Scientific advisers in many countries, including the UK, have faced challenges in explaining complex concepts to politicians. Sir Patrick, a former chief scientific adviser to Mr Johnson, expressed frustration with the former prime minister’s difficulty understanding certain scientific concepts in his diary entries. However, he also acknowledged that this was not a unique issue for Mr Johnson.
During a meeting with scientific advisers from across Europe, everyone laughed when it was revealed that one leader was struggling with exponential curves. This difficulty was not limited to Mr Johnson and was affecting many other countries as well.
In 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. According to diary entries from September 20, 2020, Mr Johnson even 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.