East Lothian Courier – 26 May 2022


Further scandals befell Westminster last week and its damaging to our democracy, not just the institution. One MP resigned due to watching pornography and another was charged with serious sexual crimes.

But the rot sets in from the top. The cavalier attitude that the Prime Minister has for probity sets the tone. There’s a crisis in Northern Ireland brought about by Boris Johnson lying about his Brexit deal and now seeking to revoke an international treaty that he signed.

Compounding that has been his behaviour in the whole partygate saga. Numerous times he gave both public and parliamentary assurances that no rules had been broken. That was manifestly untrue. He has already been fined for one incident which should have brought forth his resignation. Now he has avoided additional penalties which only raises questions about the nature of the police investigation or that services relationship with government.

How he, his wife and even his most senior civil servant could avoid being penalised when junior staff were being issued with fixed penalties is staggering. It was in his home with senior staff present and responsible for organising most of it.

The danger for our society now is that the PMs behaviour and actions are undermining institutions meant to provide checks and balances in our society. The rights of courts to hold government to account’s being restricted. The independence of the police and civil service is being tainted, if not more severely damaged. Yet there’s neither shame nor contrition from a man who’s a total charlatan. He needs to go as he’s corroding the pillars of our democracy.

Locally, the issue has been trains or rather the lack thereof. The temporary timetable’s reminiscent of the Beeching cull generations ago that wiped out services and isolated communities. The extent of the cutbacks is staggering with people unable to commute to work and others restricted from regular activities in Edinburgh or elsewhere.

The danger’s that what’s temporary becomes the norm. That’s why this needs resolved fast and with services restored. The Scottish Government must intervene, they’re responsible for Scotrail and the buck stops with them.