Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Scott Begbie: No one is above the law – from P&O Ferries to 10 Downing Street

Protesters holding poster in front of P&O port
A storm of protest greeted P&O Ferries' illegal sacking of 800 UK workers.

The absolutely callous sacking by P&O Ferries of more than 800 UK workers has rightly created a storm of outrage.

But amidst all the calls for heads to roll and action to be taken, there is one huge, burning question to be answered.

What on earth made ferries boss Peter Hebblethwaite think his company could deliberately break the law and get away with it?

So much so that he sat in front of a panel of MPs and basically shrugged when accused of behaving like a gangster with an air of a man thinking “yeah, so, what are you going to do about it?”

Again, where did he get the idea from that laws are for other people and can be broken at will if they don’t suit you or get in the way of what you want to do?

The zeitgeist of our age… if you are powerful enough you can do what you like with impunity.”

Answers on a postcard to Number 10 Downing Street, please.

After all, this is the very epicentre of breaking the law by having gatherings and parties in breach of lockdown rules, then simply obfuscating in a storm of ifs, buts and whatabootery until the news cycle moves on.

Took the view that laws are for the obedience of oiks and not for them

However, some of us haven’t forgotten what they did. It is still, I have no doubt, very sharp in the memory of people who had loved ones die alone because the law said they couldn’t be there to comfort them.

Meanwhile, Downing Street staff were doing booze runs to the offie with a suitcase.

And still nothing has happened, no one has been held to account, not least the person who should be. The man who heads up the Westminster Government and the Conservative Party who clearly took the view that laws are for the obedience of oiks and not for them to worry their pretty heads about.

Boris Johnson was visibly shocked when former Tory Brexit secretary David Davis begged him to quit over the Westminster party scandal
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will one day face a day of reckoning over Partygate.

P&O Ferries actions are simply big business putting into practice the zeitgeist of our age… if you are powerful enough you can do what you like with impunity.

The message that sends out is toxic and has a corroding effect on our society.

We all must follow the rules – including those at the top

Our way of life is built on the bedrock that no one is above the law. We all need to follow the rules or there will be consequences.

That breaks down when those who hold the levers of power demonstrate there is one law for us and quite another for them.

Photo of columnist Scott Begbie on purple background and white text that reads 'one of those calling for the ferries boss to quit for his illegal action is none other than Boris Johnson Esq. The irony is not lost.'

It raises the question of why should anyone follow rules they don’t like, from wearing a mask indoors, to keeping to the speed limit to not sacking your workforce without consultation.

It’s a path that we don’t want to even contemplate going down.

Which is why Mr Hebblethwaite must at the very least lose his job if not be disqualified as a director not just of P&O but any company.

One of those calling for the ferries boss to quit for his illegal action is none other than Boris Johnson Esq. The irony is not lost.

So when the reckoning for Partygate comes, and come it will, the Prime Minister must follow his own advice, accept the consequences and resign.


Scott Begbie is entertainment editor for The Press & Journal and Evening Express

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]