Boris Johnson’s handling of the coronavirus crisis has been... interesting, to say the least.
He’s been accused of leaving lockdown too late, coming out of it too quickly and let’s not even get started on the Dominic Cummings fiasco.
Polling indicates his popularity has fallen massively and people think he’s handled the crisis badly. If you're a Boris fan, things could certainly be better.
The latest example of Johnson’s chaotic leadership comes in the form of a major U-turn on free lunch vouchers for children.
It had been announced that, despite the extraordinary circumstances, the government would not be providing £120m of free meal vouchers for Britain’s most vulnerable children during the summer holidays. Critics warned that this would see millions of kids go hungry.
Then footballer Marcus Rashford (but also the Labour Party and charity SCOPE) launched campaigns to overturn the decision.
Rashford’s campaign massively took off and inspired thousands to write to their MPs and tweet the hashtag #MakeTheUTurn. In an honest, open and frank letter that the footballer shared on social media on Monday, he he drew upon his own experiences as a child and the hardships that his mother went through in order to put food on the table for him and his siblings in a single-parent household. His response to the government's decision was one of triumph and unity.
The momentum of Rashford's campaign was unstoppable and shows the impact that one person can make.
During 16 June’s briefing, Johnson was grilled on the U-turn by a journalist in the starkest terms.
ITV’s Daniel Hewitt asked him:
Why did it take a 22 year-old footballer to embarrass you into changing your policy?
Looking a little wounded, Johnson responded:
On the summer foot support scheme I think it is the right thing to do and I do congratulate Marcus Rashford on his campaign. We set out a voucher scheme for the first couple of holidays. Clearly free school meals should apply in term time but we have to understand the pressure families are in now and as I said it’s the right thing to do.
Yes, it is the right thing to do. But the PM still didn’t say why it took a campaign to change him into doing it.