UK Prime Minister Taken to Hospital With Coronavirus
Last night, news broke that the UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been taken to intensive care. This came shortly after recent revelations that he, too, had contracted symptoms of COVID-19 and that such symptoms had progressively worsened.
Social media was soon flooded with well wishes and sympathy for Johnson and, before too long, the hashtag ‘#ClapForBoris’ was trending across Twitter. Such sentiments were often accompanied with the instruction that ‘politics should be cast aside’.
Since the UK’s coronavirus outbreak rapidly escalated – leading to the nationwide lockdown – the British public have begun to mirror the heartwarming solidarity demonstrated by Italians who have clapped from their balconies and doorsteps to applaud Italy’s selfless medical staff in their battle against COVID-19.
For the past two weeks each Thursday evening at 8pm, the British public have clapped and cheered from their homes in a similar display of gratitude for our NHS workers.
While health care staff across the UK deserve so much more than a clap – with many candidly admitting that it feels like somewhat of an empty gesture from a British public who have voted in consecutive Conservative governments despite their extensive cuts to the NHS – it has certainly succeeded in lifting the spirits of thousands.
Now, as the Prime Minister himself battles COVID-19, some believe that the public ought to #ClapForBoris. The irony is not lost on those who remember quite clearly the Prime Minister’s arrogant, reckless confession just two weeks ago that he had shaken hands with several COVID-19 patients.
Johnson proudly proclaimed this in an attempt to downplay the severity of the Coronavirus outbreak in the UK, despite the rest of the world having watched on in horror as China and Italy struggled to contain it, leading to a devastating number of deaths.
Johnson’s confession came at a time when he had announced his government’s plans for the UK to develop ‘herd immunity’ to the disease, disregarding the advice of the WHO (World Health Organisation) and contradicting the actions of all other countries simultaneously fighting against its spread.
The irony is not lost on those who remember quite clearly the Prime Minister’s arrogant, reckless confession that he had shaken hands with several COVID-19 patients
The Prime Minister’s actions preceding the UK’s rapid incline in Coronavirus cases have, undeniably, contributed to the loss of so many lives while putting many more at unnecessary risk.
In delaying the lockdown of the nation; in failing to provide NHS staff with the PPE (personal protective equipment) they so desperately need; in gloating about shaking hands with COVID-19 patients and therefore minimising the need for social distancing, Boris Johnson has acted in the manner that he always has: self-important, free from consequences, utterly privileged.
But the nature of an infectious disease is that it does not discriminate. Johnson has, perhaps to his surprise, found that he is in fact not immune to COVID-19, swiftly bringing the Prime Minister back down to earth with the thudding realisation that he is human like the rest of us.
The real heroes continue to be our NHS workers – not the man who has placed unbearable pressures and hardship upon them
It is an insult, then, to now urge the public – many of whom are losing friends and family as we speak – to praise the Prime Minister simply because he has been made to face this unforgiving reality. The real heroes continue to be our NHS workers – not the man who has placed unbearable pressures and hardship upon them.
Those few minutes of public admiration and applause each week should not be hijacked by well wishes for a Prime Minister whose actions up until this point have demonstrated nothing but complicity in their struggle.
Those who feel that they cannot extend their sympathies to the Prime Minister similarly should not be painted as monsters lacking in humanity. We must not forget that Boris Johnson nonchalantly informed the British public just a few weeks ago that many of us would lose loved ones. He simply did not envisage himself in such a scenario.
Those few minutes of public applause should not be hijacked by well wishes for a Prime Minister whose actions up until this point have demonstrated nothing but complicity in their struggle
Perhaps expressing this most eloquently is a recent post shared by The Left Bible, a news and media website which holds to account the Conservative government. The post shared via social media relays the words of Harry Paterson who tragically lost his brother to COVID-19:
“One can only hope that the Prime Minister, as he languishes in intensive care, courtesy of the NHS that he and his party have done so much to destroy, deeply regrets the cheering & jeering doled out to nurses by he and his colleagues; when they voted down a pay rise for those heroes. If he’s lucky he’ll now be finding out exactly how valuable these people are.
My brother, sadly, wasn’t lucky. Jas, 54, died of Covid-19 in Nottingham’s Queens Medical Centre a week last Saturday night. Unlike the Prime Minister there was no ventilator for Jas. ‘Operation: Last Gasp’, right, Prime Minister?
I then stood on an empty street, shouting to be heard over the wind, no privacy, no dignity, to tell an old man on a doorstep his child had died. The most indescribably awful duty I’ve ever had to carry out.
There will, of course, be those idiots, those hypocrites, those bootlickers, who will condemn me for ‘politicising’ both my own loss & Boris Johnson’s condition. They can’t grasp that politicians making political decisions and political choices impact people’s lives. And sometimes ends them. As Jas found out.
Do I wish Johnson dead? No. Do I wish dead his selfish and greedy supporters and voters? Those who were perfectly happy to ignore the systematic destruction of the NHS while they were all right Jack? Again, no.
My sympathy, however, remains with the terrified & heartbroken victims of this crisis. The appalling & callous mishandling of which is unavoidably the responsibility of Boris Johnson.”
We must consider the real victims throughout this crisis and recognise that those who continue to suffer as a direct result of the Conservative government’s policies do not owe Johnson their sympathy.
‘They can’t grasp that politicians making political decisions and political choices impact people’s lives.’
With Johnson’s biggest supporters now hypocritically moralising, Harry’s words ring true: ‘They can’t grasp that politicians making political decisions and political choices impact people’s lives.’
Express your sympathy towards the Prime Minister if that’s how you feel but do not condemn those who cannot.