As Sir Patrick recounted in his diary entries, he expressed frustration with the former prime minister but acknowledged that this was not a unique issue for Mr Johnson. Many scientific advisers across the globe were facing similar challenges in explaining complex concepts to politicians. In fact, during a meeting with European scientific advisers, everyone laughed when it was revealed that one leader was struggling with exponential curves. This difficulty was not limited to Mr Johnson alone and affected many other countries as well.
During his testimony to the inquiry, Sir Patrick mentioned that the prime minister had given up science at a young age and struggled with certain concepts. This is evident from diary entries from September 20, 2020, where Mr Johnson wondered if “we are licked as a species” before imposing another lockdown. These entries provide insight into the challenges faced by scientific advisers in communicating complex ideas to politicians and the difficulties leaders like Mr Johnson encountered in understanding such concepts.
Overall, Sir Patrick’s diary entries highlight the importance of communication between scientists and politicians and underscore the need for effective translators who can bridge the gap between these two groups.