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Boris Johnson Has Made Life Miserable for Poor Families

Boris Johnson Has Made Life Miserable for Poor Families
folder_openSelected Articles access_timeone year ago
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John Harris | The Guardian

I watched Boris Johnson on the news, his mouth flapping, regurgitating those three-word slogans telling us to stay at home – and I believed him. He was locking down the country for our safety, he was looking after the nation, this was his job. What a huge liar our prime minister turned out to be. Even in the country’s highest office, he just couldn’t help himself. He disgusts me.

Now, when I see that mop of unbrushed hair on the news, I switch the channel. I can no longer listen to his grating, braying voice knowing how he betrayed his duty to me as a citizen of this country.

As the summer arrives, I will live Johnson’s legacy. I’m a full-time unpaid carer to my 13-year-old son. We live on universal credit, and have only got poorer under Johnson’s levelling up agenda. There’ll be no summer holiday for us; the idea is almost laughable. There’ll be no nice new clothes for my boy, or treats to while away a summer afternoon. As I carry out the mental gymnastics of making our paltry universal credit payment stretch, any extras like food vouchers or donations get sucked into bills that I have been unable to save for, just so we can live. I am moved to tears as I write this, knowing Johnson will never be forced to face up to the damage that he has done to millions of families like mine.

He has patronized us incessantly, telling us soaring energy prices are an unavoidable result of war – that doesn’t help me when our gas and energy prices have already doubled. He has boasted how he “got Brexit done”. Brexit might have been pushed through, but to whose benefit? What he cobbled together has only made life harder for those living on a fixed income at the most frightening time of our lives. The extra £20 “uplift” in universal credit payments we received during the pandemic, just about the only good thing he oversaw, was snatched away when we needed it most.

And while Boris was partying in May 2020, my sister died, alone, in agony. I spoke to her for the last time the day before, but there were no goodbyes, no last hugs. The morally corrupt man leading the country didn’t even have enough self-respect to come clean about his lies. I will never be able to reconcile that in my heart.

Of all the things Johnson has done, it is the way he speaks about us – the people he is supposed to serve – that disgusts me most. How he brushes away the death of people like my sister as if it was inevitable. It wasn’t. How he vilifies those in working poverty, as if we should work harder or just learn to live on what we are given. That we are the problem, while billions in taxpayers’ money was squandered on shady deals.

My son and I, and millions like us, will pay the price for his game of failures, but who will make him pay?

I am afraid of what he has done that we are yet to see. As he steps away from public view, Johnson’s legacy will continue to be unmasked – and I cannot help but feel the worst is yet to come.