Tom Curtin Cartoon Boris 5 June

Handling a crisis Boris style.

June 5th, 2023

Love him or loathe him, I have to admire the way the current crisis enveloping the UK government is being handled by the former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

My advice on a crisis is to come clean totally at the earliest opportunity. That’s exactly what the government hasn’t done and what Johnson has done.

The government set up an inquiry into the Covid pandemic which hasn’t even begun – even though the bill is already approaching £100 million. One of its key findings will be about decision-making.

One of the main means of communication by politicians and senior government officials during the pandemic was WhatsApp and it is clear that many of the messages were never meant to be made public.

Naturally these are the ones we all want to see. It’s sort of OK! and HELLO! on speed.

We already got an appetiser thanks to the disgraced former Minister, Matt Hancock, who employed a journalist to ghost-write a book about his side of the story and gave her access to his 100,000 WhatsApp messages.

You can guess what happened. The leopard doesn’t change its spots and a few months later she revealed the lot – especially the bits that weren’t in the book – to a delighted public.

Johnson claims that he has already handed over everything with redactions and that it is the Office of the Prime Minister which is not revealing them. (n.b.: redactions are when words are blacked out) Censored in other words. So the Chair of the Inquiry is taking the Prime Minister to Court to get her hands on WhatsApp messages.

This is a ridiculous position – the government suing the government and the taxpayer (me) is footing the bill.

Personally I have no time for Johnson or his behaviour during Covid. Although I sat beside him at a media lunch about 30 years ago when we were both journalists and I have to say he was charming and entertaining company.

But that does not excuse his behaviour during Covid where he clearly flouted the rules he had put in place on lockdown.

However, his actions in handing over everything in an unedited form are exactly the right thing to do. No cover-up.

And he has another happy crisis on the horizon – at 58, he is about to become a father for the umpteenth time (no one knows the number exactly but it’s at least six so far.). Whatever he’s on, I’ll have some of it.

Have a good week


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