Boris Johnson's claim that England's coronavirus response is a 'massive success' will not hide the …

If Boris Johnson thinks that England having the highest Covid-19 death rate in Europe is a “massive success”, it would be interesting to know what might count as a massive failure. No-deal Brexit? The sharpest recession in three centuries? A decade-long economic slump? Perish the thought.

In normal circumstances, the Johnsonian tactic of doubling-down, blustering and moving swiftly away from the microphone serves him and his style of content-free politics well. He must be grateful that parliament is on holiday and he doesn’t have to face Keir Starmer across the dispatch box. Johnson has no one right now in a position to make him squirm.

Yet this is no normal time, but a grim period of grief and mourning for those who have lost loved ones too soon to this virus. It is in poor taste, at best, for the prime minister, supposedly a leader intent on unifying the country, to pretend that this is some sort of triumph that everyone can congratulate themselves on, and give good old Johnson a pat on the back. At worst, it is an insult to the memory of the tens of thousands of excess deaths in England in the first half of the year.

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