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Boris Johnson the superhero is needed, not the showman


With potential conflict among G7 leaders and criticism over lack of ambition, there is a risk the UK prime minister may change the focus of the Cornwall summit.

The last time Boris Johnson held centre stage with the world’s media was when he was filmed trapped on that zip wire, waving union flags while promoting the London 2012 Olympics. That stunt and his rousing pre-games speech were generally deemed a public relations triumph, capturing the hopeful spirit of recovering from the global financial crash.

But the world is a very different place in 2021 – millions have died in the worst health crisis in more than a century, the global economy is in turmoil, and this year’s Olympics are still under question. So, as Boris Johnson welcomes G7 leaders to Cornwall, what the world needs now is not Flash Boris Johnson the showman, but instead Flash Boris Johnson the superhero who will help save the world.

This might seem a tall order even for an ultra-optimist such as the UK prime minister, but the reality is he and his fellow G7 heads of government do have the knowledge, power and resources at their disposal to do this. Between them, G7 leaders represent two-thirds of the global pharma market, the majority of the world genomic capability, and lead the world in life sciences and clinical trials.

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