His name was Shaun Brady. He was a proud factory worker at the Heinz Kraft plant in Wigan, in the North West of England. He was brilliant, honest and kind. He didn’t think much of himself, but we thought the world of him, and he thought the world of us.
Dad was only 55. He loved cooking healthy food and went to the gym three or four times a week. But when the pandemic hit, he stuck to the lockdown rules. However, as a designated key worker, Dad had to keep attending his workplace in person. So even though his employer put in place measures to make work safer, Dad had to take public transport into work each day. And he got Covid-19.
A year and a half later, I found myself sitting in the Downing Street garden, talking to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
Over the past month-and-a-half, I’ve had to endure revelation after revelation about party after party leaking from Downing Street. Secret Santas, wine and cheese meetings, after-work drinks. It has made me feel so angry, I cannot describe it. Each revelation opens up that grief — and betrayal — all over again.
Most Britons at the time were not going to mass gatherings like this — except the few we heard about in the news after the police shut them down. The hypocrisy of the prime minister sticks in my throat. It shows there’s one rule for him, and another for the rest of us. As long as Johnson is in that job, he’s undermining the legitimacy of the rules, and he’s a threat to the safety of the country. On his watch, the United Kingdom was the first country in Europe to pass 150,000 Covid deaths.
My Dad stuck to the rules and died. Johnson meanwhile, broke the rules, very nearly died from Covid-19 himself, and more than 18 months later is still in charge of the country. Dad wasn’t given a second chance. Johnson’s leadership meanwhile, has been given too many.