In the face of all the undisputed evidence Johnson has shielded his chief Aide Dominic Cummings and illustrated clearly that the Covid19 rules are only for the plebs, not for those with power and influence.
For the avoidance of doubt Cumming’s ‘crime’ to me was the 260 miles drive from London to his parent’s home in Durham on March 27th with his child and possible Covid19 suffering partner to facilitate childcare. Two further alleged breaches of the lockdown rules on 12th and 19th April are salt in a wound but the admitted car journey on 27th March is the reason Cummings should have been sacked from his job. That he has not been sacked is a disgrace.
Dominic’s gang of SPADS has 100 members and they cost the taxpayer £10 million in the last financial year to wipe the arses of privileged Ministers and make sure they know what to say and when to say it. They write the speeches, brief the press, defuse scandals and clean up any mistakes while keeping the public as ignorant of the facts as possible. We effectively pay them to delude us. The chief deceiver is Dominic Cummings.
Cummings Thinks He Is Above the Law
Cummings is in the eye of a fatal storm for special government advisers. They should always manipulate stories from behind the scenes to make their Minister and the government appear as positive as possible. They should never be the story, particularly when it is a negative one. Cummings has displayed sheer unmitigated arrogance and contemptible disdain for the very rules and slogans he invented in relation to Covid19.
Make no mistake about it if an ordinary Joe Bloggs had decided to leave his household with a partner displaying Covid19 symptoms and driven 260 miles to visit parents for the sake of his four year old child, he would have been fined and roundly condemned by health officials for endangering others by potentially taking Covid19 out of his house and spreading it when the strict rules were to self-isolate unless a ‘life-threatening’ situation existed.
Dominic Cumming’s four-year-old child was not in a life-threatening situation. His partner with symptoms of Covid19 was not in a life-threatening situation. He himself was not in a life-threatening situation. His 260-mile drive from London to Durham to facilitate his son being looked after by his parents represents plain and simple defiance of the very rules Cummings devised for everyone else. Disobeying those rules was made a criminal offence. The guy stuck his two fingers up to the rules and acted above the law like a Victorian Grandee telling his house servants to do as he says not as he does. The guy who constantly promotes his ‘anti-Establishment’ credentials is in fact part of that Establishment.
Does Cummings’ Flagrant Flouting of the Law Matter?
Context is vital in relation to this furore. Is it really that important that a special government adviser acted so hypocritically and broke the rules he helped formulate for everyone else? The answer is an emphatic YES. If Cummings can break the rules despite being at the heart of government and helping to devise them then why the hell should anyone in England continue to abide by the social isolation and lockdown rules? By absolving Cummings and letting him keep his job Johnson has signalled the rules are ineffective and not worth respecting.
Cummings drove a suspected Covid19 sufferer in a car with a child for 260 miles to another area and household when every other household across the UK was instructed to stay at home in such circumstances, self-isolate for 14 days and not interact with any other household. Ask yourself how difficult you have found this last ten weeks? Have you missed your mother, father, siblings, grand children? Have you been unable to visit loved ones in hospital? Attend funerals of old friends and relations? I’ve had close friends suffer the loss of parents during this time but being denied access to their bedside given the lockdown rules. Losing loved ones is difficult enough but to be unable to say goodbye properly, to hold, hug and kiss a loved one and tell them how much they mean to you is real pain which compounds grief.
That has been the experience of thousands across the UK as they did what they thought was the right thing and abided by the government’s Covid19 rules. Please read the Tweet of Davy from Ayrshire in Scotland posted today:
“I don’t hate Cummings? When Mum had a chest infection I didn’t visit. When she cried on the phone with loneliness I didn’t run to her. When she died in Ayr hospital, I wasn’t there. No I don’t hate him, I hate me.”
I don’t hate Cummings? When Mum had a chest infection I didn’t visit. When she cried on the phone with loneliness I didn’t run to her. When she died in Ayr hospital, I wasn’t there. No I don’t hate him, I hate me.. pic.twitter.com/0yjuMfdK0J— Flying Davy (@flyingdavy) May 24, 2020
This guy is clearly tormented with the grief of not just losing his mother but losing his mother in social isolation circumstances that prevented him from being by her side when she passed away. Davy was doing no wrong. He is not a terrible son. He was merely sticking to the government rules to socially isolate in order to save lives. Remember the slogan applicable across the whole UK at the time Cummings decided to drive 260 miles from London to be with his parents in Durham: STAY HOME – PROTECT THE NHS – SAVE LIVES. A slogan Cummings is credited with devising. Davy obeyed it. Davy believed in saving the NHS and other people’s lives, including his mum’s. Cummings did not. Yet today Johnson described Cummings as a man of ‘integrity’ who acted ‘reasonably’ and ‘legally’. He is doing what comes naturally to him. Lying through his teeth.
Read the story of Sandra Wilson who was unable to be by the hospital bed of her dying husband nor hug their grieving children after his death due to strict observance of the social isolation rules in place on March 29th. On the day Cummings deigned himself above the law and drove 260 miles to Durham with a suspected Covid19 sufferer and small child, Sandra’s husband was admitted to hospital with Covid19. She and her children wanted to be by his side but the rules prevented it:
“The family will also not be allowed to travel together to Ian's funeral or be in close contact during the service. Ian suffered with a heart condition and diabetes, and after falling unwell with suspected coronavirus he was admitted to University Hospital Monklands on March 27.
Hours later Sandra received a call from a 'crying' doctor to say that her husband of 13 years would not survive Covid-19. He tragically died two days later. Sandra's distraught daughter Lesley Allan told the Daily Record:
"My mum was not allowed to go hospital with Ian.
"Very soon after he was admitted, she received a call saying that he was critical and would not survive.
"The doctor was very upset as this is not how he would deliver this sort of news normally.
"He promised to look after Ian like he was his dad".
Ordinary People Have Obeyed the Law – Their Efforts are Now Undermined
Real grief from real people doing the right thing for the sake of everyone else in society. Perhaps they should have ‘followed their instincts’ instead as Johnson said Cummings did on March 27th when he broke all the rules to take a Covid19 sufferer from his home, with a child, and drove them across England to be with his own parents. Davy from Ayrshire and Sandra Wilson and her family did not ‘follow their instincts’ they followed the law. Laws which everyone was supposed to observe and obey. Unless you are Dominic Cummings with friends in high places.
Cummings avoided the sack but his card is marked. He will be sacked soon, once Johnson understands the extent of the damage holding onto him will inflict on his government. Remember last Wednesday during Prime Minister’s Questions he said he had “thought a great deal” about exempting health and care workers from overseas from the immigration health surcharge but decided against the exemption only to change his mind within 24 hours as the uproar around the decision threatened to drown him. An even bigger storm is brewing around Cummings.
When it was revealed last month that Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, had broken the lockdown rules she herself was regularly promoting the clamour for her to be sacked by Scotland’s First Minister was loud and determined from Scottish Tories. Dr Calderwood did indeed tender her resignation after initially appearing to avoid the bullet. Some say Nicola Sturgeon should have sacked her sooner rather than allowing her to resign. It was right and proper that Dr Calderwood lost her post. She deserved to be sacked and I said that at the time in a column which was headed up ‘Double-Standards in the Covid19 War are Unacceptable.
What is sickening now is the cowardly silence from Scottish Tories calling for Cummings to be sacked over the same misdemeanours Dr Calderwood was guilty of. The Tories in Scotland are a particularly spineless and unprincipled bunch. Several of their colleagues in England have called for Cummings to be axed and that number will grow in the coming days but the Scottish Tories are conspicuous by their silence.
When A Former Chief Constable Attacks Tories it is Serious
Perhaps one of the most powerful and excruciating attacks on Cummings behaviour was from an unlikely source and one which the Tories will find it difficult to undermine via their usual reliable channels. Up until last year Mike Barton was the Chief Constable of Durham Police Force. His verbal demolition of Dominic Cumming’s actions and the Tory government failure to sack him has been like a construction site wrecking ball. Watch and listen to what he had to say about the man Johnson has described as a man of ‘integrity’:
“It is clear he has broken the rules. It could not be clearer. I cannot think of a worse example of a breach of the lockdown rules. For it then to be defended by the government just beggars belief.”
“What is particularly sad and undermines completely the government position is they seem to be operating in a bubble of self-privilege and denial when they all should be leading by example. ‘Hypocrite’ was invented for these circumstances … Of course it is double standards”.
I couldn’t have articulated the situation better myself. But I’m a lifelong socialist who despises the Tories and everything they stand for. Mike Barton was up until recently a Chief Constable in charge of one of the best performing police force in England. They can dismiss me and undermine my criticisms of them all day but they cannot ignore criticisms from such an authoritative and independent voice:
“It feels like feudal times. We make the rules and it is for you, the great unwashed, to follow them.”
Exactly, Mr Barton. And his comments about how difficult it will now be to enforce the lock-down rules if Cummings is let off are particularly poignant:
“They [ministers] have driven a coach and horses through these crucial guidelines at a time of national emergency, simply to save the skin of one of their own. This is not just Dominic Cummings. This is many members of the cabinet supporting someone who has clearly broken the guidelines, their guidelines, at a time of national emergency. I find it amazing they are changing the rules to save his skin.”
“I feel for the thousands of officers negotiating to get people to do what they do not want to do. This makes the job of policing the lockdown harder. It gives a green light for people to do what they want”.
Johnson Defence of Cummings is Disgraceful, Shameful & Unsustainable
Johnson’s defence of Dominic Cummings is not just disgraceful and shameful it is also unsustainable. Already online petitions are attracting thousands of signatures demanding Cummings is sacked. The one I have signed has over 100,000 supporting it.
Cummings display of conceited hypocrisy must be punished. He is paid by the taxpayer, not some private billionaire. When he behaves in the manner he has done he deserves to be sacked, without hesitation or compensation. He is famed for his slogans. He apparently came up with ‘Take Back Control’ during the Brexit campaign and devised the current England wide and amorphous ‘Stay Alert – Control The Virus – Save Lives’. Right now, the most appropriate slogan for him is not one of his own but one so well-articulated by the world renowned Scottish comedian Billy Connolly and amounting to only two words.
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