Boris Johnson and the UK Government have been walking a tightrope since the coronavirus pandemic started.
On one side, you have people taking the virus seriously, wanting to do all that is necessary in order to save lives. That means listening to scientists, adhering to distancing rules and finding new ways of living life.
The other team wants to focus on the economy and the value of living life. They listen to economists over scientists, backing the need to get back to work and return to the world that they used to know. While this may come across as the selfish route, financial challenges and mental health spikes do support the possibility of finding a different approach to lockdowns going forward. Finding a balance has been tough for the Prime Minister.
Johnson had been limping through this crisis with a series of half-measures. The first lockdown, in March, wasn't as long or as strict as Germany's. Coming out of lockdown at a similar time to the Germans looked like Johnson was simply trying to hold onto the coattails of Angela Merkel having not laid the groundwork for a sensible transition.
He opened up the country too quickly, trying to keep up with more strategic European neighbours. Rishi Sunak's "Eat Out to Help Out" scheme won't age well, with data suggesting that the measure instigated a spike in Covid-19 cases, as reported by The Independent. Again, however, both sides were left frustrated with the Government.
Many people called for a second lockdown, including Labour leader Keir Starmer, in a bid to curb the spread of the disease and prevent the NHS from being overworked. A YouGov poll showed that a majority would have been in favour of Starmer's two-week "circuit breaker" last month. However, the wording of a circuit breaker could have influenced opinion with some not understanding that it was essentially a second lockdown.
The laughable tiered system was the ultimate fence sitter. It was a structure that was riddled with flaws that both sides of the argument could latch upon.
Somebody in a tier 3 zone could easily move to a tier 1 location and escape those tighter regional restrictions. There was also subjectivity about which areas should be in which category as well as confusion over how each tier varied, as illustrated by Sky News.
Essentially, it left the population confused and angry. Cases weren't dropping as a result of the measures. Similarly, people in tier 3 zones felt trapped and persecuted.
At least, with President Donald Trump, America knew where he stood on the coronavirus. He quickly became ridiculed by most of the western media for his continual downplaying of the virus but he rarely flip flopped on his priorities. Trump wanted to open up the country as soon as he possible could in order to boost the economy. Essentially, he was in favour of a strong economy over the health of his people.
Trump stood as the more radical choice against the calm and measured option of Democrat leader Joe Biden. Admittedly, though, that refusal to take Covid-19 seriously probably cost him dearly in the recent US Elections.
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was forthright with her views. If she had decided to lockdown, she's have locked down hard. If she decided to reboot the economy, she'd have done it in a meticulous and thorough way. There would have been no half measures. Johnson doesn't know what he wants to be.
The former London Mayor had only been in charge of a Conservative majority government for a couple of months before this crisis came. In fairness to Johnson, such a situation could cripple any leader. Trump had backbone but he invariably unravelled over 2020, revealing himself to be a dangerous fool.
Perhaps Johnson looks across the globe at his American compatriot with caution. Many compare the two populist leaders for their energy and charisma. Johnson doesn't want to follow the same pathway as his bumbling doppelganger, even if part of him would like to.
A rabbit hole with no return would quickly dash his hopes of being a successful Prime Minister. However, dithering, shirking responsibility and trying to please everybody will also do just that.