I missed my grandma’s last Christmas as Downing Street partied
My family, like so many across the UK, virtually celebrated last Christmas. Where there would usually be a festive photo of us all around a table dotted with empty plates and half-full glasses and leftover crackers, paper hats with flippant angles on our heads, there is than a screenshot: three small windows in three small Christmases on three different sofas at opposite ends of the country.
It’s especially painful for me to think about it because it was, although none of us could have known at the time, my grandmother’s last Christmas on this earth – and she is. largely spent on its own. A Christmas dinner for one delivered by a local restaurant to eat in front of the TV.
It was this image, of my grandmother alone in her apartment, as she was for almost all of the 18 months before her death in July, that made me cry last night when I watched the video , shot on December 22, 2020, by Boris Johnson then press secretary, Allegra Stratton, repeating one of the daily televised briefings offered by the government. In the footage, obtained by ITV News, Stratton stands behind a podium on stage and answers questions from Ed Oldfield, the Prime Minister’s adviser, who plays the role of a reporter in the audience.
“I just saw reports on Twitter that there was a Christmas party in Downing Street on Friday night. Do you recognize these reports? Oldfield asks.
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“I went home,” Stratton replies, laughing out loud. She pulled herself together, responding “wait” before making painful “umm, errr, ahhhh” noises in an apparent struggle to answer the question. Oldfield interrupts his silence: “Would the Prime Minister agree to throw a Christmas party?”
Stratton laughed again, asking him, “What’s the answer?” Oldfield, too, laughs, “I don’t know,” he admits.