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Boris Johnson wants you to forget Partygate. Don’t let him get away with it | Stephen Reicher

The PM’s actions are a resigning matter: democracy is in peril when our leaders no longer care about being seen to lie From the very start, it was clear that Partygate should have been a resigning matter for the prime minister. It was obvious that the gatherings, which took place at No 10 at a time when families were denied the right to see their loved ones on their deathbeds, were deeply insensitive. They ignited a sense of “us” and “them” that had been smouldering since Dominic Cummings’ infamous outing to Barnard Castle. Still worse, the sight of Downing Street staff joking about their merrymaking suggested that “they” held “us” in contempt – a position that sounded the death knell for the public’s trust in government. Four months after the revelations of Downing Street’s parties first broke, things have moved on. The police have investigated the Downing Street parties, concluded the rules were broken, and have started issuing fines – 20 so far, with more expected soon. Even Dominic Raab, the justice minister, accepts that the parties happened and that the prime minister was wrong to tell parliament they didn’t. But the world is a very different place. As far as the headlines are concerned, Covid is yesterday’s crisis; Ukraine is today’s. Yesterday’s lying buffoon has today found his Churchillian moment. At a time when Johnson appears to be standing up to Putin’s tyranny, it might seem that there is far less reason to remove him from office. Stephen Reicher is a member of the Sage subcommittee advising on behavioural science. He is a professor of psychology at the University of St Andrews, a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and an authority on crowd psychology Continue reading...
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