Britain is Suffering From 'Long Johnson'
The muted reception to damning revelations from the Covid Inquiry about the former Prime Minister's behaviour tells us everything we need to know about British politics
It was once popular for certain political commentators to dismiss public cynicism about politicians as being overdone. If only we could ‘walk a mile in their shoes’ we would see that their intentions were basically good, we were told.
That argument has surely died with Boris Johnson and the ongoing revelations from the Covid Inquiry about his handling of the pandemic.
In the last week alone we have learned that:
Johnson dismissed the existence of Long Covid as “bollocks”, which was just “another Gulf War Syndrome”
The Head of the Civil Service described the Government’s handling of Covid as a “terrible tragic joke”
Officials believed restrictions should have been imposed weeks earlier than they were
An internal report on the political culture inside No 10 found that “Nothing is done well. No-one listens to anyone else. Views ignored. Bad behaviours from senior leaders tolerated…. No 10 always at war with someone… Junior women [were] talked over or ignored."
Of course you might have expected that such revelations about the Government’s dire performance during the worst pandemic for a century, in which hundreds of thousands of people died, would be big news.
Yet aside from a handful of cursory news reports, much of which have focused on the psychodrama around Carrie Johnson, the revelations have received little attention so far. So what’s going on here?