According to Sir Patrick, despite expressing frustration about Boris Johnson’s former prime minister in his diary entries, he clarified that Johnson did not have a unique inability to understand scientific concepts. He stated that scientific advisers in many other countries also encountered similar difficulties in explaining these concepts to politicians. In a meeting with European scientific advisers, they all laughed at the challenges one leader was facing with exponential curves, stating that it was “tripping up every country.”
Sir Patrick also noted that Boris Johnson had given up science at the age of 15 and admitted that it was not his strong suit. He revealed that Johnson struggled with some concepts and required frequent repetition. In separate diary entries, Sir Patrick described how Johnson expressed doubts about humanity’s ability to deal with the pandemic, wondering if “we are licked as a species.”
During a 5-hour meeting with the prime minister, Johnson appeared distressed after attending a memorial service and questioned the effectiveness of measures such as wearing masks. He challenged the numbers and questioned whether they would really result in deaths, expressing skepticism about the exponential spread of the virus. Johnson seemed broken and wondered if the high rate of transmission was due to the libertarian nature of the nation. He expressed his frustration by saying, “Maybe we are licked as a species” and that “we are too s— to get our act together.”
Sir Patrick explained that he wrote a journal during the pandemic as part of his evidence and to maintain inner calm, protect his mental health, and shield his family from the pressures he faced.