Boris Johnson got 'all the big calls' wrong on Russia and now we are paying the price
Successive Conservative governments embraced Russian money, while downplaying the threat from Putin.
“We've got all the big calls right,” Boris Johnson said last month, as he prepared to roll back England’s last remaining Covid restrictions.
Johnson’s boast is impossible to justify. More than 160,000 people have died with Covid in the UK and we have suffered the largest slump of any major world economy.
And while the British people responded well to the crisis - with high take-up of vaccines and high compliance with lockdown restrictions - the same can not be said of Johnson’s government.
While the British people locked down, Downing Street partied it up - engaging in a near constant series of illegal gatherings.
Now with the two-year Covid crisis finally starting to abate, Johnson is turning his attention to a potentially even larger crisis in Ukraine.
And just as with the pandemic, he is once again claiming to have got “all the big calls right”.
Speaking to the nation on Thursday, Johnson said that “all our worst fears have now come true and all our warnings have proved tragically accurate.”
And yet far from being ahead of the curve on Russia, Johnson has instead consistently played down the threat from Putin, while taking steps that have made the current crisis even harder to respond to.
Whether it’s the Conservative Party’s dependence on Russian donors, the government’s complicity in creating the London “laundromat” for Russian wealth, or his reluctance to see the threat from Putin, Johnson has at every turn got the big calls wrong.
Here’s how the Prime Minister helped lead us into the current crisis.