The UK government has a history of hypocrisy, which is currently being broadcasted through their handling of the coronavirus. We should be worried.
Throughout history, there has been clear hypocrisy shown by the UK government. This is typically demonstrated by MPs going against what they claim their morals to be, such as Labour MPs sending their children to Independent schools. However, more frequently the UK government is now acting as if they have no responsibility to be honest to the public, and there is seemingly nothing we can do.
During the pandemic, many government officials have gone against their own advice. For example, the chief health secretary of Scotland resigned after breaching lockdown rules to visit her second home. This was followed by a government advisor resigning after seeing his girlfriend during lockdown. Despite them both being integral to the fight against the coronavirus, they resigned from their positions. Whilst this demonstrates an example of consequences, the issue remains of who and what can we trust?
As lockdown continued, news broke that Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s chief advisor, had broken lockdown rules. He had travelled 260 miles to Durham while experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus. Outrage ensued as many people argued that such a blatant breaking of the rules demands his resignation. Clear instructions were given by the government to stay indoors and at home if you experienced coronavirus symptoms. The Prime Minister supported Cummings and said that this instance was allowed.
It suddenly seemed like the rules were changed to protect a person in power.
This hypocrisy is disgraceful. The government sees a differentiation between rules for the powerful and rules for the public. In the initial stages of lockdown, there were stories of people without symptoms being turned back from driving across the country. Suddenly, this was acceptable, even with symptoms. The government advice became very difficult to follow, with many people beginning to ignore them altogether.
Following this, the government has continued to be hypocritical. Despite the praise from the ‘clap for the NHS’, the government have decided to reintroduce parking charges for healthcare workers and vote against protecting the NHS in a potential trade deal. While the slogan has been ‘protect the NHS’, the government is working to do anything but that.
How can we protect the NHS when our government is intent on destroying it?
It seems that the government believes it can do what it wants, regardless of the impacts on the country. This arrogance stems from the majority formed in the 2019 election, in which they gained seats in Labour heartlands. This should have given them the mandate to do what they have promised, but many of their promises are not being fulfilled. For example, they promised not to sell off the NHS and promised to protect their co-workers in times of crisis. This is not democracy.
A democracy is a form of government which is voted in by the public based on their promises of governing legislation. The government should act accordingly to the votes of the people. Our government has arguably not done this.
This should concern the public. We voted in a government based on promises and actions outside of those promises should be questioned. The public does not question the government enough, and clearly, the opposition party needs to work harder to stop these injustices.
To combat this, we should hold our politicians to account more frequently. This could be done through social media and journalism, but in more important cases, peaceful protesting could be used. The voice of the people should be heard, and often elections are too far apart for this to be the only method of listening. A more rigorous mechanism of democracy that holds the government to account is urgently needed.
Eventually, these actions by the government will have a further impact. People will begin to question their faith in the people in charge. This could lead to laws being broken and less political engagement. People will not engage in politics if they do not see the things that they have voted for being implemented. Nobody will trust the government if they do things that nobody seems to want.
This astounding level of hypocrisy will destroy confidence in and the legitimacy of democracy. Despite the mandate given by the 2019 election, the government is acting in an undemocratic hypocritical way. Our current government is hypocritical, flawed and acting against the people.
Can we let this continue until 2024?