Dominic Cummings doesn’t obey lockdown rules. Only little people obey lockdown rules. It said nothing good about Dominic Cummings that he was prepared to sacrifice other people’s elderly relatives in pursuit of his herd immunity strategy. It says a whole lot worse that he was willing to risk the lives of his own parents too. It came to light on Friday that Downing Street’s resident Gollum had travelled from London to Durham in the north of England after he had started to show coronavirus symptoms and was highly infectious. His excuse is that he was taking his children to his parents so that they could look after them while Cummings and his wife recovered from the illness. It’s one rule for Dominic Cummings and another for the herd.
Anyone with a microgramme of sense would have realised that if you are coming down with Covid-19 and you need a relative to look after your kids, then you get your relative to come to you and collect the children. You don’t schlepp across the length of England while you know that you have the virus and you know that you’re infected, potentially spreading your disease to the countless people that you might encounter along the way.
Apparently Dominic Cummings was forced to travel because he didn’t have any friends who could look after his kids for him locally, and who could drop off food parcels at his door while he was ill. Actually, I could believe that.
Unlike the Scottish chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood who travelled to her holiday home across the Forth while she was perfectly healthy, Dominic Cummings drove the length of England with his kids while he was infectious with the virus. During that 250 mile journey he could have come into contact with many people. He most certainly put his parents at risk. We await the demands from the Scottish Conservatives for his resignation, just as they called angrily for Catherine Calderwood to resign. Well? Silence. What’s that Jackson? Speak up dear. Is it just fine if you’re Boris Johnson’s advisor? Asking for 5.5 million Scottish people.
Given the total radio silence of the Scottish Conservatives today and their inexplicable reluctance to voice an opinion on this matter, this is a good juncture at which to remind them of what they said when they discovered that an uninfected Catherine Calderwood had travelled forty miles to Fife. “There cannot be one rule for bosses and another for everyone else,” harrumphed Jackson Carlaw. Miles Briggs said that Catherine Calderwood’s resignation was “inevitable” and what was important now was that public confidence was restored. Adam Tomkins tweeted that “an atrocious example” had been set and said that you would have thought that the rules that Catherine Calderwood was promoting ought to have applied to her too. “Did they think that the messages [to stay at home] were for other people?” asked the perpetually confused Murdo Fraser, adding, “Hard to see how messages to the public can have credibility while those delivering them ignore them themselves.” Annie Wells said, “Trust is vanishing and rage is building. Resign and let’s get back to what matters most – following the rules to save lives.” Indeed Annie. Indeed. And we can be sure that you’ll be phoning in Kaye Adams to tell her how angry you are that public trust in the British Government has been so badly damaged.
Has anyone seen Ruth, or is she not available for comment again? How terribly convenient, Ruth. However to be fair Ruth was practising social distancing long before it became fashionable, as her constituents and anyone who had ever followed the news and noticed a story that was bad for the Tories can attest.
Yet you can bet a chance to see your parents that if you had replaced the name Dominic Cummings with Ian Blackford the Scottish Conservatives would have caused Twitter’s servers to break with the intensity of their angry meltdown. Even Julia Hartley-Brewer, that Waitrose Katie Hopkins who’s usually very keen to support amoral right wing causes, appeared on Sky News to condemn Dominic Cummings. But from the Scottish Tories, not a word.
However since Chancellor Rishi Sunak, and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab both came out on social media today to defend Cummings in the strongest terms, it’s likely that the spineless wonders of the Scottish Conservative party were merely awaiting their instructions from the big boys and girls. Scottish Conservatism is after all the political philosophy that Scotland is incapable of independent thought.
As the calls for Cummings to be sacked grew in intensity on social media, the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg tweeted in response to a journalist from the Daily Mirror who had broken the story that a “source” had told her that his trip was within guidelines as he went to stay with his parents so they could help with childcare. Just wondering aloud here if anyone can recall the many times that Laura leapt into action on social media to defend Nicola Sturgeon or Jeremy Corbyn from an attack because one of their “sources” had told her something. Nope. Me neither. I’m betting that the anonymous source had the initials DC.
No one believes Cummings, and no one believes the Tories’ anonymous sources any more. In fact it’s because of anonymous briefings from the Conservatives that there’s so much confusion and incoherence from the British Government and the British media is now a synonym for ill repute. Some of us are starting to wonder whether Laura Kuenssberg and Sarah Smith have a private bet going to see which of them can get away with the most blatant bias. That the British Government is no longer bothering to issue official statements any more but prefers to conduct its communications with the public via anonymous briefings to favoured journalists is a genuinely scary development in British public life. It’s another nail in the coffin of British Government accountability, because let’s face it, that died a long time ago.
Inicidentally, the conspiracy theorists were out in force on social media on Friday night, wondering why Dominic Cummings wasn’t trending on Twitter. There were mutterings about the dark forces of British state intelligence and the 77th Brigade. However the real conspiracy here is that Dominic Cummings conspired to get himself a surname that won’t trend on social media because it’s caught by Twitter’s profanity filters. No social media company wants porn to trend, so they use filters to catch items containing certain strings of characters. One of which is the popular word referring to having an orgasm. Have a look at the Scunthorpe problem on Wikipedia for a more detailed explanation. It’s the only way in which Dominic Cummings is ever going to make the earth move for you. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scunthorpe_problem
So remember, stay home, stay safe. Unless that is you want to drive 250 miles spreading your disease the length of the A1 in order to find an elderly relative to infect. That’s just fine – but only if you’re a Conservative advisor who works in Ten Downing Street. If ever you wanted to see how the privilege of the British establishment operates in practice, you just got a lesson in how it works from Dominic Cummings and the Conservative party. It’s one rule for the rich, the powerful, and the well-connected who defend the British state, and another for the rest of us.
And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times…
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