In recent weeks the antics of two rather ghastly middle-aged men have been diverting the attention of the British people. In one corner Boris Johnson, the prime minister, has been seeking to defend himself against charges that while the United Kingdom was locked down—by his fiat—in the depths of the pandemic, colleagues in his office were regularly throwing parties, and that he, indeed, was occasionally present. Before that scandal broke he was under fire for an elaborate redecoration of the prime ministerial flat in Downing Street masterminded and superintended by his wife, the former Carrie Symonds, using one of London’s most exclusive and expensive interior decorators, with wallpaper costing £840 ($1,135) a roll. It was not just that this makeover cost an amount beyond the wildest dreams of many in working-class areas who voted Conservative for the first...


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