From David Maughan Brown in York, UK: Get well,Boris

April 7th So Boris Johnson is now in intensive care ‘as a precaution’ because he needs to be near a ventilator.  One wonders how many of his many well wishers remember his March 3rd performance at the news conference where he announced with his usual braggadocio that he had just visited a hospital treating coronavirus patients and had shaken hands with everybody he met, patients included.  The only surprising thing about Boris being ill is that the virus has taken so long to strike.  

Responses to the news of the Prime Minister’s illness shed an interesting light on the social-psychology of the country. One commentator quoted on the news asserted without any qualification that ‘We need our leader to be well so that he can lead us through this emergency.’  Because he is ‘our leader’ he must, by definition, be able to lead us out of any emergency.  His character and capabilities as leader, and how he got to be leader, are entirely beside the point. The cynics among us might point out that on his record to date Boris’s leadership is far more likely to lead us all straight to the Intensive Care Unit.  We must be grateful that since March 3rd he has, at least at his news conferences, managed to sublimate his ego to the point of deferring to the experts. 

The BBC’s 1.00pm news bulletin today devoted its first twelve and a half minutes to utterly banal and repetitive coverage of the Prime Minister’s illness, during the entire course of which it managed to give no information whatever that went beyond the morning’s bulletin from 10 Downing Street, which could have been read out in thirty seconds. The endlessly puffed-up verbiage about Boris’s illness on the news is more than enough to make anybody wish Boris well and out of hospital.   But one would want to do that anyway, as much for his fiancée and family as for Boris himself.  

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