The Speaker
Monday, 20 May 2024 – 22:06

Where are you Boris?

NOTE: This is an opinion article – any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Speaker or any members of its team.

There have been multiple times recently where I’ve seen #WhereisBoris or similar terms trending on Twitter.

There has been constant outrage over UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson missing daily briefings or generally just being AWOL. ‘He’s hiding in the fridge!’, ‘We need a track and trace app for our PM!’, people keep tweeting. So, where is Boris? The public is asking questions, and the media keeps speculating. Not long ago, a new satire book called ‘Where’s Boris?’ popped up online. In the meantime, people are busy photoshopping his pictures and wondering about his whereabouts. Especially considering recent supposed ‘lockdown rule-breaking’ by Dominic Cummings, people want to know what our Prime Minister has got to say. Yet he remains silent.

First, let us give Boris some credit. He runs the country whilst overseeing Brexit negotiations and trying to deal with an unprecedented pandemic. He was also unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with COVID-19 himself, and upon leaving hospital, he had some positive news in welcoming a new member to his family.

These events in quick succession would likely wear down the best of us. Yet, he chose to postpone his paternity leave. Considering all this, he was still able to address the public with a smile on his face, while he was still recovering. What about the accusations that he missed Cobra meetings in the past? Michael Gove confirmed that PM was not required to attend them.

Even this week, Boris had plenty of work to do, conducting calls with significant people, such as Bill Gates and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. And if opening a Hidden Arms Summit to tackle domestic abuse and child sexual exploitation isn’t important work, I don’t know what is. As the economy continues to suffer and the deaths continue, he is also responsible for the decision-making regarding ensuring the safety of the public alongside planning a roadmap for leaving the lockdown.

In comparison, Nicola Sturgeon and the other leaders of the devolved nations do not have quite as much to deal with – at the end of the day, it is Boris, who is in charge of the UK as a whole. And decisions need to be made – how to handle Brexit amid pandemic? How to strike a perfect balance between saving lives and reviving the economy? Maybe we could focus on the death counts going down and be more positive about someone, who actually got Brexit done. We mustn’t forget about the changes that have been made, such as the furlough plan for the employees, point-based immigration system and most recently, scrapping the migrant fee for the foreign NHS workers.

However, the calls for Boris to take a stand do not stop; and in the light of recent events regarding the controversy surrounding Dominic Cummings and his reported contraband travel to Durham, Boris is still not there to address it.

We can try to defend Mr Johnson all we want, but the time passes and many prominent figures, including the Conservative MPs are getting progressively more unnerved. The division is striking between the group that stands by Boris infallibly and the group that calls for him to address the situation.

Is he going to defend his advisor? Is he going to push him to resign? We are only left guessing as Boris is still not presenting his point of view. Regardless of how much work he is putting into the fight against the global pandemic, we could really do with some stronger leadership, in particular a decisive action regarding his advisor’s behaviour.

 

UPDATE: Shortly after the publication of this article, it was announced that Boris Johnson would front Sunday’s daily press briefing, at a delayed time of 5pm.

Photo Credit: Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street under licence (CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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