So, the Conservative authorities is using excessive. Mr. Johnson’s approval scores, 29 factors under the opposition Labour Occasion chief’s in September, at the moment are 10 factors forward, and his social gathering is stretching its lead within the polls.
The E.U.’s travails have solely sweetened the Conservative Occasion’s success. For a authorities that was elected on the finish of 2019 to “Get Brexit Performed,” and a rustic that formally left the E.U. simply a few months earlier than recording its first circumstances of Covid-19, Britain’s comparative pace has performed completely into the Brexiteers’ caricature of a clumsy and inefficient bloc. In a single fraught trade, wherein the E.U. threatened to dam vaccines destined for Britain, solely to again down after which falsely declare the vaccine wasn’t notably efficient anyway, it additionally surrendered any ethical excessive floor that remained. A number one liberal German newspaper, Die Welt, known as its actions “the perfect advert for Brexit.”
Conservatives have inspired Britons to make the identical connection. Matt Hancock, the well being secretary, claimed that Britain’s regulatory pace was “due to Brexit” (the regulator denied this), and David Davis, the previous Brexit secretary, was even blunter: “In case you needed a single demonstration of why Brexit was vital, you’ve received it.”
Given Britain’s excessive loss of life toll, and the worst recession within the Group of seven, Brexiteers may hope for a greater demonstration of their trigger. Even now we’re persevering with in one of many longest and strictest nationwide lockdowns in Europe (solely after March 8 will we be allowed to satisfy somebody outdoors for a “espresso or a picnic” in England). Nevertheless it’s simple to see how due to the vaccine, the nightmare of the pandemic will likely be absorbed into their favourite Churchillian fantasy: as one more check of nationwide resolve the place the nation stood alone, endured, suffered and finally led the way in which out of the darkness.
The pandemic has proved helpful in different methods, too, by holding public consideration off the fast issues attributable to Brexit, like disrupted provide chains and shortages in supermarkets, and making the financial penalties of Brexit much less seen, even when these will last more.
Mr. Johnson is thought for his Teflon qualities, and the pandemic might show to be the definitive case. His errors have been blatant, repetitive and dear, however a triumphant vaccine rollout has put a spring in his step.
After an annus horribilis, Mr. Johnson is having fun with his best hour — and he will likely be laborious to cease.