Boris Johnson – pandemic actions, inactions and clowning. Two items

These two items help build a coherent picture of the UK prime minister

One - Failures of State: The Inside Story of Britain's Battle with Coronavirus 

By Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnott  

From Waterstones: ‘From Britain’s top investigative journalist duo comes a meticulously researched, shocking exposé of Boris Johnson’s government’s actions – and inaction – in handling the Covid-19 pandemic, saturated with cover-ups, U-turns and political self-interest....'

‘In the eye of the storm was Boris Johnson, a Prime Minister who idolised Winston Churchill and had the chance to become a hero of his own making as the crisis engulfed the nation. Instead he was fixated on Brexit, his own political destiny and a myriad of personal issues, all while presiding over the UK government's botched response to the global coronavirus pandemic.'

‘After missing key Cobra meetings, embracing and abandoning herd immunity and dithering over lockdown, Johnson left the NHS facing an unmanageable deluge of patients. His inaction resulted in the deaths of many thousands of British people and his own hospitalisation at the hands of the pandemic, yet further reckless decisions allowed a deadly second wave to sweep across the country in the autumn months with the economy on the brink of collapse....’

Information about the book here.

Two – In the court of the clown king by Edward Docx

This wonderfully-written article was in the Guardian newspaper on 18/3/2021. I recommend it.
The clown king: how Boris Johnson made it by playing the fool

Extracts: ‘Boris Johnson is the archetypal clown, with his antic posturing and his refusal to take anything seriously. So how did he end up in charge?’

‘Observe classic Johnson closely as he arrives at an event. See how his entire being and bearing is bent towards satire, subversion, mockery. The hair is his clown’s disguise. Just as the makeup and the red nose bestow upon the circus clown a form of anonymity and thus freedom to overturn conventions, so Johnson’s candy-floss mop announces his licence. His clothes are often baggy – ill-fitting; a reminder of the clothes of the clown. He walks towards us quizzically, as if to mock the affected “power walking” of other leaders. Absurdity seems to be wrestling with solemnity in every expression and limb. Notice how he sometimes feigns to lose his way as if to suggest the ridiculousness of the event, the ridiculousness of his presence there, the ridiculousness of any human being going in any direction at all.’

‘You do not have to be a dramatist to recognise the clown archetype immediately. Johnson’s impulsiveness. The self-summoned crises. His attitude to truth, to authority, to every construct of law and art and politics, to power and to pleasure. His personal relationships and his relationship to the public. The self-conscious ungainliness. His blithe conjuring of fantasy and fairytale. The way he toys with norms – inverts, switches, tricks, reverses. The collusive warmth oddly symbiotic with a distancing coldness. Anything for a laugh. Everything preposterous. All of it richly articulate of the antic spirit that animates his being. Indeed, Johnson is an apex-clown – capable of the most sophisticated existential mockery while simultaneously maintaining the low moment-by-moment physical comedy of the buffoon.’

Read the article here.

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