When Boris Johnson won the election in December, most people I knew felt relief to see the end of Brexit deadlock, but few of us saw him as true leader. He certainly wasn’t anyone to get worked up over; he was no Churchill, however badly he wanted to be, nor was he a Bill Clinton-style dreamboat. He was a not-so-lean, mean Brexit machine and good luck to him.
三级成人视频Now we could move on to the next thing. But that was then. The long and tiresome battle over the referendum outcome, with an uninspiring Mrs May in charge and a ghastly loony lefty leading the Opposition, had made us blasé and cynical about leadership, especially the political kind. What exactly was there to be led on anyway in such a complex, atomised world, seemingly motored by the contortions and extremes of Twitter? It all felt a bit like we were post-leadership, and certainly post- anything as naïve-sounding as having actual faith in a leader. As with everything, coronavirus changed all that.
Last week showed just how clearly, indeed passionately, we still need leaders – and how willing and capable we are of publicly cherishing and taking strength from those we have. News of the prime minister’s decline and admittance to hospital on Sunday night triggered the kind of mass concern I’d never have imagined our cynical society was still capable of. This culminated in the #ClapforBoris hashtag that trended on Tuesday, urging people to fling open their windows that night and clap for him in his hospital bed, echoing the regular Thursday night applause for the NHS. In a remarkable political cease-fire, people were encouraged to clap “whatever your political views are”.
Memes went round social media calling Boris a hero; friends on social media, including some of the most irreverent, began “praying” for the PM. “Pray for the Prime Minister,” wrote a very cheeky ex-boyfriend of mine in a never-before-seen public gush of sincerity. “He is in the very best of London hospitals in the very best of hands. Keep faith in science, medicine and kindness.” Darren Grimes, a conservative commentator, tweeted “Boris is a hero. He was told he could never win London – he did – twice. He was told he couldn’t secure Brexit – he did – big. He was told he couldn’t win a general election – he did, turning seats always red – blue. He’s a real fighter and will beat this. Godspeed, Boris.”
三级成人视频He drew some predictable venom from Remainers, but with 13.8 thousand likes, many commenters simply agreed. Labour die-hards who have sought to turn Boris’s physical peril into an opportunity for jeering have been ring-fenced as nasty at best, psychopathic at worst. My Facebook feed was full of people across the political spectrum warning that if any of their social media friends rejoiced publicly in the prospect of the PM’s demise, that friendship would immediately become null and void.
Few of my friends are fully paid-up Tories; I haven’t drunk the Party koolaid either. But as the bulletins came in, we pinged anxious messages back and forth, exchanged links and info on rates of recovery from intensive care, and discussed in grave tones Boris’s rotund build – which is bad for Covid-19 outcomes. This was genuine concern rather than simple shocked bystandery – in the era BC (before corona), my friends and I might well have regarded with fascination, but not emotion, a prime minister needing critical care.
For all the flaws in the government’s approach to this crisis, the realisation that Boris is the leader we want and need to get us through this hit hard. A number of friends reported being unable to sleep on Monday night they were so worried about him; terrified they’d wake up to a dismal shock. It’s hard to imagine responses like this in recent memory. And nobody warmed to the idea of a government run by Dominic Raab, the PM’s stand-in: it became clear no-one but Boris would do.
Boris was taken to hospital on Sunday night. That night the Queen gave one of her rare addresses, just one of five in her 68-year reign outside of her normal Christmas speech. Already panicking and upset about the PM’s perilous health, the fear of the (at-best) short term void left by his incapacity sent us with almost frenetic urgency to seek comfort in Her Majesty’s short speech. It delivered, and millions around the world– even in Republican France – admired our reigning pillar of all that is civilised and good.
T三级成人视频he Queen’s address managed to be both subtle and inspiring, reminding us that we should be proud of ourselves in the here and now. Plucky Britain is not just a myth of the War, “it defines our present and our future,” she said. This was the meta-leadership of the very best monarch. As one friend on Facebook put it: “No virtue signaling…banging on about diversity and metoo and victimhood and intersectionality ... Just dignified words and duty from the Queen.”
Hear hear. Between the Queen and Boris, last week showed that we have re-entered an age in which we not only need but are capable of loving our best leaders. The dreary cynicism of the Theresa May era feels aeons ago. It has taken the cataclysm of the pandemic, combined with its terrifying effect on the PM, to show that the compact between voter, nation and leader has for the moment been restored.