Minju Jung By: Minju Jung
Doctoral Researcher in Politics and International Relations
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08 Apr 2020 : The PM on Sick Leave

Even ten days ago, I would not have expected to feel sympathy for politicians and high-ranking government officers because they are, generally, affluent and well-educated, and so, they are usually at the top of the social ladder. Boris Johnson was no exception - he is well-educated, holds a job as a politician of high profile, enjoys his status as a global celebrity, and receives a huge honorarium. In addition to this, he’s looking forward to two joyful events in his life (his marriage and being a father). His life seems to be too perfect for me to have sympathy for him.

Even, I was not happy with his first daily news briefing on COVID 19. He displayed a passive and torpid attitude in responding to COVID-19 by putting huge responsibilities on individuals rather than on the government (Later, his attitude changed largely because of the public pressure on him caused by increasing deaths from the virus). However, recently, Boris Jonson has had my sympathy since he contracted the corona virus, even before he was taken to the hospital.

Reportedly, he had been continuing to work in self-isolation since he was tested positive for COVID-19. As the head of the government, he led meetings with his team every day. I am not sure whether it was because he did not want to give up, even temporarily, his leadership or because he felt huge responsibilities in dealing with this national emergency. The PM had even sent his self-recorded videos of him to the public, saying some positive words. In these videos, he looked very pale and sick, and had dark-circles around his eyes. This raised sympathy in me for him.

 I am so sorry for Mr Johnson but when I first saw him in that video, I could not suppress a laugh. I could not help but wonder whether his videos would be comforting or not to the public, seeing their political leader look very sick with his dark circles getting thicker by the day. The sickly-looking PM even appeared outside 11 Downing Street to show the media his appearance, joining the "Clap for Carers".

Now, he is in intensive care, and I have sympathy for him, realising that being the head of the government is a very tough job. Even after being hospitalised, he told the public that he is OK, tweeting that “I am in good spirits and keeping in touch with my team” (no one knows who made that tweet though).

The Prime Minister, who was confirmed for the virus, had begun self-isolation since the day after the event of clapping for the key workers. He was admitted to the hospital a few days later to the second "Clap for Carers".

Although in many parts, I do not agree with his policies, I hope he gets better soon. I want to see him, speaking in a big voice and swinging his fist in the air when he emphasises something.

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