by Martin Odoni

The inevitable faux-outrage of the right wing has landed quickly, has it not? I mean, right wingers trying to seize the moral high ground by getting hot-under-the-collar about people wishing Boris Johnson ill.

BoJob taking it on the chin?

Hey, don’t complain. He was the idiot who used the term in the first place, while deliberately planning to INCREASE the number of people exposed to the virus.

With the news that Johnson was taken into hospital over the weekend, and then yesterday moved into Intensive Care, it is clear that the Prime Minister’s condition is now very serious. Inevitably, many people who have experienced the rough end of Tory policy over the last ten years have got a certain kick out of the news. All of a sudden, right wing journalists like Julia Hartley-Brewer seem to have become the embodiment of compassion for the suffering, as well as the moral champion against distasteful cheering.

Pretty ironic, by the way.

JHB offering an awkward objection

No one can be 100% morally consistent, but when you are as inconsistent in your principles as JHB, it can only be because you only have them when it suits you.

Now, I do genuinely find actual celebrations of Johnson’s illness unpleasant. I am not pleased about Johnson’s plight, and, yes, it does suggest something pretty negative about those who are.

However, at the same time, I am not exactly sorry that Johnson is so ill either. Having had the virus for some weeks myself, and having felt like I was being dragged through a hedge that was in turn being dragged through a combine harvester while it was at its height, I do feel an inevitable pang of sympathy when I hear of anyone who has contracted it. But in Johnson’s case, that pang is brief, because the honest, objective truth is that this is not exactly undeserved. Call it ‘karma’ or ‘natural justice’, call it whatever you like, but the blundering fool brought this misfortune on himself, by not taking the pandemic seriously at the outset, and then choosing to dabble in a virtual eugenics strategy to deal with it.

The irony is that the politician who sought ‘herd-immunity‘ by encouraging the disease to spread more rapidly around the population has now got the very condition he was willing, without pity or hesitation, to inflict on millions of his fellow countrymen. It may never even have crossed Johnson’s mind that he might be one of the people to contract the virus, and one doubts he would have been anything like so enthusiastic about the plan if it had.

Let no one be a hypocrite about this; this irony does have a genuinely amusing flavour, almost of a man playing chess with people’s lives finally getting his comeuppance when his own pawns unite against him. Yes, I do ultimately want Johnson to survive, but I also hope he finally learns a much-needed lesson from the experience, one that every Prime Minister should have learned long before he/she is allowed to enter 10 Downing Street.

Johnson is a man who has always reeked of lacking in human empathy. He has sometimes shown signs of a distasteful ‘class-empathy’ i.e. he feels sorry for his fellow rich people when they are criticised for hoarding their wealth. But if anything sums up his utter contempt for everyone else, it is his handling of the CoVid-19 pandemic. He was not bothered in the slightest by the likelihood of his ‘herd-immunity’ nonsense taking hundreds of thousands of lives, as it almost certainly would have, because he thought it would only affect the lower classes. He just assumed it could not be him, or those like him. So invincible did he see himself that he was cheerfully boasting just weeks ago that he had been shaking hands with Coronavirus patients. He thought he was above the people he was willing to manipulate and sacrifice. It never occurred to him that his ‘innate superiority’ might not offer him any protection from one of nature’s deadliest ‘levellers’ – an at-present incurable disease.

I hope Johnson has now learned that crucial bit of humility that he has always lacked. Specifically, I mean the humility that every person needs to learn; that there is no such thing as ‘innate superiority’, only the blind luck of natural resistance to some challenges, and not to others, be they illnesses or any other type of obstacle life can throw at us.

I also hope Johnson now realises the truly dreadful enormity of what he was originally planning to do to his own population. His current suffering would have been deliberately duplicated across millions of people, of whom hundreds of thousands would have died in fearful agony. If the only way he can come to grasp the needless misery he was prepared to inflict is for him to experience it directly himself, then, yes, there is an upside to him contracting the fever.

Therefore, while I do not wish Johnson dead, I am not actually sorry that he is in intensive care. It might make a better Prime Minister out of him. Although on that score, I will believe it when I see it.