The Nation is stunned this morning by the news that the PM has been moved into an Intensive Care Unit bed in St Thomas’s Hospital. We should be clear. ICU beds are in very short supply, and you don’t get one unless you are seriously ill. He has been given Oxygen, but so far as we know at this stage he is not on ventilation.
This is serious news on a whole variety of levels. It will be deeply unpleasant for Boris himself. It will of course be desperately worrying for his family. We think especially of Carrie who has had symptoms herself, and who is of course expecting their child. What a terrible time for them all.
It’s a worry for the Nation too. We know that he is but ‘First Amongst Equals’; but he is a powerful figurehead. It is he who takes the ultimate decisions and gives direction and energy to the government- both Ministers and civil servants. He is the strong man to whom the whole government looks. I am sure that Dominic Raab, Michael Gove, Rishi Sunak and the whole team will carry on doing a great job. And the Government has been split into four ‘cells’ exactly so that it can be guaranteed to continue no matter what happens to any individual. So I have absolutely no worries whatsoever that the Government of Britain will plough ahead fighting this terrible virus no matter what happens at the top of it. (And never forget that Churchill was critically ill for part of the Second World War.)
Boris has had a turbulent 12 months. This time last year he was a backbencher with his career behind him. Since then he went through the bruising leadership battle; won a magnificent victory in the General Election; carried out his promise to ‘Get Brexit Done’ and established a strong and dynamic government pressing ahead with a wide variety of novel policies. To be struck down in this way is ironic after a most powerful and successful year. But perhaps the two are not unconnected. I know Boris very well. (Inter alia I was his first whip when elected in 2001). And I know of his massive personal energy and dynamism. He is a workaholic, and can well be argued to have sacrificed his own health in support of the Nation.
So no matter what your political opinions; no matter what your personal view of Boris Johnson, I know that you will join with me and the whole Nation in wishing him God speed to a full recovery to his robust best health.
Get well soon, Boris. We are all with you.
We will look back on these terrible days for the rest of our lives. We will recount tales of the privations, the sadness, the challenges and the warmth we experience during the great Plague of 2020, which the history books will record just as surely as that which afflicted the Israelis under Moses, the Black Death of 1348 and the Great Plague and Fire of London in 1666.
We will remember the terrifying speed with which the virus came from nowhere; the appalling deaths, especially in...
Whose heart would not swell with pride at the 450,000 people who have volunteered their time, their energy and to a degree their safety, by signing up to become NHS volunteers. There is just something very British about it. We are not going to be cowed by this monster. We will all do our little bit- whether driving medicines for patients, phoning up the lonely or vulnerable, or helping in a thousand little ways- we will beat this great black vulture-like vampire which is hovering over us....
One thing we Brits are rather good at is volunteering at a time of crisis. We normally stare at the floor in the Underground; but the moment that something goes wrong, we magically start speaking to each other and working together for the common good. That was demonstrated in spades in the Second World War, and now is another time just like it.
All the reports indicate that we are facing some very tough times indeed (although let’s hope that its less bad in...
On the advice of officials I have decided to stop holding face-to-face advice surgeries to try to contain the spread of COVID-19. I will, however, still be very much available to assist with any constituency concerns or queries. Simply fill in the ‘Contact James’ form on this website, or send me an email at
© 2019 Promoted by Nick Botterill, on behalf of James Gray, both of North Wiltshire Conservatives, 12 Brown Street, Salisbury SP1 1HE.