Let’s get this clear: after contracting Covid-19, Boris Johnson’s closest advisor, Dominic Cummings, broke lockdown rules and travelled 260 miles to the Durham home of his parents who, being elderly, are more vulnerable to death caused by the disease. Police investigated his appearance there but the whole event was hushed up and Cummings’ journalist wife later (falsely) reported emerging from isolation into the London lockdown.
So Cummings – and his entire family, it seems – unilaterally decided that the rules for the rest of the United Kingdom didn’t apply to him (as his boss, Johnson, had done in the past).
He broke the rules on self-isolation.
He broke the rules banning long-distance travel.
He endangered his own parents.
He distracted police officers, who had to abandon their other duties to investigate his irresponsible and dangerous behaviour.
And everybody involved lied to the public about it – including Downing Street and Johnson in particular, who would have known exactly where Cummings was at all times.
He has to go.
This is the man who, we’re told, advocated the “herd immunity” strategy that Johnson supported until mid-March, meaning tens of thousands more people died as a result of this poor decision-making than would have done otherwise.
It seems that, rather than obey the new rules, this man decided to spit on them. Anybody who supports his position is doing the same:
The choice facing @BorisJohnson tonight is a simple one
A. Sack Dominic Cummings
B. Express contempt for the British people who have sacrificed so much
Which will it be Prime Minister? https://t.co/ymbBCnyj0j
— Peter Stefanovic (@PeterStefanovi2) May 22, 2020
Oh, but wait! It seems some people – like Downing Street and BBC politics editor Laura Kuenssberg – are saying that he didn’t break the guidelines!
A Downing Street statement runs as follows [with my comments in bold]:
“Owing to his wife being infected with suspected coronavirus and the high likelihood that he would himself become unwell, it was essential for Dominic Cummings to ensure his young child could be properly cared for.” In the same way that the families of infected people across the country needed proper care? They were told to self-isolate, in their homes, with their children. What makes Cummings think he’s special?
“His sister and nieces had volunteered to help so he went to a house near to but separate from his extended family in case their help was needed.” The family members were wrong to volunteer their help, which was against the guidelines. It doesn’t matter if he went to a house near his family, rather than staying with them – travelling 260 miles during lockdown was prohibited.
“His sister shopped for the family and left everything outside.” This would have been fine if Mr Cummings’s London home had been within reasonable travelling distance from hers. It wasn’t, so it wasn’t.
“At no stage was he or his family spoken to by the police about this matter, as is being reported.” This is a lie:
A spokesman for Durham Constabulary said: “On Tuesday, March 31, our officers were made aware of reports that an individual had travelled from London to Durham and was present at an address in the city.
“Officers made contact with the owners of that address who confirmed that the individual in question was present and was self-isolating in part of the house.
“In line with national policing guidance, officers explained to the family the guidelines around self-isolation and reiterated the appropriate advice around essential travel”.
Several days later on April 5, a neighbour of Mr Cummings’ parents, Robert and Morag, claims they spotted him outside the property while passing for their daily exercise .
“His actions were in line with coronavirus guidelines.” They were not – and Ms Kuenssberg has also been swatted down over this:
The guidelines were that any household where someone shows symptoms must self-isolate in its entirety.
Why is a BBC journalist uncritically sharing misleading information from an anonymous source, rebutting another journalist who published a difficult story for the government? https://t.co/cxKQrZnZzf
— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) May 22, 2020
Nevertheless, Tory ministers have been lining up to support Cummings’s position – which only demonstrates that they, too, should be drummed out of their positions. He was irresponsible and dangerous, and in supporting him, so are they.
Dominic Raab (“Caring for your wife and child is not a crime.”) If it involves breaking the lockdown, it really is!
Michael Gove (“Dom and Mary’s journey was necessary and therefore within rules. What’s also necessary is not attacking a man and his family for decisions taken at a time of great stress and worry, the fear of death and concern for a child. This isn’t a story for the normal political shitkickery.”) A lie, followed by an appeal to emotion. But what if everybody else in the country had done the same?
Rishi Sunak (“Taking care of your wife and young child is justifiable and reasonable, trying to score political points over it isn’t.”) So, again, he would have been happy for members of the general public to fill up our roads and motorways, breaking the lockdown to unload their children on relatives, possibly spreading the virus (which doesn’t make itself apparent for around 14 days, remember)?
And Robert Halfon (“Ill couple drive 260+ miles to ensure that their small child can be looked after properly. In some quarters this is regarded as crime of the century. Is this really the kind of country we are?”) Taking those comments in turn: if they were ill, they had no right to travel anywhere. Nobody is regarding it as the “crime of the century”, but it is hugely irresponsible and dangerous behaviour by a government representative. And no – it isn’t the kind of country we are; it’s the kind of government we’re unfortunate enough to have.
Perhaps the clearest reason for Cummings to be removed is given in this response to the question, “What kind of a man goes to visit his ‘elderly parents’ when sick with an illness that disproportionately targets the old?”
But we knew that about him already. https://t.co/TIDAkEfuF9
— Shaun Lawson (@shaunjlawson) May 22, 2020
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