The fact that a minister has to take off his hat is a part of everyday political life in many countries. However, the circumstances are generally exceptional when the office of the Minister of Health has to be vacated in the midst of an epidemic. And in Great Britain. Health Secretary Matt Hancock resigned yesterday. Not because he didn’t do his job properly, but because pictures of a surveillance camera from his office became public.
The affair was exposed
Images are every newspaper’s dream. They show how Health Minister Matt Hankok kisses and hugs as his closest adviser without being his wife. But the fact that the health minister had an extramarital affair angered the British. An affair in this country is no longer a professional disqualification, but rather an embarrassment or a little inferior to a minister. No, the public was outraged by the unique interpretation of the official regulation of social distance. People who did not live in the same family for more than 400 days had two meters. Home calls, hugs or even kisses outside one’s own family are prohibited. But with the man who imposed these restrictions, for all the people, this distance shrunk to zero in the office.
Other politicians are breaking the rules
This chapter reminded many Britons of the strange journey of Boris Johnson’s close adviser last spring. Dominic Cummings traveled 300 kilometers from London in the northeast of England, when he was forced to stay at home throughout Great Britain. The trip had no effect on him. Cummings was allowed to remain in office. Until yesterday it seemed that the Minister of Health would also escape from his actions. Matt Hancock apologized for his behavior and the Prime Minister announced that the case was over. However, the public – and even some conservative politicians – saw it differently.
The Kovit regime raises questions
The Health Minister’s deviant behavior overflows a barrel. For more than a year the British have been overcoming the highly restricted Govt rule. There are no victims in any European country other than Great Britain. Grandparents were not allowed to see their children and grandchildren for several months. The UK is the only country in Europe that will have to drop out on holiday abroad this summer for fear of the rapid spread of the delta variant of the virus.
A few days before the release of the pictures from the minister’s office, it was revealed that the football association Ufa had conducted a horse trade with the British government. Two and a half thousand football officials and fans are allowed to travel without isolation to the semi-finals and final in London in July. Those who celebrate their wedding with more than 30 guests, on the other hand, have to pay a fine of more than 10,000 francs.
Health Minister resigns
Health Secretary Matt Hankok took off his hat yesterday, realizing that he had now lost all power. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will survive on this issue as well, but those who rule with such diverse standards will in the long run suffer not only the patience of the people but also their confidence.
Great Britain Reporter, SRF
Patrick Walser has been SRF’s UK correspondent in London since the end of 2019. Walcher was an Africa correspondent from 2011 to 2017 and lived with his family in Nairobi. He later chaired the foreign editorial board at Radio SRF in Bern.
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