Dutch Courage

The resignation of the entire cabinet came after it was revealed the Dutch Government has wrongly accused 20,000 families of child welfare fraud which have since proven to be unfounded.

Leader of the opposition Labour Party, Lodewijk Asscher, has also stepped down, taking responsibility for his part in the sandal as a member of the coalition government at the time the allegations were made.

Many immigrate and ethnic minority families were targeted for investigation by the tax authorities, further feeling accusations of systemic racism in the Netherlands.

This is not the first time the entire Dutch government has resigned en mass. In 2002 the cabinet stood down after a report criticised ministers and the military for failing to prevent the massacre of Muslims at Srebrenica during the Bosnian war sever years previously.

Is this what a competent government looks like? Or at least a government willing to take responsibility for its actions looks like? I don’t know, after a decade or so of the Tories in charge in the UK I’ve forgotten what its like to have a government that takes any kind of responsibility.

In the past year alone we have seen numerous acts of resignation material and yet nothing, not one minister has stepped up to take responsibility, if they had we would have an entirely new cabinet by now!

Just this past week it was revealed that 400,000 records had been deleted from the Police National Computer, records which help the police link evidence to scenes of crime. Six months ago the Home Secretary, responsible for policing in the UK, was found guilty of breaking the ministerial code in her act of bullying civil servants in her department. In under 12 months Priti Patel has been at the helm of two acts which under any other government would be considered offences fit for resignation. And yet nothing.

Since March 2020 we have had three free school meals scandals and A-Level and GCSE marking debacles, and yet Gavin Williamson remains Education Secretary.

Matt Hancock somehow still remains as Health Secretary in spite of overseeing one of the highest death rates in the world due to COVID-19 and a £12 billion track and trace system which barely works. All that and the handing out of vital NHS PPE contracts to every man and his dog who throw a few thousand quid the way of Tory Central Office.

As for the DWP, well accusing 20,000 families of child benefit fraud would be considered amateur hour to them, after all in the years of austerity to the current day they have seen more people pushed into poverty than ever before and disabled people routinely excommunicated from society or die due to their policies. And yet still no one is held accountable for the damage done by the department on the citizens of the UK.

As for Boris Johnson himself, as we already know he’s a serial liar who takes no responsibility for his actions, both in his political and personal lives. Just in the past week he followed a grand Government tradition of breaking the lockdown rules after being spotted cycling seven miles from home. Next he’ll be spotted at Leeds Castle for his annual eye test. Unlike the two Derbyshire women who were fined by police for exercising five miles from their homes, Johnson has faced no such fine and even less scrutiny than the woman.

There used to be a time where collective responsibility existed within UK politics, now it’s collective denial, collective shoulder sloping and collective passing the buck. The Dutch example has shown us just how ridiculous the UK government has become and the question now remaining is, is it too late to turn it back?

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