'Incoherent and lacking common touch': What Telegraph writers thought of Boris Johnson's lockdown speech

'PM showed profound regard for Britain's national character'

Janet Daley: The substance of the speech was as we had expected. It was the tone that was going to be the real test. And that was pretty much pitch-perfect.

There was confidence but not so much that he could be accused of hubris: plenty of warnings about how all this progress might be undone, how any increase in freedom538prom精品视频在线播放 could be withdrawn if the figures went the wrong way. But we all knew that the main object had to be a shift from that hugely successful - and much too persuasive - original prohibition on leaving home at all.

For those who have insisted on describing (for their own political reasons) the new message as ambiguous or confusing, he now made it luminously clear: work at home if you can but if you can’t - because you are employed in manufacturing or construction - go back to work. The economy and the society need you to be productive.

The whole pitch was framed in terms of the most profound regard and gratitude for the national character: it was the people’s courage and fortitude - their generosity and willingness to sacrifice - that had got us this far. The words were all the more effective for being obviously true.

Boris Johnson paid tribute to the sacrifices of the British people Credit: EPA

He made a point of thanking not just the NHS but all those who had contributed to this effort through their jobs, their voluntary work  and their private acts of kindness. And he completed the logic of his case by saying that he knew that people's fear of the disease was matched by an equally legitimate fear of the consequences of the shutdown538prom精品视频在线播放. These two things would now clearly have equal weight in the government’s calculations.

The promised roadmap538prom精品视频在线播放 was there - with tentative dates for the next stages - but it was conditional on the country’s resolve. We would accomplish this together or not at all.

Read more: The PM's strategy for reopening the country - the key points

'After the cane, the headmaster is trying persuasion'

Juliet Samuel: Will the United Kingdom please proceed to the headmaster’s office for a very stern chat? Will it? Please?

The Prime Minister had thought through his lecture carefully. If the country is ever to return to any semblance of normality, he desperately needs compliance. But his address showed a painful awareness that he cannot simply browbeat or terrify us into it. You can give out as many detentions as you want, but at some point, the pupil stops listening.

To the frustration of many, the speech did not tell Britons when they can socialise with people outside their household Credit: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

S538prom精品视频在线播放o now he tried persuasion. If we are good, we will get treats. We can sit on a bench in the sun un-harassed. Maybe, if we are very, very good, we will even get a trip to the movies in the summer. “It all depends upon a series of big ifs.”

The message is a lot messier than before. It’s easy to understand “stay home”. But what does “stay alert” mean? There were bullet points, a formula, coloured dials, a threat level table with a moving slider, a map with dots on it, and a big chart featuring a man on a bicycle riding steeply downhill into a man sitting quietly on a bench. If infections rise, said Boris, practically banging the table, “we will not hesitate to put on the brakes!” Better tell that cyclist.

I538prom精品视频在线播放 don’t envy the Government this task. It is inherently complicated to tell millions of people that we simply have to live our lives differently for months, and that if we fail, or perhaps even if we succeed, we’ll go back to square one.

The Government wants to encourage people to go back to work but they should avoid public transport Credit: AP

But it would surely have been possible to give us a few more concrete instructions: should we wear gloves? Masks? Who can we meet with? What if I’m meant to go to work but all the buses are full? If some areas can reopen while others can’t, will there be roadblocks between them?

538prom精品视频在线播放This wasn’t so much a “roadmap” to freedom as an obstacle course. It’s one that not even the headmaster is sure his pupil will finish.

Read more: Boris Johnson's lockdown speech in full

'Key parts remain frustratingly unexplained'

Asa Bennett: Boris Johnson could not have been more thankful for how diligently the British people have respected the lockdown, recognising that the “hardships” and “colossal cost” shouldered by the nation had prevented “what could have been a catastrophe” in coronavirus deaths. 

So how did he want to repay us? By asking the nation to hang on a while longer, but indicating that we need not fear the police pouncing if we choose to sit in the local park anymore. That was a concession Nicola Sturgeon notably did not allow Scots, so the English will no doubt take his permission to sunbathe with glee. 

Clearly social distancing will remain a guiding rule in the strategy against coronavirus, justifying this concession as Mr Johnson can be satisfied park-goers are doing their bit to "stay alert". In the same way, he made clear outings for exercise can happen more than once a day. 

Slowly but surely, the Prime Minister is beginning to trust the people. Knowing that citizens had stuck to the rules in the hope of soon reaching the light at the end of the tunnel, he sought to show how much tunnel we had left. 

All being well, he indicated that schools would start to open in the coming weeks, with non-essential shops to follow from July. But there was a limit on how detailed the Prime Minister could be, as he confessed his plan could not be concrete. Instead it was a “shape” of a plan, a “first sketch of a roadmap” out of lockdown. 

Schools will remain closed until at least June 1 Credit: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Some parts of the plan the government had trailed online were frustratingly unexplained, such as the suggestion that we would now be asked to “limit contact” with other people - raising the prospect of meticulously socially distanced meetings with friends and family. 

At very least, the irrepressible optimist Prime Minister was able to show the nation how close we are to exiting what he saw as a "huge Alpine tunnel". But he stressed "everyone has a role to play", suggesting only our continued efforts will help him get us through this fog-filled journey.

Read more: When schools, garden centres and shops will reopen

Truth is the Government's failures are undermining PM's message

Daniel Capurro538prom精品视频在线播放: The intended message could not have been clear enough. We, the British public, have made extraordinary sacrifices in the face of this pandemic and it is these sacrifices that have saved lives. Yet they must continue because, were we to relent, those lives would be at risk again.

However, when the Prime Minister recapitulated his five tests for easing the restrictions, another, underlying message almost slipped out. It is our sacrifices that are keeping this invisible monster at bay, but it is this Government’s failures that are undermining our efforts.

Mr Johnson briefly acknowledged the continuing disastrous situation in care homes and the spread of the coronavirus in hospitals. It is these that place us at greatest risk of another surge in the virus, acting as seedbeds for renewed outbreaks. 

The Prime Minister's famed common touch was sorely lacking Credit: REUTERS

The PM also dwelt for a fleeting moment on the lack of personal protective equipment and the absence of testing capacity.  But it was left to the viewer to join up the dots – the lack of PPE and the lack of testing are what has allowed those twin crises to persist. 

All this might be forgivable if the PM’s message had carried some understanding of what the British public is going through, but it didn’t. There was a clear effort to be rousing, with a rising voice and arms flailed, yet it was a broadcast remarkably lacking in Mr Johnson’s famed common touch

Yes, last night’s message was intended to focus on the economy. But the total absence of any mention of friends or family was deeply surprising. After almost two months in lockdown, the question most people will be asking first is not “when can I go to the cinema?”