Professor Kevin Theakston co-authors article in The Conversation about the government Covid-19 crisis narrative

The article discusses how Boris Johnson and his government will position the crisis narrative for the pandemic and the importance of framing it correctly to manage the political consequences.

The article emphasises that narrative framing is “particularly central to determining whether or not a crisis ends up being widely perceived as emblematic of deep-rooted problems with the existing political order”. However, the question up for debate is “how Johnson can frame the coronavirus crisis so as to minimise its impact on his governing agenda”, which the article proceeds to discuss. 

Professor Theakston and his co-authors claim that “a successful strategy would frame the crisis as something that happened to the government rather than something the government caused or exacerbated through inaction, blunders or recklessness. This could partly be achieved by focusing attention on the global nature of the problem”. 

The Prime Minister is already facing criticism from Keir Starmer, Labour party leader, and it is anticipated that Starmer will continue to focus attention on the potential mistakes made by the Conservative government over the coming months. Starmer is raising questions about the speed at which crucial decisions were made, for example, imposing lockdown, carrying out testing and providing adequate personal protective equipment to NHS staff. 

Depending on the success of the narrative framing, it may be the case that there are lasting political changes within Britain. The article expresses that this depends upon if the mistakes are perceived to have been made in the moment or if they are deeply rooted in the priorities of the existing political order. Thus emphasising the importance of framing the crisis narrative effectively. 

Read the full article in The Conversation.