UK: Boris Johnson Faces COVID Inquiry

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    The Facts

    • Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson began his two-day COVID inquiry on Wednesday by apologizing for the "pain, loss, and suffering." He was soon interrupted by the inquiry's chair, Heather Hallet, who ordered protesters in the gallery to sit down, after which four of them held up signs before they were removed. Afterward, Johnson said he could "understand" the victims, that he did his "level best," and acknowledged that things could have been done "differently."

    • When asked about his former senior aides claiming he was "bamboozled" by the science, Johnson said such criticism "is wholly to be expected." Johnson became the first sitting Prime Minister to receive a fine from the police after he and members of his team were caught breaking their own COVID lockdown rules.


    The Spin

    Left narrative

    The disgraced former Prime Minister was as wishy-washy during this hearing as he was in office. He failed to protect his nation from COVID because, unlike even the most controversial Prime Ministers of the past, Johnson had no vision for the country other than putting himself in charge of it. His indifference to governing style and policy resulted in his countless fatal failures — ranging from his absence from cabinet meetings in February 2020 to the continual indecisiveness on every policy until he left office.

    Right narrative

    Johnson's liberal critics are not wrong about his willingness to flip-flop on policy — what they don't inform you, however, is that the direction he flip-flopped was consistently moving in favor of their failed lockdown policies. After Johnson rightly rejected calls for lockdowns in early 2020, the backlash from critics scared him into a 180-degree turn, thus imposing the strictest lockdowns possible. All this inquiry cares about is ensuring the country's future pandemic responses are draconian, so they'll drag Johnson through the mud until the public agrees with them.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 4% chance that Boris Johnson will return as the leader of the UK Conservative Party before 2026, according to the Metaculus prediction community.


    Political split

    LEFT

    RIGHT

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