One Rule For Us, And One Rule For Dominic Cummings.
The Prime Minister’s senior advisor has caused total public outrage over his breach of lockdown and isolation regulations.
Words by William Cooper.
Public outrage at a governmental figure occurs often. Tony Blair was and still is hated for his decision to take the UK into the Iraq War in 2003. Margaret Thatcher is despised by many in the north of England, seven years after her death, for the closure of the mines which resulted in many Northern towns slowly and painfully deteriorating. The outrage therefore felt by many toward Dominic Cummings; his decision to drive 269 miles from his house in London, to his parent’s private land in Durham, can be seen as merely another bullet point in the history for public outrage. However, this time it was different.
Since the UK government (of which Cummings is an integral part of) introduced the lockdown two months ago, many have made huge sacrifices to preserve the common good. Many have missed the passing of loved ones and have had to stand alone or in small, social distanced groups at a funeral that lasted twenty minutes. Many have given their lives for the benefit of others: doctors, nurses, cleaners, care workers. Every life lost has been another punch in the gut of the nation, but still we carry on.
We have all endured so much, physically, emotionally, psychologically. Domestic violence has increased, mental health illnesses have skyrocketed. But still the nation holds tight and sticks to the advice that Cummings himself was central to creating: STAY HOME, PROTECT THE NHS, SAVE LIVES.
Cumming’s complete disregard for the regulations that he created is, to say the least, scandalously hypocritical. Any criticism he receives because of this is justified. Its not just the regulations that Cummings broke. There was an aura around the lockdown; something similar to the aura of unity that was likely felt in the Blitz. Many ordinary people in those years huddled terrified in sewers and railway tunnels as the Nazis bombarded them from above, night after terrible night. But they held strong, and Hitler was defeated.
75 years later, ordinary people who have never been in an era of world war, huddle in their homes as an invisible virus roams outside. But we have held strong, as one, and now it is starting to look like the virus may be on the run. That’s what happens when you all comply to the rules. Cummings’ actions violate this aura and sense of unity, making it seem like it was all worth nothing.
Cummings’ actions have effectively told people that its acceptable to deviate from the social norm that we have all endured for two months, because if he did it, then anyone can. Many now believe that its “one rule for us, and another rule for them.” This may be slightly the wrong way to look at it.
Many Tory ministers and advisors have resigned because they broke lockdown. At the beginning of this month even, it was Neil Ferguson (a government scientist) who was forced to resign because he broke lockdown to meet with his married lover. Cummings is the only one not to. Therefore, it would be more accurate to suggest that its “one rule for us, and one rule for Dominic Cummings.”
There is now a call from many people in the NHS to resign in protest. They feel as if they have been spat in the face by Cummings and the entire Conservative government. Another day that Cummings remains at №10 is another kick in the ribs of the public.
Cummings’ speech yesterday was deeply hypocritical. He blamed the media numerous times in his speech for confusing the story and for creating false stories. However, he has had no quarrel with the media in the past and has revelled in creating false and misleading stories. Indeed, in early February, new reporters boycotted №10 after government advisors attempted to impose selective briefing to certain newspapers and networks concerning Johnson’s Brexit plans.
Cummings definitely has his favourite newspapers, who he can rely on to support everything the government says and does. Therefore, to blame the media that he effectively controls is to expose himself as a monumental hypocrite.
Cummings supplied a considerable amount of detail in his speech so that the story, which seemed straightforward before, became muddier and harder to pick apart. He used numerous dates which meant that many became confused with the order of things.
But the fact is that the public do not care WHEN he travelled 260 miles to Durham with his sick wife, who might have COVID, and his child. All they care about is the fact that he DID IT.
The part that has caused most outrage than anything else is Cummings’ drive to Barnard castle, with both his wife and child in the car, to TEST HIS EYESIGHT. This was coincidently on his wife’s birthday. This is a bizarre revelation, as surely there are other ways to test your eyesight that are safer than driving a car. Moreover, it seems unlikely that a short trip to Barnard Castle, approximately thirty minutes from his parent’s private estate, can give a 100% certain diagnosis of your eyesight and driving ability. It may be adequate for an hour drive somewhere. But the drive to London from Durham takes nearly five hours.
Whatever Cummings’ said last night at the press conference is largely irrelevant. Actions speak louder than words. Millions of people have sacrificed their freedom, their mental health, even the chance to see their loved ones for the final time. Cummings’ actions portray a simple message: your sacrifice was unnecessary.
However, last night many of the public would have been persuaded by his speech. Cummings is a very smart man, make no mistake. He was the architect of the Leave campaign, who managed to persuade many people to vote against their own interests.
This is the first time that an unelected, unaccountable senior advisor has had this extent of media coverage given to them. Sitting leisurely in the rose garden of №10, Cummings looked like a Prime Minister. He was not made uncomfortable and made to realise the gravity of his actions. As was his intention. He was never going to make himself feel uncomfortable or intimidated. Hence why he was thirty minutes late to start to conference.
The Prime Minister is now in a simple, yet intensely difficult dilemma. Either keep Cummings or sack him.
If he decides to keep Cummings on, Johnson will sacrifice what’s left of the nation’s trust in him, unlikely to ever retain it again. Or, he can sack Cummings, but through doing so, lose all political direction and strategy. This scandal, as I have speculated since the story broke last week, isn’t just about Cummings and his career, it’s about Johnson’s as well. The fate of Johnson and his premiership rests in the hands of Cummings.
If Johnson does the morally right thing and fires Cummings, then he will torpedo his own premiership. And as most of us know by now, Johnson will do just about anything to retain his position as Prime Minister. And if that means being hated by the nation, then he will accept that. Cummings knows this all too well. He is not worried about having to leave. He will remain in №10 for as long as Johnson does. Because there is no Johnson without Cummings.
Cummings effectively is the Prime Minister. Johnson is just the puppet.
Cummings will not resign unless Johnson forces it upon him.
But Johnson is Cummings in a costume. And Cummings will not fire himself.
William Cooper- CEO and founder of VeritasMedia.