On March 1, Matt Hancock, the secretary of state for health, outlined UK government’s plans for the “worst-case scenario”. These included relaxing rules about how many children could be taught in a class at school. Just 27 days later both he and the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, tested positive for COVID-19. We are now far beyond that imagined worst-case scenario.
In the midst of a national emergency, we are mired in a staggering absence of scrutiny. As the UK’s horrifying death toll from COVID-19 exceeds 10,000, politicians and even some journalists now say questions must be asked of the government’s handling of the crisis, but only once it is all over.
Can the government cope without Boris Johnson while he remains seriously ill? It will not be easy. The machine will miss his drive and energy at such a critical moment. The public will miss his bouncy optimism.
Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron have each now described the fight against coronavirus as a “war”. Trump describes himself as a “wartime president”. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has asked the public to support health workers, who he refers to as the “troops”.
Jason Osamade Okundaye, 23, from London didn’t expect to see his face in the newspaper that morning. He was just your average Cambridge university student.
Boris Johnson said last week that “many, many job losses” were inevitable as a result of the economic fall-out from the pandemic. While this is true, bold government action can mitigate both mass unemployment and the coming climate crisis. What is needed is an ambitious green recovery plan that puts people to work and accelerates our transition to a zero carbon economy.
Many new Conservative MPs are different from the traditional Tory stereotype, while many of the (fewer) new Labour MPs are carbon-copy Corbynites. After every election,
The relationship between politicians and scientists has changed markedly during the coronavirus crisis. At first, ministers insisted they were “following the science”. Then they were “guided” by it. Now they finally admit questions like the two-metre social distancing rule are political decisions as they prepare to overrule their scientific and medical experts.
As we wake each day to the world-shattering coronavirus crisis, we are also waking up to the reality that to get through, we must all play a part. Our interdependence has always been true, however distant we have grown from it.
Boris Johnson’s attempt to model himself on Winston Churchill seemed absurd, until now. In America, most presidential candidates write books about themselves; Johnson wrote a book called The Churchill Factor.