Philip Evans: My Isolation Diary – Day 21 (Tuesday, April 7 2020)
WE were half-way through Neville Causley’s brilliant virtual quiz last night, taking our minds off the coronavirus crisis, having plenty of fun aided by a couple of cocktails, when suddenly a news flash pinged onto my mobile phone saying Boris Johnson had been put into intensive care.
Immediately, I had that nauseating feeling in my stomach when you hear news of cataclysmic importance. It took several seconds to take it in.
For me, the quiz was over. I couldn’t focus on it any more and could not wait for the Ten O’clock News, followed by Newsnight, to see how seriously ill Boris was and what will happen now that he has been forced to hand the reigns to First Minister of State, Dominic Raab.
In a way, I was not completely surprised to hear that Boris’ condition had deteriorated so quickly as the journalists attending the No 10 briefing earlier in the day had clearly got wind of it. Question after question concerning the state of the PM’s health and each time they were given the same answer.
Rabb didn’t look a happy man when he closed his briefing folder and marched out of the room, no doubt thinking “thank Christ that is over”.
I’m not a huge admirer of Boris Johnson. I met him a couple of times when he wrote a weekly column for me when I edited a group of newspapers, when he was the Mayor of London.
He has huge charisma, exudes confidence and is highly intelligent, a far cry from the bumbling fool as he is so often portrayed. But would I trust him? I’m not so sure.
But, as I have said in previous diary entries, I think he has been doing a good job up until he was taken ill and his approval ratings had soared to 54 per cent.
Whether he can maintain that will depend on his ability to fight off the disease and get back to work, but that could be several weeks.
The ability of his government to recover from the lack of tests and protective clothing could define Boris’ ultimate future and now there’s also the spotlight falling on an exit strategy, which his lieutenants seem unwilling to address whilst deaths are still increasing.
As soon as it was announced his condition had worsened, those who have no morale compass at all couldn’t wait to get onto Facebook to wish him ill. Those who are unable to divorce their political views from a sense of common decency. But there was an avalanche of goodwill messages as well.
The fact is that Boris Johnson is a son, brother, father and father-to-be – and he’s leader of this country whether you like him or not. And he was put in that position by a huge majority.
I’d hate to think what position we would be in if the government was being led by Jeremy Corbyn, Dianne Abbot and Emily Thornberry et al. Thank goodness the Labour party has seen sense to put a man of Sir Keir Starmer’s intelligence in charge so we can look forward to greater co-operation between the two leading parties during this crisis in a demonstration of national unity.
There is always the garden…
My apologies for the late posting yesterday of my Day 20 Isolation Diary, due to hitting a slight legal issue over getting the right interpretation of the distressing news that the two Mark Hix businesses in Lyme Regis had gone into administration.
The full story on this now appears in the news section of this website, but I was pleased to see the tribute I paid to Mark for all he has done for Lyme in yesterday’s diary received hundreds of views, and generated dozens of messages of support for Mark on social media.
Back to more enjoyable matters. The Causley’s virtual quiz last evening attracted a huge number of entries, a number from overseas, and as well as setting some fiendishly difficult questions we were also treated to a karaoke version of ‘You’re The One That I Want’ from ‘Grease’, mimed by Sarah and Neville during the interval. Nev, don’t give up the day job!
Day 21 of my isolation has been another glorious one, probably the warmest so far. Out on our daily exercise, Jackie commented that walking along the seafront was almost like film set – quite surreal.
And now for an afternoon in the garden. Who was it who said: “When the world wearies and society fails to satisfy, there is always the garden.”
In or out of the garden, stay safe – and positive.