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Boris Johnson’s speech to the United Kingdom on May 10, 2020

Perhaps the most telling detail in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s televised speech to the nation Sunday evening was that he had combed his hair, which helped him take on the air of a serious leader and statesman.

One can only hope that as a result of his recent encounter with the specter of death from Covid-19 and his infection with the novel coronavirus, he has had some kind of epiphany, some kind of Saul-on-the-road-to-Damascas moment, and that he will now undertake in earnest the leadership of the great nation that is the United Kingdom.

Johnson has always had enormous political, intellectual, and oratorical talents, but more often than not these have been frittered away as he has assumed various guises in pursuing his ambition to become prime minister. Now that he has reached that pinnacle, with a resounding victory in the House of Commons, perhaps he can refocus and dedicate himself to becoming the great leader that he has the potential to be.

His speech was enormously impressive. He took the complex issues related to the coronavirus pandemic and its effects firmly in hand, sorted them out, and presented a powerfully cogent case for how Britain (including Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) should proceed, united, in overcoming the huge challenges that lie before it.

He came down squarely on the side of science and reason, stressing that public health must take priority over the easing of social restrictions in seeking a successful path through the crisis.

His speech was powerful, but even more important was the fact that one could glimpse the great leader of Britain that he now is in the position and has the potential to become.

See “UK coronavirus: ‘This is not the time to end the lockdown,’ says Boris Johnson in address to nation – as it happens,” The Guardian, May 10, 2020

The full speech is found here

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