Coronavirus will show us what this government is really made of | John Harris

The challenges of a potential pandemic will test Johnson’s leadership skills like nothing before it – and the early signs aren’t great

Give or take the prime minister’s recent 12-day withdrawal from public life, since his party’s victory at the election the government has largely been trading in performance, rhetoric and intrigue. Running through a great deal of what has happened has been the pantomimic presence of Dominic Cummings, showily quoting the animated kids’ series PJ Masks, stoking this or that controversy, and supposedly working on plans for a great national transformation whose practical details may never arrive.

But all of a sudden, things have rather changed. If the ongoing floods have seemed to leave too many people at the top untroubled, the decisive arrival in the UK of the coronavirus has highlighted two things that were in danger of being forgotten: the most basic responsibilities of any government, and the necessity of seriousness.

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