Covid Inquiry: Boris Johnson is desperate to save his own skin - but that ship has sailed

The Covid Inquiry was neither the time nor the place for this.
Former prime minister Boris Johnson giving evidence at the UK Covid-19 Inquiry.Former prime minister Boris Johnson giving evidence at the UK Covid-19 Inquiry.
Former prime minister Boris Johnson giving evidence at the UK Covid-19 Inquiry.

Today's Covid Inquiry would have been a masterclass in saving face - if there was a face left to save.

Throughout the course of today (December 6) Boris Johnson has been giving evidence to the inquiry panel, facing questions from Hugo Keith KC. In a move that surprised almost nobody, the former Prime Minister apologised to Covid victims straight away - and then spent the rest of the day defending every single decision he made during the pandemic.

This was not the time for covering your own back - that ship has sailed, and Johnson's odds of ever returning to 10 Downing Street are about the same as me somehow getting the job.

This was the time to co-operate with the inquiry process in full, confess to every mistake that was made and help the country as a whole to prepare for the next Covid-style crisis. Sure, it would have meant falling on your sword as far as a politician is concerned, but at this point it would be far more patriotic to help the future generations of Great Britain.

But that is a concept that would seem foreign to Johnson, who instead seemed to insist that every decision he made was the right one. From not bringing in the first lockdown sooner (despite others suggesting in hindsight that it would have helped) to even claiming that decision-making entities such as Cobra were "hopeless". At every twist and turn of questioning, Johnson took on the guise of a man desperate to save his own skin.

Even WhatsApp messages where he described health secretary Matt Hancock as "f****** useless" were defended, with him saying that this, essentially, came from a place of wanting an "atmosphere of challenge". If you hate your co-workers just say so, but remember that your cabinet was hand-picked by you.

He even insisted that the issues of toxicity in Downing Street were "not put to him". I'd like to think if people's lives were being made a misery under my nose I'd at least get an inclincation that something might be wrong, but that seems to have eluded the former Prime Minister at the time.

Tomorrow, Johnson will be back on the stand for a second day. If he carries on as he did today, I imagine a career in dodgeball won't be too far away...

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