I have to be honest with you, I had no intention to write about Dominic Cummings. I even said as much here:
However, even in spite of writing that status update, I’ve had more and more interest in the topic. Lots and lots of you are curious for some insights on my views as a citizen of the British government. So let’s sit down with a glass of red on this oh-so-warm Saturday evening and discuss him after all, shall we?
If you’ve been around here a while, you’ll know that last year my world turned upside down. If you’re new here, then hello, welcome and let me quickly bring you up to speed. Little over a year ago (March 2019, to be exact), I lost my beloved father to plasma cell leukemia and sepsis, he was just 60 years old.
All caught up? Excellent.
Now that we’re all on the same page, I want you to understand how I felt when we were thrown into lockdown. Lockdown has been hard on everyone, for me, a year on from losing my Dad, I was suddenly being told that I couldn’t see or hug my Mum because I could give her something that could kill her. Far from just stressful, at a time when we all needed one another (because of our grief), we had to get through alone. To say its been tough is a monumental understatement, and it’s why I feel so much for the families who have been torn apart by this horrible virus – nobody deserves to suffer alone.
But then Mum got the virus.
I’ll put my hands up and say that my lockdown compliance has been probably 98%. I haven’t been out socialising, and the only time I did socialise was something of an unexpected surprise, which you can read more about here. I also invited my father-in-law to visit us this afternoon, two days ahead of the latest lockdown changes, I know what we did was wrong, but we gathered that by now and following the behaviours of Dominic Cummings, most people in the UK aren’t too worried, as long as you keep your distance, you’re sensible and not annoying with what you get up to. If the police turned up, we agreed, we’d apologise and blame it on confusing dates, my father-in-law would go home and we’d just wait a day or two for the measures to come into effect. No police and no heckling from the neighbours. In the end, we had an enjoyable, long-awaited, socially-distanced afternoon in the garden.
But there is a world of difference between Dominic Cummings and me. For one, and most obviously, Boris Johnson doesn’t even know I exist. For two, even if he did, he is not asking me to make decisions which impact my country in the times of Covid-19. There may be dozens of people who could be impacted by my actions, but there are millions impacted by Dominic’s, and the backlash of his actions have been far-reaching.
Like many others, my first question was why he couldn’t get childcare in London. Even if his family are in Durham, with a man with as much money and power as Dominic Cummings, I am sure that he could hire private childcare. Why could he not arrange to stay in a hotel (in London) and find a childminder while he was there? By travelling 260 miles with his infected wife in a box of poorly circulated air, it is no wonder that Dominic fell ill.
Secondly, it should go without say that by travelling all that way, there is every good chance that Dominic has taken the virus with him. As has already been pointed out, he could have infected dozens more if he stopped off anywhere. That he can’t remember stopping anywhere should be another cause for concern. If his memory is really that bad, there is no way that he should have been in control of a motor vehicle!
Dominic claims that he took a drive to Barnard Castle on his wife’s birthday to “test his eyesight”, which he claimed had been impaired by the Coronavirus. In the UK, there are signs which warn you of the risks of driving while tired (death), and medicine labels which caution you against driving or operating heavy machinery while taking them because the medication they represent can cause drowsiness (which can also result in death). According to the DVLA, you should not drive if you are not fit to maintain control of the vehicle (which includes blackouts and presumably collapsing, which Dominic had already apparently done, according to his wife). “I wanted to go for a test drive to see if I was fit enough” is not an excuse. What if he had not been well enough? What if he had collapsed and hit and killed someone? Also, let us not forget that the short-distance drive made him feel unwell, but he felt well enough to drive back to London not too soon after – with his wife and child in the car! Endangering a child like that should be liable grounds for prosecution- regardless of the lockdown!
Dominic could have gone a long way to help himself and restore public confidence by minding his attitude with the media. When he responded to the press with “who cares about good looks? It’s not about what you guys think”, he forgot one thing. In this situation, the media don’t just represent the media – the media represents the people, the millions of lives our government are supposedly trying to protect from the Coronavirus, the doctors and nurses on the frontline and the lives put on hold trying to protect our NHS. By saying what he did and going against the advice he helped to write, Dominic threw compliance into question, and with it, he jeopardised millions of lives. To then say he is not sorry and doesn’t regret doing what he did, he turned up the heat and embarrassed our government still further. If Dominic had enough respect now for Boris, he would save face for our government and step down. This problem isn’t simply going to go away in his sleep.
For too long. there has been a lot of covering up for Dominic. Each and every time Boris Johnson stands in front of the podium and urges the British public and media to move on, the British public dig their heels in even harder. Most recently, Boris referred to it as a “political ding dong”, but the British public simply don’t see this crisis that way. Family members have been unable to be with loved ones in those final moments, families have been divided and funerals have had to go ahead with only a tiny fraction of those who used to attend. Doctors and nurses have contracted and died from the virus, key workers have been attacked while trying to keep the nation moving and families have put their summer plans on hold because of the measures they’e been put under, or fined for taking so much as a daytrip to the local seaside. No matter what our government says, the British public are angry, and they aren’t prepared to move on from this story until Cummings is a part of British political history.
No matter how much the government wishes it would, this story isn’t going to go away. Durham police revealed that Dominic Cumming “might have broken the lockdown rules“, but they’ve decided not to prosecute him. Naturally with the hundreds of people who have been fined, that went down like a lead balloon. If the UK government wanted the public to believe that we’re all in this together, they’re going completely the wrong way about it. I was so angry that I chose not to part-take in the final Clap For Carers. Simply put, I refused to applaud alongside a pair of hypocrites.
I predicted that the police would struggle to lockdown almost as soon as the story broke, and within days, The Telegraph had published this story. The lockdown is now in name only, and the police know they are nearly powerless to enforce it. Thousands of lives have been lost, and many, many more will be while our prime minister defends his advisor-in-chief. The lockdown is now joke material between family and friends and the Coronavirus briefings are the latest soap opera to grace our screens. What happens now in this battle won’t be based on science and SAGE advice from our government, but rather good, solid, British common sense.