Yesterday was busy for me and I didn’t have a chance to see the comments on my blog-either on twitter or on the blog during work-time. The blog called on us to move on and let Cummings be.
Yesterday evening I did see some of things that were said on twitter and was upset by some violent language from people I like.
“But by and large our suffering has been minimal ” Feck off, Henry, and then feck off some more and write about something you know about instead of this odious drivel.
I don’t need to defend my comment, most of the people I know have not had to face the choices that Dominic Cummings made – I certainly haven’t. Our church – whose congregation is mainly BAME- has seen deaths.
But the consequences of COVID-19 for most of the people I know have been financial , emotional but not existential.
There was also some bad tempered comment on yesterday’s blog itself, chiefly an argument between two regular contributors. I don’t want to moderate genuinely held views but let’s be kinder to each other.
The still small voice of calm
Although the majority of comment was calling for Cumming’s resignation, there are two comments from George Kirrin which are here.
The media’s Cummings story no longer stands up for me, Henry.
He didn’t go to Durham for a second time on 14 April, as reported on the front pages of both the Sunday Mirror and the Observer. He didn’t have any physical contact with Durham-based family members. The police didn’t talk to the Cummings family about the Covid lockdown guidelines but about security (presumably if/when the media posse arrived there, as they now have done). Durham police issued their own press release at 4:01pm yesterday, just when Cummings was supposed to be about to start his rose garden press conference.
Cummings didn’t carry on doing things that nearly everyone else had stopped doing — he missed the funeral of his uncle who died from Covid-19 in London on 5 April. He didn’t leave his London home for leisure reasons — he left because he was receiving threats as a result of media demonisation. He was ill, his wife was ill, and at one point his child was taken to hospital in an ambulance in Durham.
His family has had a really rough time and parts of the media have told lie after lie about him. The real scandal is not Cummings’s behaviour — it is the collapse of ethics and objectivity in leading parts of the British media.
Cummings is, however, guilty of what many of us have done when overworking – driving when impaired, putting work before family and personal health, and maybe putting work colleagues at risk of catching whatever it is we’ve got or we’ve had.
I have put the final paragraph in bold because it gives an insight into Cummings’ behaviour that rings true with me and which I haven’t seen or heard elsewhere in the debate.
As illuminating is George’s second comment
Jenny Harries and her “exceptional circumstances” on 24 March, and it’s here:
The question (about a hypothetical 2-y-o child is asked at 62 minutes in) and her exact quote is at 65 minutes, part of an answer that begins at 64’50” ….
Those who argue that Cummings’ use of “exceptional circumstances” is exploiting a loophole must listen to what Jenny Harries says in these four minutes.
There was some speculation before Dominic Cummings’ conference that Dominic Cummings’ child is autistic.
Seems the next stage in the Cummings defence is to invoke the 4 year old son being autistic. Don’t know what the truth is but it’s not good, invoking autism (which affects thousands and thousands of kids in the UK) for this behaviour.
— Pete Wharmby (@commaficionado) May 24, 2020
As far as I know , other than the child being taken to hospital, Dominic Cummings’ has made no mention of “special circumstances” for his child. The restraint employed in not responding to comments such as Pete Wharmby’s is admirable. The circumstances Mrs Cummings and their son find themselves in is tough.
Thanks to George for providing the still small voice of calm.
We are being kinder
Until this matter, I had thought there was national unity based on a common front against the pandemic. Unfortunately this unity has been broken. We have the Conservative back-benchers yet again rebelling , a junior minister resigning and we continue to see the normal questioning of Government on its COVID response being interrupted by questions about when Cummings will resign. On social media this has degenerated into #sackthemall .
Although we are allowed to have our judgement on the performance of the Government (and the bare numbers of deaths , hospitalisations and (lack of) testing do not speak well of it), we must be kinder. There is no B- team ready to step up and replace the cabinet, the PM and the Spads.
The A team was elected only 6 months ago and are less than 10% into its term. When we have an election, we have to accept the result and support the Government in its endeavours. This is particularly true at this time.
One of my most left-wing of friends sent me these two direct messages on twitter last night
we can aspire to more than one thing – a decent PM AND a policy of more fairness and better public services post the mad rush to finance running the world.
Ideally the Tory party needs to boot out Johnson. I don’t suppose it will happen, but the smart guys and gals – and I do believe there are some – need to manage him and sort themselves out.
We want to be kinder ; let’s hope we will turn a corner by better protecting the most vulnerable in our society. To do that we will have to spend a lot more of the nation’s wealth on welfare and a lot less time throwing stones.
This will mean a radically different reaction to this crisis than “austerity”. It will mean that those of us who have the means to be kind, must be kind.