course, they are partisan hacks. Even if they'd like to reject the title.

Maybe if Clinton announced that he was invoking executive privilege. Wouldn't even have to be over something real....

> this Hokusai exhibition looks wonderful

There are two really important phrases in that Guardian review which shadow the experience: "jammed since it opened earlier this autumn" and "these drawings are no bigger than postcards".

We went through it, but unless you were willing to throw social distancing out the window, when if I recall correctly they weren't enforcing masking, you could only get up close to a tiny fraction of the pictures. Even if we weren't distancing you just can't crowd close enough for many people to closely observe a single picture at once.

As usual, the framing material & context was pretty good.

Speaking of social distancing, many under-12-year-old and therefore unvaccinated classrooms here in North London have seen 30%-50% of students out for COVID in the past three weeks. My wife and youngest son both have it, thankfully mild, but that mildness in turn feeds the skeptics & conspiracy theorists, who in brief encounters seem to be as nasty as the sort one sees back in the USA.

Tom H: I have to admit that although in an ideal world I'd love to see this exhibition, the combination of Omicron and drawings no bigger than postcards put me off, even before the latest measures were announced. Still, astonishing stuff.

The museum put out a number of videos and lectures on the Hokusai exhibition on youtube (e.g. on the channels 'The British Musum' and 'British Museum Events'

Thanks Hartmut!

As far as the Newsom gambit is concerned, the squalid majority on the Court will likely decide that since bearing arms is a constitutional right, and abortion isn’t, different remedies will be available to the two sets of plaintiffs.

Note that in the Texas case, while they have allowed the plaintiffs to proceed, they have limited whom they can seeks remedies against - and the Justice Dept suit has been denied completely.

Correction: these are not examples of hypocrisy.

Call it what it is, may we please, after decades of this shit from the usual suspects.

They are forthright, sincere instances of subhuman evil committed by conservative movement vermin, all of whom must be removed from the face of the Earth.


Spelling it wrong doesn’t make it so either.

Actually, in Rand Paul's words on disaster relief, it is exactly hypocracy.

As for Carlson, you are correct that his words on Christmas trees (or Christmas in general) are not hypocracy. On the other hand, when he calls on people to resist employer vaccine mandates, you know like the one he has silently accepted from his own employer, then that too is hypocracy.

Carlson's feels too base to even qualify as hypocracy. he's doing the televangelist thing - outrageously lying for money. he has absolutely zero concern for truth, or logic, or principles. he's just there to keep feeding people garbage that makes them mad because that keeps their eyeballs fixed to Fox News.

'hypocracy' would be 'underrule'. Not to be confused with hippocracy (rule by horse) or hypercrazy (anything by Q these days).

i prefer hypnocracy

Mandrake gestures hypnotically

i prefer hypnocracy

Which sometimes seems like where we're headed.

Looks like a number of people, including most recently Chris Wallace, are leaving Fox News due to Carlson's attics and it continuing to be the Trump News Network after the election.

Carlson's thoughts belong in the basement, which makes his attics seem that much worse.

antics... :)

there's a band in Rochester NY called "Attic Abasement"

Attic Greek is considered the highest. Doric is obviously ground level. Does that mean Ionic and Aeolic are somehwere in the basement?


There will be no personal responsibility assigned, accepted, or taken.

Like everything during this dark epoch saturated with unremitting bullshit.

Maybe a black kid or an immigrant will be seen running away and be assigned responsibility with bullets in the back, but no one else.

I’m going to be the next President of the United States and I will use that legal hidey-hole to do whatever I please to my legions of mortal enemies, and not a hair on my head can be touched.

What a piece of shit is this conservative constitutionally enabled suicide pact we entered into 235 years ago.

There will be no personal responsibility assigned, accepted, or taken.

i'm sure there are plenty of records, somewhere, that show exactly who created the code to allow this nonsense, along with a pile of back-n-forth email where people invented the idea and then demanded its creation because it would make their lives marginally easier, while people who pointed out it was a possible security issue were ignored because fuck those people.

There will be no personal responsibility assigned, accepted, or taken.

Just a guess, but I wouldn't be surprised if it went like this:

  • The code itself gotten written to do diagnostics on a standalone (not connected to anybody else) system. No security issue, obviously.
  • It was so useful, that it got folded into the standard code library for internal (not connected to the Internet) systems. Still not a security issue.
  • It was so standard by that point that nobody gave it a second thought when putting software on an Internet-connected system. That sort of thing happens all the time. Not good, but not generally a disaster.
  • And, since nothing bad happened initially, there was no occasion to rethink things as it spread widely.
Nothing particularly exceptional there. Sloppy? A bit. But I'll bet all the IT folks have seen similar behavior -- it just didn't result in a massive security exposure.

Glad to see this:
Air Force discharges 27 service members in first apparent dismissals over vaccine refusal

The Air Force had the earliest deadline to get vaccinated, so the process time for applications for (rarely given) exceptions would have run out first. And failure to obey a lawful order is not not something the military can tolerate.

I'm guessing that, just like we saw with private sector employer mandates, once it's clear that they will be enforced, the vast majority of refusers cave. It's one thing to look brave while posturing. It's another to land on the street, even when the economy is doing well.

Well, this may provide a bit of an end run around the various abortion restrictions (presuming that the political hacks on the Supreme Court uphold them):
FDA ends key restriction on abortion pill as justices weigh case that challenges Roe v. Wade

The Biden administration Thursday ended a long-standing restriction on a medication used to terminate early-stage pregnancies, even as politicians across the United States intensified efforts that represent the most serious challenge to abortion rights in decades.

The elimination of the regulation, which had been temporarily suspended, means abortion pills can be prescribed through telehealth consultations and mailed to patients. But in large swaths of the nation, strict state rules will dampen the impact. Several states ban sending the drug by mail and impose other restrictions on use of the pill.

While that last could be an issue, there is the detail that interfering with the US Mail is a Federal offense. (18 U.S. Code § 1701) Ditto opening someone else's mail. Which could make it chancy to get evidence to enforce those laws, if the source is out of state.

How many people would risk hard time (up to 5 years in Federal prison), not to mention fines ($250,000 per offense) to grab the $10,000 Texas bounty? Professional thieves, perhaps . . . except that they prefer not to involve the government in their affairs. But those who don't otherwise risk criminal prosecution for minimal gain? Seems unlikely.

The spirit of the Marx Brothers is alive and well in Downing Street.

A staff "Christmas party" was held last year at the office of the man investigating lockdown parties at Downing Street...

The comments to this entry are closed.