The British government has hit its lowest point with Partygate.

Tobias Stone
4 min readMay 25, 2022
Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash

Good leaders lead by example. Boris Johnson has done the absolute opposite. During the pandemic, the Queen showed fantastic leadership, as she and her family had done during WW2 when they remained in London and walked amongst the bombed buildings. The height of her leadership and personal sacrifice was when her husband died, and she sat alone at his funeral. I felt at the time that she really could have had one or more of her children by her side, and that would have been pretty-well within the rules, but no, she followed the rules to the letter, setting an example and suffering alongside her people.

She was not alone. Like many people, I saw and heard of numerous stories during the pandemic that I can only describe as horror stories. People unable to see dying relatives in hospital, elderly couples separated by lockdowns in care homes. One elderly couple were kept apart in hospital due to the rules, and the husband was only wheeled into his wife’s room to hold her hand as she died, before he then died too. It is beyond heart-breaking. It was also, quite often, unnecessary and unimaginative.

As a country, we came together. We widely did what we were told, however bizarre or irrational that sometimes was. Individuals made awful, life changing sacrifices that will be on their conscience for the rest of their lives — not saying goodbye to dying children, partners, parents. Not having funerals, having weddings alone. The suffering is beyond comprehension and will sit with our society for generations.

Unlike the Queen, who suffered alongside her people, those making the rules in Downing Street did the opposite. They clearly felt the rules they created were for ‘the people,’ not for them.

The latest photos of Boris Johnson toasting a colleague in a room full of people, with drinks and snacks on the tables is genuinely shocking. Beyond the behaviour in full view here, the way these people think is really revealed by one Conservative MP, Desmond Swayne (@DesmondSwayne), who responded in the media by saying: “It was a work do. It’s what people do at work — you have leaving dos.” This suggests that Johnson was not alone in viewing the very rules he had instructed us to follow as being for ‘them’ but not ‘us.’

Tobias Stone

Writing about politics, history, and society. Also at,, @ts_writing