By Katie Perrior, former Director of Communications at No
CORONAVIRUS will test every nerve and sinew in the PM’s body. .
This is Boris Johnson’s Churchill moment – but he faces a hidden enemy.
It is the ultimate test for a man who always wanted the top job.
He will be relishing the chance to lead, while dreading what each day will bring. There is no escaping the fact his leadership credentials are at stake.
It is a scientific and political judgement to let the virus run its course. There will be comparisons to other countries, particularly those on lockdown.
It takes guts and leadership to follow your own course. Boris is ensuring that in a crisis where we know so little, those who know the most should lead.
What would people rather he did? Follow the shrill self-appointed experts and fantasists on social media? Other countries may be implementing measures purely for political reasons.
School closures seem unnecessary. Kids will be dumped at Grandma’s house, one of the most vulnerable groups. Parents working in public services will not be able to work.
Boris knows it is of paramount importance to prevent the NHS from collapse if we have any chance of saving as many lives as possible.
It’s right that we question the decisions being made. That’s what freedom of speech and a free Press are all about.
But these decisions are not taken lightly. It will be a long time before we know whether the UK’s approach – keeping a stiff upper lip and looking out for those around us – was right.
But we all have to accept that we are dealing with a pandemic: we cannot stop it, just try to slow its progress.
Even his time as Mayor of London cannot have prepared Boris for the mammoth task he faces now.
Boris the joker is nowhere to be seen, and rightly so. Instead, we’ve seen a PM of fierce intelligence, able to get his head around the most complex issues and take bold decisions.
Donald Trump’s refusal to take responsibility is causing fear and uncertainty. It doesn’t bear thinking how Jeremy Corbyn might have reacted.
I’m relieved Boris is PM during the worst health crisis for a generation.
A national crisis calls for unity from both the public and politicians.
The PM will have pored over every word. The seriousness of his comments about the possibility of people losing loved ones will not be lost on him.
If we face this together, we will get through as we always have in the past.
Katie Perrior was Director of Communications at No and ran the PR for Boris Johnson’s mayoral campaigns.
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