The New York Times didn’t show much Christmas spirit when it likened the sudden stringent new Christmas-season corona restrictions put in place by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Brexit. The paper has always been hostile to both Brexit (the 2016 popular vote that called for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union) and conservative party leader Boris Johnson.
Reporters Benjamin Mueller and Isabella Kwai sounded like vengeful lefties in Tuesday’s story piling on to Britain’s Christmas-time woes: “As Borders Are Sealed Over Virus Fears, a Taste of Looming Brexit.” The combo of Boris-Brexit-loathing with repellent gloating over the country’s coronavirus woes made for a truly toxic take.
Christmas plans were canceled. Many flights off the island were stopped. And lawmakers called for cultivating new plots of land to shore up the nation’s food supply, conjuring images of plates full of root vegetables.
Britain, christened not long ago by a pro-Brexit lawmaker as “Treasure Island” for the riches it offers, earned another moniker on Monday as a new variant of the coronavirus ripped through the country and set off blockades at its borders: Plague Island.
Mueller and Kwai leaned hard on Brexit as a metaphor for the coronavirus pandemic.
And they lamented having to grapple with a new and potentially more transmissible variant of the virus even as they steeled themselves for the looming chaos of the country’s split with the European Union in 10 days.
Still, for Britons who were already girding for the country to finalize its messy divorce from the European Union on Dec. 31, the sudden sense of being cut adrift from the bloc -- and from the world at large -- felt like a bitter taste of what might be to come.
And while Britain and France were taking steps on Monday to minimize threats to the food supply -- about a quarter of all the food eaten in Britain is produced in the European Union -- many people in Britain saw the travel ban and port closures as their worst fears about their country’s post-Brexit fate come true.
And sooner than expected.
“Psychologically for me, there was already that barrier in place because of Brexit,” said Russell Hazel, who was ill with the virus for seven weeks earlier this year....
The reporters blamed Boris by assuming that Johnson’s early dithering and the country’s later return to restaurant dining spread the virus.
For their troubles, Britons largely blamed Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
After locking down Britain later than other European countries in the spring, a decision that led to one of Europe’s highest per capita death rates from the virus, Mr. Johnson’s government encouraged people over the summer to return to their offices. It even subsidized meals out at restaurants.
That helped set the stage for a resurgence of the virus.
Both Johnson and the Brexit movement he spearheaded are to blame for the U.K’s new, mutated virus strain, or something:
But some Britons said the cascading travel bans were partly the price Britain paid for its yearslong effort to separate from the European Union.
“If you ask for Brexit, this is what you get,” said Suraya Klein-Smith, as she waited in line at a butcher on Monday. “Why should the Europeans have any sort of empathy or deals for us?”
Liberal puritanism reigned throughout the story:
Some Londoners said the worries over the new variant had only confirmed what they already knew: People had been socializing far too much lately to make trips home for Christmas safe.