Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson was walking to work through the St. James' Park in London when a parkgoer stopped him and gave him a piece of his mind about the coronavirus lockdown and the government's confusing stance on the same.
A couple of days ago, Johnson tweeted urging all citizens to stay indoors over the weekend despite sources reporting that the lockdown restrictions might be eased from Monday. What confused people further was a second tweet from the Downing Street official handle which said that if people were indeed planning to step out, they should maintain a distance of minimum two metres between each other.
Following this, a flurry of Britons took to the streets and parks. It was one of these parkgoers who encountered Johnson as he headed to work, with a takeaway Costa coffee in hand, and seemingly accosted him.
The Daily Mail reported that the passerby probably stopped Johnson and accused the government of sending mixed signals as far as the lockdown is concerned.
All through, Johnson stood there, coffee in hand, and listened to the passerby who continued speaking for a brief while. A senior journalist pointed out that it is a privilege to be able to do this to the Prime Minister of a country, without having to fear the consequences.
it’s a privilege to live in a country where you can do this to the premier with zero repercussions, don’t ever take it for granted pic.twitter.com/B38ouSE9uB
— Jim Pickard (@PickardJE) May 10, 2020
However, as most Twitter users pointed it out - ideally, the option to speak to your politicians and public representatives should be a right and not a privilege. Politicians and lawmakers shouldn't really be upheld as superior and unapproachable beings, nor should speaking to them be considered a privilege. After all, they are answerable to the general public for each decision that they take. While that is what ideally the dynamics between the government and the public should be, it is not often the case.
the bar is so very very low isn't it — Dr Joan Passey (@JoanPassey) May 10, 2020
I know what you're saying, but I'd say it was a right, not a privilege - and never let them try to take it away.
— Patrick Howse (@Baghdaddi) May 10, 2020
It’s a right, not a privilege. — Anne Irfan (@anne_irfan) May 10, 2020
Err, normal citizens, in Germany, can talk, as long as security and health standards are observed, to all politicians. Why do you think this is something special?
— Leslie Philibert (@PhilibertLeslie) May 10, 2020
But we don't live in an ideal world. And criticism of the head of the state can often land you in trouble, and even get you arrested. Forget about criticizing them in public. For instance, if one compares this to all the times his contemporary, US President Donald Trump was confronted or questioned about his decisions, you'll know what we're talking about. In all his daily briefings, Trump has either attacked the media, gotten defensive and angry when his coronavirus strategies were scrutinized or come up with bizarre (and unscientific) solutions to coronavirus. Some were quick to point out that this was not the situation in other countries.
Here in India, we can't even point finger at local politician — Aisha Shah عائشہ شاہ (@Princy_Aish) May 10, 2020
be nice to live somewhere where you didn't have to.
— Mark Liversedge (@liversedge) May 10, 2020
not for us people in the third world — pkk (@FacuPekerman) May 10, 2020
We are losing this freedom in America as we speak. Haven’t lost it yet...but woe is us if Trump is re-elected.
— Melissa Jo Peltier (@MelissaJPeltier) May 10, 2020