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Opinion: No 10 Downing Street Christmas party: Surely we have all been 'given the bauble'



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What’s your favourite Christmas joke?

Is it the the one about the best Christmas present in the world?

A broken drum – you just can’t beat it.

Christmas parties were banned this time last year. Stock image
Christmas parties were banned this time last year. Stock image

Or is the one about what Adam said the day before Christmas: “It’s Christmas, Eve!”

Or is it, even, how will Christmas dinner be different after Brexit?

No Brussels.

Or who is Santa’s favourite singer?

Of course, it has to be Elf-is Presley!

Or is it, perhaps the one about Government staff having a Christmas party, that didn’t happen, but might have?

Or the one about cheese and wine?

Former press secretary Allegra Stratton announces her resignation in the wake of the No 10 party row. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA
Former press secretary Allegra Stratton announces her resignation in the wake of the No 10 party row. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA

Sniggers. Guffaws.

Either way, the unfolding government crisis over an alleged Christmas party at Downing Street during lockdown last year has gripped the country, with social media awash with mocking memes and biting black humour.

The latest to catch on: The idea that during the fiasco, we have all in fact ‘been given the bauble’.

This emerged after it was tweeted ‘innocently’ by lexicographer and Countdown icon Susie Dent for her ‘Phrase of the Day’.

It was latched on immediately by Twitterland and widely interpreted as a dig against the Conservative Party and perhaps wry comment on their yuletide shenanigans.

The don of the Countdown’s Dictionary Corner, who composes daily tweets on interesting words and phrases of the day was praised by internet users for a well-timed, considered lesson.

Christmas bauble
Christmas bauble

She tweeted: From the 16th century, is – ‘give someone the bauble’: to play them for a sucker or fool.

She could well be right. After all, we have all been reassured by important people who have in turn, been reassured by other people, and therefore we should all be reassured, it did not happen, but might have. In fact, it probably did.

Is cheese and wine a party?

Sniffs.

There's a bit of a clue in the fact that 'party' games were also 'allegedly' played.

Humour aside: the No 10 Christmas party is, in fact, as well all know, deadly serious, quite literally.

Amusing perhaps in the context of the shambolic way in which this government increasingly behaves like, at best, naughty schoolchildren, but at the same time, distressing as an example of a complete failure of leadership at a time of unprecedented crisis.

Matt Hancock MP
Matt Hancock MP

What is also shocking is that they ‘may or may not have had’ a Secret Santa, and so the event, on December 18 had been planned for some time – and still went ahead.

(Were some of the gifts future contracts for PPE we wonder.

Although that might have been at another fictional party, altogether)

And all this, was just days after the rest of the country were told to put their Christmas plans on hold and NO CHRISTMAS PARTIES!

Let alone visit loved ones..

The next day, London went into Tier 4.

It’s also now emerged that another seven government parties may or may not have taken place, involving Boris Johnson himself - and was confirmed at least one, at the education department, actually did.

It really is a shame the government staff didn’t take their own advice.

All I can say is that at least Matt Hancock got his Christmas snog in early, and did the ‘right thing’ and resigned.