We didn’t feel much like writing The Word from Westminster this week. We try to analyse the political world in a slightly sideways, occasionally acerbic way. We gently mock politicians, and mostly they deserve it. But none of that feels right at the moment.
In the UK alone, nearly one thousand people are dying each day from COVID-19. A 9/11, every three days, in this country alone. Nine million people have been put on ‘furlough leave’ with all of the uncertainty and anxiety that it is bound to generate. And for everyone else there is lockdown. For some, staying at home is tolerable. But for many others, living in over-crowded or sub-standard homes, or with difficult domestic circumstances, is horrible.
On top of all that, our Prime Minister is in intensive care. Of course Boris Johnson is just one person amongst a blizzard of COVID-induced misery. But whether we voted for him or not, he is our Prime Minister and most people feel they know him somehow. They certainly look to him for leadership. Which is why Johnson’s illness, afflicting someone who otherwise seemed in good health, and has always come across so larger-than-life, feels so unsettling to people. Needless to say, we wish him well in his recovery. The country needs its Prime Minister right now, and we dearly hope ours is back in Downing Street as soon as possible.
Finally, I just want to share a story of another person whose life is being afflicted by the hell of this pandemic. When I founded Field, I did so with the help of a number of friends who gave me the ideas, the encouragement and the confidence to start the company. With one of those, Robert Phillips, I sat down over breakfast and mapped out a business plan on the back of a restaurant place-mat – which I keep to this day. Today, Robert is one of many people who are seriously ill with other conditions, whose life-saving treatment has been put on pause due to the coronavirus. Robert has written about his experience and I urge you all to read his brilliant and moving piece, which can be found here.
This is a time like no other, for all of us. Please take care, everyone, and stay at home.