Boris Johnson has chosen next Monday to be “Freedom Day”, a day of freedom on which all corona restrictions will fall, at least in England. The Prime Minister promises a return to normal, irrevocably. But given the rapid rise in the number of new infections, an incidence well over 300, and a viral variant that is increasingly spreading in Europe, one might wonder: why is Johnson not waiting. not a little longer with the grand opening? Why not continue to vaccinate until 80% of adults have received their second dose? So why this rush now of all time?
Some in the UK have a clear answer to this: because of the economy. Well, it’s not that simple. Of course, there are companies that are suffering massively from the effects of the Corona measures, so one only has to drive to Heathrow to see that there is an airport there that was probably in its prime. And of course, there are pub owners who want their store to be really full again. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a pint at the bar without having to be careful not to get too close to the person opposite.
But anyone who thinks Johnson is driven by the wishes of the economy alone should remember that in his time as Foreign Secretary he dismissed the demands of anti-Brexit contractors with a now legendary phrase and here rather no translated: fuck business. As Prime Minister he probably wouldn’t say that anymore, but it can be assumed that Johnson will continue to make his decisions as he always made them: if they are of any political benefit to him.
In the case of Operation Freedom Day, it is above all the deputies of the lower house of his conservative party who urge him to abolish the Corona measures once and for all. A majority of Conservatives in parliament would likely not agree to a further extension of restrictions. Many point out that the number of hospital admissions and deaths has remained relatively low, despite the high number of new infections.
If Johnson wants to know what the majority of his party colleagues think, all he needs to do is read a libertarian editorial or two in the Telegraph or the Spectator. The Prime Minister worked for both newspapers. If he wrote columns today, we could bet on what he would ask of a Prime Minister in this situation: freedom, and now!