The “sleaze factor” could inflict lasting damage to Johnson.
Time after time Tory cronyism is on show; while it won’t happen quickly, this could imbed itself in people’s minds.
The sheer mass of evidence of Tory corruption is off the scales. Sleaze has characterised Tory government (and elements of Labour government) for decades upon decades. This time it’s so in your face every weekend there’s more Sunday paper scoops on the latest skulduggery by Johnson’s merry band of incompetents.
While (as I wrote recently) the government for the time being can make its excuses and coast along; I believe the values issues here could resonate with middle England, and if the act isn’t cleaned up corrosive lasting damage can be done to the government’s PR.
A government doesn’t want to be associated with cronyism or cash in hand corruption, governments have been tanked in this country over far less. It fuels a sense of carelessness, dishonesty, and largess; all thing that really won’t resonate well with red wall, older type voters. IE: the exact people Johnson needs to hang onto.
By no means is this something that can’t be swept under the rug. But I maintain if this continues we’ll reach a point where the govt is branded with this, Johnson’s public image will be correlated with cronyism and corruption, and his ministry will fall.
As with most things, a change in direction could occur now Cummings and Cain have left the building. But I wouldn’t be so sure. Johnson’s time as Mayor Of London exemplified chummy relations and favours, and that’s carried into handling a national pandemic.
Johnson will continue to get away with this, until one day he won't.