Boris Johnson gave another press conference on Monday evening amid the growing concerns over the new strain of coronavirus and the huge queue or lorries seen outside the port of Dover after travelling to Europe was temporarily banned.
The unrest and distress that the government's announcement on Saturday that London and the southeast was to be put into tier 4 restrictions and families who didn’t live together would now be only allowed to mix on Christmas Day has caused many to ask why the prime minister was still stating as late as last Wednesday that Christmas was not going to be ‘cancelled.’
This is just one of many things that Johnson has promised this year only to dramatically u-turn on. During Monday’s press conference the prime minister was asked by Pippa Crerar, the political editor of the Daily Mirror why he has gotten into this habit of making unrealistic pledges during the pandemic.
“Throughout this pandemic you have frequently overpromised and underdelivered, whether it’s ‘turning the tide in 12 weeks’, ‘a second lockdown being a disaster’ or ‘cancelling Christmas being inhumane’".
"It’s become a pattern that we’re increasingly familiar with. Why do you keep doing it? Do you recognise that it creates public confusion and, crucially, erodes public confidence?”
In reply, Johnson didn’t exactly address the question, which is understandable and instead went on to make another promise about life starting to return to normal by Easter. "I think you have to imagine a counterfactual world in which we’d kept the country in some kind of perpetual lockdown or kept kids out of school for the best part of a year. And that would have been really disastrous. I think it’s been very important to keep moving forward as far as we possibly could. I think that’s the right thing to do."
“Now that we’ve got the vaccine coming in the way that we have. I think we can certainly look forward to a very, very different world in this country, from Easter onwards as I think Chris and Patrick have said before."
And it’s very important, not just for people’s morale, but it’s totally realistic, that we have every reason to be extremely hopeful about this country’s ability to bounce back next year from Covid. And I think that’s the right thing to say then and now.”
Crerar did stress her question but was met with a similar answer from the prime minister.
Johnson’s avoidance of the question and him making another promise did not go unnoticed by those who were watching.