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The Guardian view on Boris Johnson’s mutant virus plan: needs more than PR | Editorial

The prime minister aims to be credible rather than accountable in a time of Covid. That’s a mistake

It was during the Vietnam war that the euphemism “credibility gap” was coined to describe the Lyndon Johnson administration. The phrase was used instead of saying what everyone thought – that the US government was systematically lying. The president’s team reasoned that to restore “credibility”, the answer was not to stop lying but to improve public relations. Fast forward a few decades and swap London with Washington, and another Johnson government is attempting the same trick.

On Tuesday, the UK recorded 60,916 new positive coronavirus cases and 830 deaths. In England, one in 50 had coronavirus in a week. Boris Johnson’s response was to restart daily Covid updates so that he can push the government’s narrative that this country is in a frantic race between the vaccine and the virus. In short, this will be a contest between injections and infections. This plays to the idea that perceptions matter more than facts.

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