It might have been funny, if it hadn’t been so unnerving. This morning at the Academy of Medical Sciences in London, Sir Patrick Vallance (the Government’s chief scientific adviser) and Chris Whitty (the chief medical officer) held a briefing for journalists. Unfortunately, however, it wasn’t easy to concentrate on what they were saying. Because throughout, a woman kept coughing.
Cough. Cough. Cough. Not continuously, but at intervals of about 30 seconds – while sitting mere feet from the two men leading the country’s battle against coronavirus.
三级成人视频Of course, it may just have been a normal, harmless sort of cough, rather than something more sinister. But I don’t know, because the entire room simply sat there, pretending not to notice – presumably so as not to seem impolite.
So British. If there’s one thing we fear more than a deadly pandemic, it’s the risk of mild social awkwardness.
Later, at his daily news conference, Boris Johnson三级成人视频 attempted to lift the nation’s spirits. “I think we can turn the tide within the next 12 weeks,” the Prime Minister declared.
Frankly, though, it wasn’t clear how he could be so confident – especially as many people were still ignoring his advice to avoid pubs. In some parts of London, Mr Johnson conceded, “People aren’t perhaps following [the advice] in quite the way that we need them to.” But, even so, he remained reluctant to enforce tougher measures. Once again, he was merely “asking” – rather than ordering – the public to stay in.
“I know it’s tough,” he murmured, “but please, please, please follow the advice…”
In the circumstances, his tone seemed remarkably lenient, even apologetic. He sounded almost like a father desperate for his teenage sons not to think him uncool.
Terribly sorry, chaps, he seemed to be saying. I don’t mean to be a bore, but would you mind awfully not spreading a killer virus to countless innocent people? Please? I hate to go on like this, but you know how worked-up your mother gets about the imminent prospect of mass death on an untold scale…
In general, it was a somewhat rambling performance. And never more rambling than at the end, when Mr Johnson abruptly appeared to row back on the confident claim he’d made at the start about “turning the tide in 12 weeks”.
“I cannot stand here and tell you that by the end of June we will be on the downward slope,” said the Prime Minister, frowning. “It’s possible – but I simply can’t say that that’s for certain. Of course not. We don’t know where we are. We don’t know how long this thing will go on for.”
Bemusement reigned. It was as if someone else entirely had made the “12 weeks” claim, and Mr Johnson was now calmly but firmly setting them straight.
I’ve watched a lot of politicians’ debates. But this was the first time I’ve watched a politician debate himself.