The former prime minister of the UK, Sir Patrick, expressed his frustration with Mr. Johnson in his diary entries, but also admitted that it was not a unique issue. Science advisors from other countries have also faced similar challenges in explaining complex concepts to politicians. In a meeting with scientific advisers from across Europe, they all laughed when one leader revealed that he was struggling with exponential curves. This difficulty was not unique to Mr. Johnson and affected many other countries.
During his evidence to the inquiry, Sir Patrick mentioned that the Prime Minister had abandoned science at a young age and struggled with certain concepts. According to diary entries from 20 September 2020, Mr. Johnson even questioned whether we were “licked as a species” before imposing another lockdown. These entries provide insight into the challenges science advisers face in communicating complex ideas to politicians and leaders who are struggling to understand such concepts.