For those who aren’t aware, Beergate is the lower- budget sequel to Boris Johnson’s Partygate. Instead of the Prime Minister, though, the leading man is the leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer. Consider it the straight-to-DVD follow up to the scandal that rocked the Conservative party and got the whole nation talking.
On April 30, 2021, Starmer was snapped drinking a beer at a Durham office party featuring other members of the Labour party. The picture was known at the time, but it has recently been investigated by the local police department as the gathering may have been entirely illegal.
Mr. Starmer denies this allegation and claims that, at the time, indoor gatherings were in fact allowed if they were necessary for work purposes. He also stated that the beer, and corresponding takeaway meal, were not lockdown-violating as they were enjoyed under the work banner and thus weren’t considered a superfluous social event.
The incident has had a massive effect on Starmer’s status and reputation. Those who criticised Johnson’s Partygate may now have to eat their words (and wash them down with a beer) after learning of Labour’s misstep. He is no longer the ‘pragmatic’ alternative, but is instead a hypocrite with no legs to stand on.
This has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with morals. Yes, Boris Johnson committed the same lockdown breach and arguably carried out worse acts, but at least he’s dutifully apologised and the matter has been dealt with. Maybe it was just my imagination, but I’m certain I could see tears in the Prime Minister’s eyes as he admitted to his lockdown-breaking acts and recalled them.
If you ask me, that’s a sign of a true leader. Thatcher made mistakes. Churchill made mistakes. The Royal Family have made mistakes on more than one occasion. Guess what? They’ve all admitted them and have learned from them - and that’s what being British is all about. Some of our greatest rulers and leaders have had embarrassing moments, but they don’t let their mistakes define them.
Mr. Starmer has said he would accept his fate if the gathering is retrospectively found to have been illegal. This, for me, is the only logical conclusion for this incident and one that would clear his name in my books. There is no time, or place, for irresponsible leadership in this country and I would be glad to see the back of Mr. Starmer should the investigation find this is necessary.
The pure hypocrisy of this event isn’t lost on me, either. Throughout each lockdown, Starmer’s constant berating of our Prime Minister actually had a negative impact on my mental health. Sure, Johnson isn’t perfect, but he is our Prime Minister and we should support him in every way we can. Having to listen to the rants of the opposition made me irate at times, and I strongly considered quitting the news for a while.
Now that lockdown is (hopefully) in our rear view mirror, we should take some time to analyse the leadership we were subjected to and see what improvements we make should we ever be in this situation in the future. One of these improvements may be to quell any temptation for politicians to throw caution to the wind by punishing them severely. For Mr. Starmer, this could only mean removal from his position, effective immediately, and him to watch the Prime Minister for some lessons in leadership and grace.
I was very disappointed when I learned of Beergate. Not only is it less interesting than Partygate, but its star is one who embodies the phrase ‘do as I say, not as I do.’’
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