John Lanchester, 16 December 2021
It is simple common sense that failing to lock down early enough or hard enough causes a longer, harder lockdown later – a bias towards liberty logically involves earlier lockdown. But that was, and is, too much for many Tories to grasp. ... It isn’t always possible to draw a straight line from someone’s personal life to their public works. Johnson’s private life is his business. But one thing you can say about a man responsible for at least nine pregnancies by at least four different women is that he is prone to wishful thinking. That wishful thinking is the common theme in the government’s failures from spring 2020 to autumn 2020 to now. Johnson doesn’t want certain things to be true, so he acts as if they can be ignored. That strategy has worked for him in domestic politics. It was at the heart of his advocacy for Brexit. But it doesn’t work in economics, and it doesn’t work in dealing with a pandemic.