Without subtlety I just do not trust Boris Johnson. I do not trust Matt Hancock. It’s not about evidence or facts, it’s just a feeling. I can feel something is wrong when they speak. If they are speaking the absolute truth then they seem to be doing everything they can not to appear so.
One Southend resident said “initially when the lockdown and subsequent furlough began it reminded me of going to see Father Christmas as a child. You knew something was off but you went along with it because it benefited you. Today, there is no longer any benefit in believing”.
I disagree to a degree. The benefit of believing every word Johnson says might be that everyone respects the rules and as a result the spread decreases. However, he does not exude any plausibility. Worse still is Hancock. That embarrassing escapade of no-tears tears as he watched the first person receive the vaccine has not quite sunk in. A little like the moment Prince Andrew mentioned the Pizza Express in Woking story, as time goes on it may become a moment that matures in insincerity and absurdity.
It is quite alarming when Tory back benchers and the Daily Mail are raising serious questions as to what is going on. Yes, their agendas may well be another thing entirely, but their bafflement as to the decision-making should be somewhat of an indicator as to what is going on.
Johnson’s reputation as a liar is well known. Hancock’s incompetence is well known. Together they lead the response to COVID and inflict their flawed characters upon the nation. What an ask it is for the people of the UK to follow their lead. Look at the leadership shown with the Cummings debacle. Look at Hancock standing outside the lined markings in the House of Commons as he patted his friend on the back breaking the social distance guidelines. Look at the desperately poor decisions surrounding the Christmas rules. Look at the lack of ventilators, the myriad issues with the track and trace app, the reckless eat out to help out scheme, the lack of correct PPE and so on. I desperately want to believe what they are saying and believe that what they are saying will lead us to the promise land, but because it is they who say it, many, many things just don’t quite make sense.
I am not sure whether it is the reputation the media have presented to us or whether my opinion is based on genuine evidence. I have no idea about who Johnson and Hancock truly are. Their U-turning (or O-turning, being that their decision-making goes round in more of a circular motion) that is portrayed as indecisive and making it up as they go along, could quite easily be represented as pragmatic, dynamic, and open-minded. Maybe that is what they really are and I have wrongly bought into the media propaganda?
Only Johnson and his inner team have the unspun information on COVID (of course even that information will be tarnished with some kind of bias with some kind of agenda). Therefore, regardless of what opinion you hold, he is the source of our information and therefore the foundation of your point of view. Yes, there are other sources available from across the world, however, the information that is driving UK government decision-making about how to control the virus is for his eyes only. And how he weaves that information into a story for us to swallow is for his mind only.
So what is going on here?
This crisis is far bigger than most of us can comprehend. The ramifications for decisions related to COVID could lead to life-changing consequences for everyone involved in the decision-making – and particularly Johnson. Most of us wake up in the morning hoping to earn our daily bread and go home and watch something to take our minds of the stresses of the day. Johnson goes to bed with the knowledge that he can kill people. That the public will turn against him. That his Party will turn against him. That his reputation will be irreparably damaged. That his country will hate him. That there would be a case to bring charges against him. That he won't go down in history as the greatest Prime Minister since Winston Churchill. That he won't be seen as a greater Prime Minister than Winston Churchill. So understandably he has to make decisions that protect himself and his legacy. When you look at the situation from this perspective his decision-making starts to make sense. Wrong or right, there are scientists proposing that lockdowns do not work or that face coverings do not work or might even make it worse. However, if the goal is to protect himself from any of the above then it doesn’t actually matter.
My goal here is not to suggest that anyone should not follow the rules. I follow them myself and will continue to do so out of respect for other people. However, I cannot stop feeling that it does not make sense. There is something wrong. There is an uncanny valley to all of this. There is just something off that tells us not to trust this person. I cannot tell you what it is. I have no science to back my feeling up. I just feel it. Hancock’s laughing tear was hiding in plain sight. His programming was malfunctioning to such a degree that the comedy covered what should be deeply concerning. The Health Secretary was actually pretending to cry and pretending to show emotion. There are people dying and he is pretending to imitate emotions he thinks we think he should be displaying. This is one of the most important people leading our protection.
Maybe it is me. Maybe I am the only one who has this wrong and I should go along with the group-think that is the current zeitgeist. Maybe Johnson does have integrity and is acting in the best interests of the people of this country? Maybe Hancock does know what he is doing? Maybe his invisible tear was a trick of eye? As it stands I am not convinced and my complicity in their charade means I am effectively supporting leaders I do not trust. But then what is the alternative? Stand up and march against following the rules. Impossible. Those that do are conspiracy theorists and carry little credibility amongst the public. There is a dilemma here and the answer has yet to be worked out. In the meantime, as people continue to become infected, operations are cancelled, the NHS is stretched, jobs are lost and businesses go bankrupt, we must continue to suffer the consequences of leaders without honesty, integrity and trustworthiness.