In January, the findings of a report into alleged government socialising over lockdown was finally published. The inquest’s figurehead, Sue Gray, found that there were multiple breaches of lockdown rules and several events where heavy drinking and boorish behaviour was the norm. Ministers partied into the wee small hours, social distancing was ignored, and the Prime Minister found relief from his busy days under the disco lights of his home.
The public outcry to these findings was, understandably, rather large and a certain percentage of the country hastily called for Boris Johnson’s departure. Whilst I don’t condone his lockdown-breaking actions, I do think there’s a silver lining to this whole ordeal.
Britain Flexing It’s Democratic Muscles
A lot of countries would never, in a million years, allow a report into its own government. There are plenty of governments, past and present, out there ruled with the most iron of fists where everything happens behind locked doors. The idea of an internal investigation of these leaders would be farcical and asinine.
But not in Britain. The level of democracy is so high that the public will order an investigation into our own Prime Minister and Downing Street will readily accept it. Our leaders will be happy to welcome a watchdog into their workplace and will accept any conclusions the public reaches.
Think about that for a moment. How many other countries would do this, and how many governments in recorded history would allow such an inquest? Hardly any. Not only is the Gray report a testament to British transparency, but it also speaks volumes to the times we live in and how far the democratic process has come.
Today’s Britain Is More Honest
Imagine if such a report was carried out in Henry VIII’s day. Though he was a great leader, I’m sure, I doubt he would’ve allowed such an investigation and would have quickly dispatched any of its supporters to the gallows on Tower Hill. The last thing he would’ve wanted was a repeat of the 1381 Peasants’ Revolt ,when a group of disenfranchised workers flouted manners and decided to wreck everything in sight.
Today’s Britain is much different and much more honest. Say what you want about the social media age, but one of its benefits is the rapid spread of information and its ability to bring people together. It’s virtually impossible for our government to make a mistake and have nobody notice, and any rule-breaking or scandal comes to the public’s attention within minutes. It’s one of the only good things about social media as far as I’m concerned.
A Great Advert For British Democracy
I think the Sue Gray report is a great advert for British democracy. Regardless of the findings, I think we can only take immense pride in our society for even ordering this. Yes, the government misbehaved, but I think all is forgiven when you consider how eager they were for this report to happen.
A democratic society also means the public is free to draw any conclusion they want out of the report’s findings. I may strongly condemn the government, but you may empathise with them or not care at all. Whatever your conclusion is, we can all agree that a mixed consensus is a sign of a strong, healthy democracy.
That’s why I place my full trust in this government and believe they can fire Britain back to its previous heights. I’ll know that no matter what happens, those in Downing Street will be kind enough to let the public be privy to their various triumphs and mistakes.
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I say, we let Sue Gray investigate all she wants - the only concrete thing she’ll find is a great country.