British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday delivered an eyebrow raising announcement when leaders of G7 countries sat down for talks in England, saying the destruction produced by the pandemic created a “huge opportunity” to build a “greener” and “more gender neutral and perhaps a more feminine” society in its wake.
Johnson, appearing to align his agenda with President Biden’s, said that the world’s most economically powerful democracies must “build back better” after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Biden, who sat to Johnson’s immediate left at a round table, is pushing Congress to approve massive electric vehicle and child care spending in a campaign branded “Build Back Better.”
Johnson, a romantically rapacious Conservative Party leader known as “a dog” to his people for his many affairs and marriages, emerged as an unlikely champion of what some viewers mocked as a comically “woke” G7 agenda.
“We need to make sure that as we recover, we level up across our societies and we build back better,” Johnson said. “And I actually think that we have a huge opportunity to do that, because as G7, we are united in our vision for a cleaner, greener world, a solution to the problems of climate change. And in those ideas, in those technologies, which we’re all addressing together, I think there is the potential to generate many, many millions of high-wage, high-skill jobs.”
“And I think that is what the people of our countries now want us to focus on,” he continued.
“They want us to be sure that we’re beating the pandemic together and discussing how we’ll never have a repeat of what we’ve seen, but also that we’re building back better together. And building back greener and building back fairer and building back more equal and in a more gender-neutral and perhaps a more feminine way. How about that, apart from everything else. So those are some of the objectives that we have before us at Carbis Bay.”
Other expected agenda items include an effort to establish and enforce a new 15 percent minimum tax on corporations, as well as steps to apply pressure on Russia to deter economically disruptive cyberattacks and on China to be transparent about the origins of COVID-19, including the possibility that the virus came from a Wuhan lab.
The G7 is an association of the world’s economically powerful democracies and includes the US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. The meeting kicked off Friday morning with a series of photo ops at which Biden told reporters to jump into the ocean.
On Thursday, Biden and Johnson met for pre-G7 talks that featured effusive flattery from both sides, including Biden congratulating Johnson repeatedly on “marrying up” with his new 33-year-old bride.
The world leaders will meet Friday evening with Queen Elizabeth II, who will host Biden and first lady Jill Biden on Sunday at Windsor Castle.