Dominic Cummings and the #CumSack saga
(About a 4 minute read)
Operation “get Dominic off the front pages” is currently in full swing. UK lockdown is being rapidly eased, against scientific advice, seemingly in a bid to change the press narrative away from Dominic Cummings and his lockdown breaches. For the unaware, Mr Cummings is Boris Johnson’s chief advisor and the messaging guru behind the Leave EU campaign. He has a history of arrogance and rule-breaking so, when he was spotted 260 miles from his house during the lockdown, the front pages were adorned with his face.
For various reasons, Boris is backing his man despite the overwhelming opinion that he has breached rules. Mr Cummings’ rule-breaking may cause a second spike in COVID-19 that could kill thousands due to the public’s lack of respect for the rules. IF the guy who creates the rules breaks them then why should be abide.
For three years during the Coalition, I worked in Westminster as Digital Content and Communications Manager for Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems. My career in politics could have been cut short though. In my first month in the job, a Daily Mail writer hacked my Facebook account and copied several private photos. He published one of me, standing in between two scantily-clad women – nothing too risqué, but it’s not the image I wanted public in my first high-profile job.
I explained the photo to the Party CEO and Nick Clegg (and his team). My career was at stake if the public turned on me, so I eagerly watched the comments section of various websites where the general census was OK. The public thought it was funny, nothing illegal and wanted the phone numbers of the two girls.
Boris Johnson has said several times that “it is up the public to decide”. We did! We decided that he is lying and should, at the very least, step down from his role. To date, he hasn’t.
Questions remain unanswered, including:
- What did the Prime Minister know about Mr Cummings’ trip to Durham, and was the trip sanctioned by the PM?
- I can’t imagine a conversation, while the PM is unwell himself where Dominic asks permission to break lockdown. He’s an arrogant rebel who doesn’t give two hoots about what people think. I’d guess the first Boris knew about it was when the story leaked.
- When leaving his home, why is Dominic Cummings telling masked reporters to keep 2m at all times when he, seeing the scrum hasn’t taken a single PPE precaution to safeguard himself or his family.
- This man sits on the SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) panel so knows more than most the real-threat COVID-19 poses for the country and our families. The fact that he’s broken lockdown several times and has no problem mingling with reporters and his immediate (and broader) family indicates that he thinks the threat is low.
- Did Mr Cummings and Mary Wakefield, his wife, stop at a service station? And, by doing so, did they put anyone else at risk?
- Their Land Rover Discovery Sport has a real-world range of about 450 miles. The family visit to Durham and Barnard Castle would have been a minimum of 550 miles. Assuming their child can hack the 260mile drive to Durham without a piss, it’s obvious the Cummings family will have stopped several times, infecting fuel stations and rest stops with their alleged COVID-19 germs.
- In the course of Mr Cummings’ journeys between Durham and London did Mr Cummings or his wife come into contact with other members of the public?
- I expect that every fuel and rest stop on the route has had FOI requests from every cub-reported in the country, so the answer to this will be apparent soon.
- Why could Mr Cummings and his wife not arrange childcare in London?
- I suppose the fact that he has his Durham property and that Easter, his mother’s birthday and his wife’s birthday all fall on the same bank holiday weekend shouldn’t come as a coincidence. To answer the question, they probably didn’t look for childcare.
- On what day did Mr Cummings fall ill and how long did he self isolate?
- When asked about this, his answer was precise, after checking his notes. Future answers about dates and circumstances were vague. Dominic should not need to refer to notes when recalling memorable events – unless it’s a lie.
- Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries said being too sick to look after a small child was an “exceptional circumstance” on April 10 and she pointed to accessing family support. But Mr Cummings’ trip was almost two weeks before this advice was issued. What is his defence of this?
- He evades the question and repeats his claim that he was acting within the law.
- Why did Number 10 keep quiet about Mr Cummings’ trip to Durham for eight weeks?
- Simple – they didn’t know. Number 10 kept the press waiting for over half an hour before Dominic came out to answer questions. The only reason for his delay is the fact that he needed to get his story straight with the press office.
- Did the Prime Minister have any role in the decision not to disclose the incident?
- He probably didn’t know about the trip until the story broke. It’s increasingly apparent that Boris has colluded with Dominic to back up his story. When initially asked about the matter, Boris stated that he knew the facts and they all check out. When asked to expand on the answer, Boris bumbled (more than usual) and repeated his vague original response with the prefix “to be clear”.
- Mr Cummings’ brother-in-law lives nearby – why did Mr Cummings not ask his for help with childcare?
- Because his mother and country house are in Durham on the same weekend of his mother’s and wife’s birthday – and a bank-holiday.
- Alternatively, could the aide’s sister not have travelled to London to collect their son?
- Again, his mother and country house are in Durham on the same weekend of his mother’s and wife’s birthday – and a bank-holiday. Having her sent to London isn’t really what he wanted.
- Boris Johnson said that Mr Cummings went to Durham because “both he and his wife, Mary Wakefield were about to be incapacitated by coronavirus”. But how could he have known he was about to become incapacitated? At the time of travel, Downing Street previously insisted that Mary was displaying symptoms, while Mr Cummings feared there was a “high likelihood” of developing the virus himself. Cummings indicates he had not yet shown signs himself when the couple set off for the northeast. So why did Boris Johnson say this? And was he acting under misinformation? If so, from whom?
- See all the above answers. It’s a lie, Boris and Dominic know it and so do the nation. Unfortunately, unelected officials are not answerable to the public. To put it simply, the hit Boris is taking in the polls is not more significant than the blow he’d take if Dominic weren’t masterminding his messaging.
The public decided my destiny any yet Boris is still standing my his man. Is Dominic more or less disposable than me?
I don’t want that answered.