On 9 December, ITV journalist Joe Pike confronted Boris Johnson with an image that has shocked the nation. Johnson’s reaction was, even by his standards, appalling. In fact, this should be the defining moment that costs him the election.
“He just doesn’t care”
Pike tried to show Johnson an image of four-year-old Jack Williment-Barr. As the Yorkshire Evening Post reported, he was forced to sleep on the floor of Leeds General Infirmary A&E because there weren’t enough beds.
His mother shared a photo of Jack wearing an oxygen mask and trying to sleep on a pile of coats. The Mirror picked this up to run as a front-page story:
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) December 8, 2019
This is the image Pike tried to show Johnson, saying:
This is a four-year-old boy, prime minister, suspected of pneumonia, forced to lie on the floor on a pile of coats.
Refusing to look at the picture, Johnson gave a withering faux apology and returned to his one and only script of this election. A mish-mash of “investment” and now debunked figures about increased police and hospital numbers. Pike pushed further asking:
I’m talking about this boy… How do you feel looking at that photo?
Still refusing, Johnson said he ‘hadn’t had a chance’ and would “study it” later. Pike asked him to “look at it now”. He wouldn’t. Instead, he took Pike’s phone and put it in his pocket. Pike pointed this out and said:
His [Jack’s] mother says the NHS is in crisis. What’s your response?
Johnson finally looked. But it was too little too late.
Tried to show @BorisJohnson the picture of Jack Williment-Barr. The 4-year-old with suspected pneumonia forced to lie on a pile of coats on the floor of a Leeds hospital.
— Joe Pike (@joepike) December 9, 2019
It only took Jeremy Corbyn four words to sum up Johnson:
He just doesn't care. https://t.co/eENiLf2jGO
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) December 9, 2019
Not fit to govern
This moment defines the entire legacy of the past nine years of Conservative-led governments. Our NHS is at breaking point. As Jack’s mother told the Yorkshire Evening Post, although hospital staff were “all as helpful as they could be”:
there simply aren’t enough beds to cope with the high level of demand…
The NHS is in crisis…
He spent eight and a half hours in A&E, more than twice the required waiting time which is normally four hours.
Jack wasn’t provided with a bed on a ward until 13 and a half hours later.
Yet when confronted with an image of this crisis, the man who claims he’s fit to govern wouldn’t even look. That should tell voters everything they need to know on 12 December.
Featured image via Twitter – Joe Pike
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?