Sue Gray Has Outfoxed Boris Johnson
The smart view was that the Met had screwed up Sue Gray’s report and that in some way this would let Johnson off the hook. It might be thought that being subject to a criminal investigation was potentially more damning and embarrassing that an internal Cabinet Office investigation, but for Johnson it had the advantage of stringing the process along, providing an opportunity for boredom and other distractions to kick in. Eventually the Met would come back and hand out its penalty notices, including potentially to Mr and Mrs Johnson, but this might be months away. In Johnson’s world all delay is good (‘Wait for the Met’ has now taken over from ‘Wait for Gray’). The value of every fib and obfuscation is to get you past the day’s headlines. Some other device can be found for the day after next.
Gray, however, is an experienced bureaucrat. Despite her obvious frustration with the Met’s intervention she has decided not to publish a report with lots of redactions, so that the blanks can be filled in at a later date. Her report, whole and complete, is yet to come. What we have has been described as an ‘update’ but the core finding is unlikely to change. This highlights the stark contrast between what the population was expected to do to control the pandemic, despite enormous personal sacrifice, and the behaviour of the Prime Minister and those around him.
We therefore know that when the final report eventually comes it will not soften the blow. It will flush out this core point in excruciating and damning detail, given added force if it follows the issuance of penalty notices.
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