No wonder Priti Patel has been missing in action. She just fell apart on live TV.

Priti Patel on Sky News
Steve Topple

Priti Patel has been most noticeable throughout the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic by not really being noticeable at all. And her appearance on Sky News‘s Ridge programme on Sunday 28 June just summed up why.

Patel’s return

In a wide-ranging interview, Sophy Ridge probed the home secretary on various issues. Patel’s responses to most questions were less than satisfactory. Take the current furore over housing secretary Robert Jenrick and the ‘cash for favours’ scandal with ex-Daily Express owner Richard Desmond. When Ridge asked Patel whether she could “guarantee” that Boris Johnson “hasn’t had any conversations” with Desmond, Patel’s response was to repeat the PM’s insistence that:

the matter is closed.

But the Jenrick “matter” is far from closed. PoliticsHome reported that he overruled senior civil servants who told him to block Desmond’s application. Labour has reported Jenrick to the parliamentary watchdog. And the Guardian reported that he had a meeting with a billionaire mining magnate in an official ministerial capacity – who turns out to be a “family friend”. But never mind. “The matter is closed” according to Patel.

Meanwhile, the home secretary also spoke out about violence against police officers. She said that perpetrators would feel “the full force of the law”. But Patel also said:

What we’ve seen with… mass gatherings and protests is unacceptable.

Here’s where Patel started to fall apart. Because Ridge also asked her about the easing of lockdown restrictions and the scenes of those “mass gatherings” at places like Bournemouth beach.

We do like to be beside the seaside

The Sky News presenter said:

We’ve all seen pictures in the last week or so of people gathering in large groups, on beaches, in parks, celebrating Liverpool winning the Premier League. Are some people acting irresponsibly?

Patel immediately changed her tune. She said:

I think it’s important that the public realise that this virus has not disappeared at all. I’ve said this many times… We’re living with the virus, we are still in a health emergency and a health pandemic. Now, of course as we unlock and reopen society we’re doing that with very clear measures and parameters around social distancing, but also hygiene measures as well.

Ridge interrupted and asked again:

Are people acting irresponsibly when you can see them on beaches and so on when they’re not observing social distancing?

Patel said:

People need to follow the guidance that we have put in place

But…! But…!

But Ridge wasn’t having it. Again, she asked:

Are they irresponsible if they don’t?

The home secretary again deflected, saying:

The public need to think about other people as well, in terms of spreading the virus.

So which is it? Because Patel either thinks that “mass gatherings” are “unacceptable” or, given she wouldn’t answer, that these incidents are not “irresponsible”.

But here’s the problem with Patel.

Classism

In this instance, it’s clearly only certain “mass gatherings” which are “unacceptable”. Like the parties seen in Brixton and Notting Hill. Or the Black Lives Matter protests. Whereas people causing a major incident at Bournemouth beach need to “think about” what they’ve done. This sums up Patel as a politician completely. Because also on Ridge, she said that Labour’s attitude towards her was “racist”, because she didn’t fit “their stereotypical view of what an ethnic minority woman should stand for”.

Patel’s whole attitude reeks of classism. Poor people, many of them Black, having parties or protesting systemic racism under her government? It’s “unacceptable”. She’s also willing to put into place rules that immigrants must speak English. And also bring in tighter restrictions which, as the Guardian noted, would have meant her parents would have never been able to move to the UK. Yet Patel says you can go to the beach as long as you “think about” what you’ve done. Probably because the people who she wants ‘thinking about’ their actions are, by and large, not Black, or poor, or from council estates.

Spineless and cynical

But Ridge wasn’t done with Patel. When she’d finished reeling her in hook, line and sinker, the Sky News presenter hung her out to dry. After letting her ramble, she asked Patel:

when people have seen the prime minister’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings taking liberties with the guidance, isn’t it inevitable that they’ll think ‘why should I follow this to the letter?’

“Of course it’s not” said Patel. When Ridge asked again if she thought Cummings’ actions had ‘impacted’ the public attitude to lockdown, Patel said:

Quite frankly Sophy… no, because that issue has been and gone

One rule for Jenrick, Cummings, and herself (and beach-goers) – and one for every other poor person who Patel would happily throw under the bus and make sure another one came along to run them over again. Spineless and hypocritical. Just like the majority of Boris Johnson’s cabinet.

Featured image via Sky News – YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. I never discovered what happened to the tax-payers cash that Ms Patel was trying to give to the Israeli Occupying Forces in Golan. For “humanitarian work” apparently; something for which Israeli soldiers are famous.
      Since this scandal (no, I’ll be honest…it was before then), I have tended to doubt a single word that comes out of her mouth.

    2. This Patel woman is typical of the sort of unimaginative dodgy court jester Killer surrounds himself with, a non-entity who won’t out-shine her master much. As such we’re doomed. The race to the sewer bottom continues apace…………

    3. It seems Patel sets out to be a contrarian. It is quite striking that this BAME minister should denounce protests from BLM and impose immigration rules that would have prevented her parents from coming to the UK seeking refuge from Adi Amin. Either she has no grasp of her own history – or is completely thick. Either way – she’s dangerous, given the position she holds in government.

      As my old mum would say: “She’s a right piece of work.”

    4. No wonder Priti Patel has been missing in action.
      She just fell apart on live TV.

      Ms Patel it looks like you have learned nothing since
      Ms May sacked you from your last Minister job WHY?

      I can take it you still looking after the rich only within Tory party
      (i.e. rich Tory party funders) like Cummings and the like.

      The laws you and Boris put in place can be broken by Cumming but not us
      Residents of U.K. that have Obeyed to lock-down rules full but your rich
      Employee ONLY?? Mr. Cumming that broke them he did not even get a fine WHY? Ms Patel was Cumming not even fined for his endangering lives in his JOY
      riding about the U.K. area spreading C/19 Virus to over areas.

      Note to all male members of Tory party Ms Priti Patel with her stuck up
      Rich thinking of the poor people of this country (by the way vote Boris)
      Will cost Tory party next G.E. power? She as just put another nail in your parties Coffin plus your Coffin Boris with voter’s poor & rich alike now.

      In addition, the C**p going on with your Housing Minister doggy dealing
      He also has put a nail in your Coffin Boris, are your very own Minister
      Now trying to break up the Boris run Govt now within (I ask myself)

      Should you Boris Not be asking Patel /Jenrick/Cummings/-Boris what the hell are they up too now as our Prime Minister why is your own Cabinet Minister behaving like they are now???? Also, why as Cumming under mined your control rules on Lock-down and not Even been fined Boris like us resident in U.K. have been fined large amount of money we cannot afford to pay out.

      FINALLY!!
      My opinion as a free voter Boris come next reshuffle you need to clean house get shut of the two minister in this post/Patel/Jenrick/ plus your Employee only, Cumming for breaking your rules on lock-down and not even being fined for it SIR WHY?
      Cannot wait until next G.E. we free voter are already starting our campaign to aid in removing this unjust doggy Tory party from power and its disgraceful Minister possibly making doggy dealing by your party members Boris. JUST to get Tory party funding Only is this why Cumming was never fined for breaking your rules on lock-down Boris because he gets you funding CASH, YES OR NO? so you maybe or could be turning a blind eye to his carrying on from No,10-No,11 now. Boris who the hell is running our country now you SIR.
      The doggy rich Minister including Cumming from No,10-No,11 or rich Tory party funders now? I as a free voter would like a response as to who is running our country Boris before next G.E. time frame O.K.

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