Boris Johnson’s Partygate is a distraction from the important issues
Aggression against protestors in Kazakhstan, hunger in Afghanistan and Covid deaths continue despite the scandals
21 Jan 22

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks down at the podium during a media briefing in Downing Street. Photo: Justin Tallis/PA Wire/PA Images

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks down at the podium during a media briefing in Downing Street. Photo: Justin Tallis/PA Wire/PA Images

It should surprise no-one that I am a political geek. I love politics. I love the cut and thrust of debate. I love the moments of high drama and the intrigue. Most of all I love the fact that genuine good can be done. That people’s lives can be made just a little easier by the power of our collective democracy.

So you’d assume that I would have relished the events of the UK Parliament this week. And I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being completely obsessed with the minutiae of the debate around Partygate and the drama of the precarious position of the Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP as he seeks to survive the biggest political crisis of his premiership.

But I’m also angry. The British Government has been distracted for weeks, caught in a political crisis of their own making about whether or not the Prime Minister knowingly broke his own Covid-19 regulations. While the political establishment awaits a report from a senior civil servant to clarify what was, or wasn’t, happening behind the doors of Number 10, important issues are being sidelined or ignored and people are suffering.

This week the British Parliament held vital debates on the genocide of the Uighurs and the use of the British legal system to silence activists and journalists. Both debates passed broadly without comment or wider notice.

The Russian Federation is threatening the sovereign status of a democratic ally, Ukraine, on an hourly basis.

Biden has marked his first year in office.

52,581 people have died of Covid.

Protestors in Kazakhstan are being threatened with death if they continue to protest against the government, with 10,000 already arrested and 225 killed by the authorities.

23 million people in Afghanistan are experiencing extreme hunger as the Taliban starts attacking women activists.

These are some of the heartbreaking and terrifying realities which are happening around the world. These are the issues that should have dominated our news agenda this week, along with a cost of living crisis, a plan to deliver net zero and attacks on free expression around the world.

Index will continue to fight for these issues to be heard. For the voices of the persecuted to be recognised. While some of our leaders focus on domestic intrigue we’ll keep fighting for those that don’t have a voice.

By Ruth Anderson

CEO at Index On Censorship