Prime Minister Boris Johnson is damaged, but the left culture clash could help him
At the beginning of the Corona crisis, Boris Johnson was still brilliant in the polls. It has now sagged deep. The prime minister, who brilliantly won the December election against socialist Jeremy Corbyn and then carried out Brexit, now appears indecisive and fickle given the gravity of the situation. In the Corona crisis, Great Britain climbed to one of the top places on the list of the hardest hit countries in Europe. An alarming number of old people died from the virus in nursing homes, and there was a lack of protective clothing in hospitals. Health Secretary Matt Hancock made anything but a good figure.
Then there was the fact that Johnson’s chief advisor Dominic Cummings was caught making a long drive to his parents’ property after testing positive for Coronavirus despite the lockdown rules. While the citizens would have to adhere to painful Corona regulations, the Prime Minister’s chief advisor felt himself above it, a critical press thundered.
The past two weeks have seen a new blow to the government’s reputation: the school grade fiasco. After months of missed classes, the Ministry of Education had tried a new, “modern” approach of using a computer algorithm to calculate the final grades of students from previous results. That went completely wrong. Hundreds of thousands of students received worse grades than expected leading to indignation from the population, so the government was forced to make a U-turn. Now the teachers – according to their subjective assessment – are to assign the final grades. Even high-ranking Tories doubt whether Education Minister Gavin Williamson will be able to last long.
Meanwhile, the country is groaning under the severe economic crisis that the Virus and lockdown have triggered. Almost all stores had to close for almost three months, and although the economy has recovered somewhat since July, the central bank is still expecting the worst recession in 300 years. It is still unclear whether a free trade agreement with the EU can be signed by the legislated deadline at the end of the year. Johnson’s attempts to announce a “New Deal,” with more investment and accelerated procedures, did not really spark off.
Worst recession in 300 years
Only Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, who initiated billions in spending to combat the recession, is at all popular. The young politician of Indian origin is the favorite in the polls to replace Johnson.
The approval of the Tory party, on the other hand, has fallen from 50 percent at the beginning of the Corona crisis to around 42 percent. Labour under the new, moderate and serious-looking leader Sir Keir Starmer has improved to about 37 percent. In a direct comparison with Johnson, Starmer comes out ahead.
Despite the corona economic crisis, Great Britain still affords the luxury of a culture war initiated by the left. After the “Black Lives Matter” protests and the overthrow of some monuments, the left is systematically trying to target the country’s colonial past. The BBC wanted the patriotic song “Rule, Britannia” with the line “Britons shall never be slaves” not be sung at the “Last Night of the Proms”. “Land of Hope and Glory” was also suddenly frowned upon. That in turn gave rise to a violent backlash. A majority of British people want to sing the patriotic song, and Johnson demanded that these self-flagellations should be stopped. Conservative politician Jacob Rees-Mogg wrote: “Britons must never be enslaved by political correctness.” The BBC meanwhile backpedaled, and “Land of Hope and Glory” and “Rule, Britannia” jumped to the top of the downloaded song charts.