Boris Johnson’s communication of failure during the Covid-19 pandemic
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Great Britain’s Prime Minister Johnson had to admit the failure of his measures on several occasions and subsequently change policies. This paper analyses Johnson’s strategies of communicating failure, relying on a corpus of official statements and interviews dating from March 2020 to January 2021. Drawing on methods from corpus-assisted discourse analysis, his main strategies of communicating failure are analysed by identifying typical speech acts and classifying them according to Boin et al.’s accountability model (2017). Additionally, frequent frames are examined with relation to the narrative to which they contribute. Results show a tendency to avoid admitting policy failure and shirk responsibility, complemented by a common reference to the success of previous policies and the need for unity in crisis.
- 3.Overview of cases of policy failure
- 4.Boris Johnson’s speech acts
- 5.Comparison of speech acts and Argumentative Tactics
- 6.Frames in Johnson’s communication of failure
- 6.1Frames in politics
- 6.2Frames used by Boris Johnson