By: A.Zgouridi and C.Oliveira
Boris Johnson, England’s current prime minister, was elected after supporting the controversial topic, the Brexit, which would remove the UK from the European Union. Since his first day in power, Boris Johnson has been a polemic figure, however he was always supported by the members of his party, the Tories. Through his time in office, he has been in the center of many scandals, however, one of his latest seems to be the most problematic.
Johnson has been the subject of plenty of controversy, specifically involving his disobedience toward the country’s complete COVID-19 lockdown, as he has been spotted attending many unsafe gatherings. On the 19th of June 2020, Johnson’s family and friends hosted a surprise birthday party for him, with more than 30 guests, despite the lockdown rules being instituted to prevent further spread of the virus.
Allegedly, the prime minister’s wife, Carrie, was the one responsible for organizing this surprise get-together for Johnson’s birthday celebration. This party took place inside his residence, despite indoor social gatherings being prohibited. The public was outraged over all this; the government had been telling them to do one thing and not doing it themselves. Johnson repeatedly claimed he had not been aware that social gatherings might be a possible breach of quarantine protocols.
During the surprise birthday event, it is believed that Johnson’s staff were led by his wife with a cake while singing a chorus of happy birthday. At the time, there was also a huge concern that singing was a potential way to spread the virus with choirs being unable to meet in person to practice their own performances.
One week prior to his controversial party on June 10th, he said, “I urge everyone to continue to show restraint and respect the rules which are designed to keep us all safe. It’s only because of the restraint that everyone, you all have shown so far, that we are able to move gradually out of this lockdown” something he clearly hasn’t followed.
Johnson was somewhat obliged by public pressure to admit to the parliament that he did take part in this party, in May 2020, amid the country’s lockdown to prevent further spread of the virus. However, even after all that happened regarding this scandal, he still hasn’t seemed to realize that it was the social gathering which broke pandemic restraints. Dominic Cummings, his former senior aide however, stated that Johnson knew the party broke pandemic rules and still took part.
The repercussions were terrible, as Queen Elizabeth had to attend her husband’s funeral by herself, and millions of people were unable to hold memorials for their loved ones. His actions were heavily argued over in the UK. In his short time in office, there have been many scandals, but this has been the biggest thus far for Johnson.
British artist Tracey Emin has stated that the British government was showing a “lack of compassion” to all peoples who were suffering during these tough times of pandemic. She is now demanding that her neon passion artwork part of a 2011 collection given to the government while David Cameron was the prime minister be removed from 10 Downing Street in response to Boris Johnson’s shameful actions.
The artwork ‘more passion’ is supposed to summon the picture of love and trust. However, in an Instagram post made by Emin she said that this feeling is “the last thing this present government needs”.
She later stated, “More Passion is about emotions and feelings, and I have a lot of feelings for people. This government’s lack of compassion for people is the biggest thing, there’s no contrition whatsoever.”
Emin continues by saying that her neon artwork is a “feel good factor” and “that’s why neon is in casinos, bars, funfairs, etc. it makes people feel good. I do not think the people in number 10 need anything to make them feel good, or to feel like partying. I feel those feelings should be stripped away immediately.”
She is not removing the artwork from the collection fully, but rather suggesting it should be placed somewhere else, where it would be appreciated.
The art piece was placed in the prime minister’s home to cheer people up while former prime minister David Cameron was living there, upon Johnson’s breach of security measures, she told the press, “It was a great privilege to have it hung in Number 10 Downing Street,” she stated “I know that my neon was appreciated there. It cheered people up. But they don’t seem to need cheering up now, do they? They seem to be able to cater for that themselves.”
After all this controversial commotion, there is now a possibility that Boris Johnson’s future as prime minister might be in jeopardy.