Many will be aware of the boiled frog analogy. The unfortunate creature is in a pan of cold water which is slowly, slowly being heated up. The frog adjusts his tolerance levels as the water changes from a pleasant coolness to a mildly uncomfortable and then increasingly uncomfortable warmth. Poor froggie stays put throughout, seemingly desensitised to the slow cooking process so that by the time he feels just a bit too hot, it is too late.
We are the frogs in the Johnson brand of Conservatives’ pan, being heated up over flames fanned by the mainstream media. We have been in the pan for years and most of us didn’t even know it. Some of us have hopped out and now watch in horror as our fellow citizens shrug at each ‘temperature’ hike – each lie, each breaking of the law or the ministerial code, each avoidance of scrutiny, each grab for more power, each act of cruelty, hostility, negligence, corruption, prejudice and greed – and accept this as the new normal.
At West Country Bylines and in the Bylines network, we are striving to get people out of that pan by calling out the assaults on truth, justice and democracy. Somehow, we have to arrest the process of normalising behaviours and actions that only a few years ago would have been regarded as unacceptable, shocking, despicable and, in some cases, more than enough reason for resignations and prosecutions. As it is, the gaslighting from the top coupled with the media silence or complicity have anaesthetised many of us, rendering us compliant, passive and even, most disturbingly of all, approving of our abusers.
In Part 1, we highlighted articles and information on Johnson himself; the culture of corruption and cronyism; xenophobia, racism and the hostile environment; and voter suppression. In Part 2, we look at the handling of Covid-19.
The tweet above is from March last year. We now know that it was the Cabinet Secretary Helen McNamara hitting the panic button and Cummings finally deciding to speak out that brought about the change of plan.
There is more, of course, but this surely is enough to demonstrate that this government and Boris Johnson have failed the nation. This cannot be normalised.
The government has admitted that it has carried out a secret “lessons learned” review of the Covid pandemic, but is refusing to publish it. Please sign this petition to demand that they do so.