Why Barnard Castle 672

UPDATED Dominic Cummings specifically stated now in the press briefing that he had been eager to “get back to work to get vaccine deals through, move regulations aside” and that is why he drove to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight.

Now it may be entirely a coincidence that the place to which he chose to drive for his eyesight test happened to be the site of the major factory of GlaxoSmithKline. It may be an entire coincidence that two days later, on the very day Cummings actually started work back in Downing Street he has stated was “to get vaccine deals through”, GlaxoSmithKline announced an agreement to develop the vaccine.

It is however plainly not crazy to ask the question. This astonishing Twitter pile-on against Clive Lewis for retweeting my piece says something very worrying, when you consider that the large majority of those piling in are supposedly part of the “opposition” and include many journalists. A society where it is viewed as a sign of madness to look into the prospect of corruption involving a company as massively, provenly corrupt as GlaxoSmithKline and a figure as shady as Cummings, is a very unhealthy society indeed.

One red flag to me is the number of trolls claiming GlaxoSmithKline only has a small and remote office in Barnard Castle. This is not the entire site, and in a further £96 million investment two new blocks are in construction or recently finished:

So to return to my original posting:

In 2012 GlaxoSmithKline were fined $3 billion for fraud, overcharging and making false claims about medicines in the USA. In 2016, GlaxoSmithKline were fined £37.6 million in the UK for bribing companies not to produce generic copies of their out of patent drugs, thus overcharging the NHS.

Despite the fines, these frauds were still massively profitable for GlaxoSmithKline. A perfunctory search on the company brings up similar frauds and fines it perpetrated in South Africa and India. All this within the last decade. I cannot find any information that anyone was jailed, or even sacked, for these criminal activities. It is absolutely astonishing that such an habitually criminal enterprise carries on serenely in the UK. And what is particularly interesting today is that it carries on its crooked activity from its massive manufacturing and research base in Barnard Castle, County Durham.

On 12 April Dominic Cummings was seen in Castle Barnard during lockdown. Two days later, GlaxoSmithKline of Barnard Castle signed an agreement to develop and manufacture a Covid-19 vaccine with Sanofi of France.

Of course, that could be coincidence. As a child I lived in nearby Peterlee and I know families may go to Barnard Castle just for relaxation. Even when that is illegal. But GlaxoSmithKline Barnard Castle has been working 24/7 during the coronavirus crisis including the weekends. It was working.

The government’s extraordinary refusal to confirm or deny Cummings visit to Barnard Castle appears to make little sense if he just went there for a walk.

But surely if he was discussing Covid-19 vaccine business on behalf of the government, that would answer all the critics of his trip, would it not? They would want to trumpet it from the hills? I mean to believe otherwise, you would have to propound a crazed conspiracy theory. You would have to believe that criminal activity may be occurring again involving GlaxoSmithKline of the kind which might lead to fines of 37.6 million pounds for overcharging the NHS, or of three billion dollars for fraudulent medical claims in the USA. Nobody sane believes that kind of thing, do they?

UPDATED: I should never be surprised by the puerile nature of debate on the internet, but I frequently am. There appears to be organised pushback stating that this article is only speculation. Of course it is. It states a number of facts not generally known, and wonders if there is a connection. It does not claim to have proof Cummings visited GSK, let alone of what he did when there. But both GSK and Cummings are known bad actors.

The even sillier argument is that Barnard Castle is the research and manufacturing centre and not the corporate HQ and therefore no deal could have been done there. Because when a company is involved in a massive criminal conspiracy, as GSK undeniably was in the multi-billion fraud in the USA or its price-fixing to the NHS, such criminal actions obviously can only be arranged in the main London company boardroom during normal working hours with lots of people around and the maximum chance of inconvenient people finding out what is happening? That is a stupid argument.

Equally, those who claim I have uncovered a criminal conspiracy are wrong. I have not. All I have done is put together some circumstances around Cummings denied trip to Barnard Castle, that could potentially provide a more reasonable explanation for why he would take the risk of going there, and why the government would stake all politically on denying it, than a day trip for a walk for his wife’s birthday. I have not proven anything.

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672 thoughts on “Why Barnard Castle

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  • Derek Morison

    and then there’s a few other pieces of the jigsaw?
    Cummings worked in Russia from 1994-97
    his wife’s brother Jack Wakefield was a director of the Firtash Foundation
    Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash is fighting extradition to US on corruption charges
    the blocked Russia Report?

      • Sean_lamb

        Just out of interest, GSK was working on an antiviral treatment for respiratory syncytial virus with a smaller Australian R and D firm Biota, back in 1999. They abandoned the project when the FDA director approved GSK’s useless drug Relenza against the advice of the FDA advisory board.

        The interest of this, is that if successful, the antiviral against respiratory syncytial virus would also work against SARS-CoV 2.

    • Ruth

      Wasn’t that the time Western intelligence agencies were strippong Russia of its resources?

  • djm

    I know you’ve had a rough time recently but going down the Icke route is not going to help

    • Mark

      David Icke usually has a bit more substance to his theories. This really is wild evidence free speculation. That said Dominic Cummings is an arrogant piece of work who diserves all that’s coming his way.

      • Stonky

        Sure it’s speculation, but why is it wild? Craig has provided a clear piece of evidence that something murky was going on. Are you genuinely so silly and naive that you don’t realise that politicians nowadays rarely ever get out of the beds they share with their corporate overlords? Do you think there’s a single one who isn’t at it? Why would you think that?

        Look at Randox, the biosciences company that has just won a £133 million contract from the UK government, awarded without tender. They employ former Tory minister Owen Paterson as a “consultant” at £500 an hour and £100,000 a year.

        Paterson has a degree in history. His entire business experience prior to becoming a politician was spent in his family firm. Which makes leather. Everything Paterson could possibly know about “biosciences” could be tattooed on his bellend with a roadmender’s pneumatic drill, and still leave room for a postage stamp and a portrait of the Queen.

        Why do you think that companies like Randox pay people like Paterson £100,000 a year?

        1. Maybe because with all the expertise gleaned from his History degree and his handbag-making, Paterson provides Randox with priceless insights into their biosciences business…
        2. Maybe because with all the expertise gleaned from his political career, Paterson provides Randox with priceless access to government ministers who shell out millions of pounds of taxpayers money to lucky beneficiaries…

        Feel free to correct this piece of “wild speculation” with a better explanation. It can be as detailed as you want…

        • Mark

          No matter how much you bluster and throw insults there is still no evidence. The story does however appear to have legs and we’ll see what happens. Cummings has an awful lot of enemies if what Craig alleges is true the truth will come out. I do so hope he’s right.

          • Wee Chid

            “The truth will come out”. In the current climate that must be the ultimate mantra of the true optimist. I won’t hold my breath.

          • Stonky

            No matter how much you bluster and throw insults there is still no evidence…

            There is evidence. It’s circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence isn’t proof, but it’s still evidence.

          • Mark

            Wee Chid – Cummings is such a divisive and despised figure within both the Tory party, Cabinet Office and Civil Service I think there is a very good chance it will come out one way or another (if it is actually correct). I believe this story has a few unexpected turns yet to come, the evasiveness of Johnson at yesterdays press conference has seriously damaged his Government.

          • Lorna Campbell

            Has it damaged his government, Mark? I doubt it. Will it damage his government, if it turns out to be true? I wouldn’t bet on it? They’ll spin it to make him look like a hero, and through him, the Tory government. I can see it now: the Tory government has been leaving no stone unturned in its search for a vaccine for the British people…all we have done has been for the British people…blah, blah, blah… Many of the sponge-brained out there would soak it up.

          • Mark

            Yes I believe it has damaged his Government which now looks increasingly hypocritical, deceitful and grubby. They have a considerable back bench rebellion and are getting almost universally bad press coverage. Even the Daily Mail is now heavily putting the boot in. An awful lot of people appear to have old scores to settle against Cummings and Johnson,s defence of him is really beginning to make the cracks open up.

          • Johny Conspiranoid

            “No matter how much you bluster and throw insults ”
            What insults?

        • Shardlake

          Hello Stonky : a great deal of what you have written is already known to me as Mr Paterson is my MP and he carries a 16,000+ majority here in north Shropshire so you can imagine how those bald facts of your contribution sit with me. North Shropshire has some really poor areas sitting alongside some of the most affluent and it taxes my cognitive powers as to how he increases his majority at each general election because it stands to sense that the poor will outnumber the rich. I have to conclude that the electorate are so stupid that they vote against their own interests or they simply do not cast their votes and allow individuals like Mr Paterson into positions where he can achieve what you have described. Mr Paterson is of the same ilk as our Prime Minister : he does not have his constituents concerns to the forefront of his mind as evidenced by an initial response I once received from him when he was in opposition. I found him to be lacking in attention to the matter I was concerned about and had to write to him again on the same subject – no doubt he was laying the foundations for his own business interests at that time and it seems to have paid off.

          • Stonky

            I sympathise Shardlake. Perhaps next time you write to him you could offer to come round to his place and tattoo everything he knows about biosciences on his bellend with a roadmender’s pneumatic drill, alongside a portrait of Her Majesty. This might secure his undivided attention.

            Unfortunately, it’s likely that it would also result in a visit from Mr Plod and a certain period in custody for you. But it would provide some excellent entertainment for the rest of us, and I absolutely promise I would make a generous contribution to your defence fund.

        • Paul

          Paterson has not commented on the Cummings affair, so far. He’s my MP and I wrote to him both before and after the press briefing expressing my disgust. Having isolated for 10 weeks I felt I had a right to do that.

          • Stonky

            I sympathise with you too Paul. I think you should join Shardlake in his “art & design” project.

  • Paul

    Barnard Castle also has a prison (Deerbolt) conveniently located nearby. Could do with a few more guests then

    • Alan

      Surely if is confirmed Cummings went for a walk at Barnard Castle he is finished? And now, possibly even Boris too.

  • Kempe

    GSK’s global HQ is in Brentford. Any high level conference would’ve taken place there or at a neutral venue. No need for Cummings or anyone else to travel to one of their remote offshoots.

      • Giyane

        Pamela Balfour

        Which is the easier? To get a shot of covid vaccine couriered down to London and into the bum of an already sick man, or get the already sick man to get his own bum up to Barnard Castle?

        Cummings’ bum is already being tracked, but what’s the chances of tracking a small vial during the biggest ever boom in online buying.
        One rule for the very rich, another for the ordinary man and woman. The admin offices dont store new vaccines.

      • Stonky

        I presume, Pamela, that if you and Kempe wanted to talk to some scientists who worked in a factory, and view a process they were working on, you would go to corporate HQ and wait patiently while they dismantled their equipment in the factory, freighted it down to corporate HQ for the day, installed it, showed you the process, talked to you about it, took the kit apart again, and freighted it back up to the factory.

        It’s the obvious and logical thing to do. Yes sir it is. “Blindingly obvious”, one might even say.

        • Kempe

          ” talk to some scientists who worked in a factory, and view a process they were working on, ”

          Who said he needed or wanted to do that? You’re just making it up as you go. He could’ve been shown a video.

          It would be a waste of time anyway as he wouldn’t understand it.

        • Johny Conspiranoid

          If they didn’t want anyone to know about their meeting they would go to an out of the way place in an area where they both had an excuse for being durring the lockdown. One to visit his family and the other to visit their factory. Have there been any directors and such visiting the Barnard Castle site?
          The huge fuss about this on the BBC makes me speculate as to whether someone has got it in for DC.

      • Darryl

        Perhaps he came to Barney simply because its a quiet, beautiful market town, set in stunning surroundings, to clear his head, Perhaps he just needed to “get away”. This lockdown has affected each & every one of us. Both mentally & physically, Why do all you Rag Mag Media idiots only print negativities & pathetic conspiracies, I assume most of you are bitter Labour voters & anti Brexiteers!
        By the way Craig, GSK Barnard Castle is nowhere near their largest UK facility

    • Stonky

      GSK’s global HQ is in Brentford. Any high level conference would’ve taken place there or at a neutral venue…

      Help me out Kempe. I’m not entirely clear why an anonymous nobody on the internet would be in a position to provide an authoritative statement on exactly where a senior government advisor would or wouldn’t go to discuss some greasy deal with some Corporate crooks. Do they generally keep you up to speed on this kind of thing?

      • Kempe

        Blindingly obvious. He’d go to head office not to some remote factory. Why drive all the way up there when he could sneak into Brentford in a fraction of the time un-noticed. GSK also have an office in Mayfair, he could’ve got there on his bike.

        GSK Barnard Castle employees about 1,000 people. I doubt it’s a fraction of the size of their HQ. Irrelevant anyway.


        • Stonky

          Blindingly obvious…

          I see. Got you. “Blindingly obvious”. Dominic Cummings can’t possibly have gone to see GSK in Barnard Castle because people only always ever go to a company’s corporate headquarters to see people. Never in the history of… well, everything that’s ever been, I suppose, did anybody ever go somewhere else to see something else or talk to some other people about something. Only the corporate HQ. “Blindingly obvious”. Got you…

          • Easily Confused

            Barnyard Castle is also conveniently close to his family and his second home is it not? So a win-win, nice excuse to travel on business and to see family whilst in lockdown at the same time.

        • Jen

          The fact that Kempe believes that Cummings would go the company HQ to meet with GSK execs, in a part of London where he could be seen doing so, rather than go to some remote hidey-hole to meet with GSK execs there (and maybe also get to tour the facility), in a part of England where presumably few people would see him, is “blindingly obvious”, is perhaps the very reason why Cummings and GSK chose instead to meet in Barnard Castle.

          Because it seems that when a prominent UK politician has to meet the most senior heads of a company, they always have to meet in the most obvious place: the company headquarters. I bet even terrorists and saboteurs know this!

          • Stonky

            You’re overthinking things Jen. Cummings is one of those “nose into everything” types who would want to swank around the factory and have a look at what was happiening, nodding sagely as the scientists explain the process to him while thinking inwardly “Shit. I wish I had paid more attention in Latin. The spanner is the thingy that they hammer the screws in with, isn’t it?”

          • Kempe

            So he went all the way to Barnard Castle for a secret meeting and then blew it completely by taking a wander round the town afterwards?

            Perhaps he went there to meet the Skripals.

          • Jo

            Wonder if he claimed mileage business expenses…..if he did… means he went on business.

        • Gavin

          It’s Barnard Castle, not Ulaanbaatar. Even with the state of the roads and public transport in the North, calling it “remote” is pushing it a bit. It’s nearly civilised, even; most of the Reiver clans and wolves are gone nowadays, and it’s a few miles south of the Great Wall.

    • N_

      “No need” apart from security and deniability.

      GSK has its own man as HMG’s chief scientific officer, Patrick Vallance. The amount of money they are spending on influencing politicians, advisers (scientific or otherwise), civil servants and editors in relation to a vaccine contract must be astronomically huge.

      As well as Vallance, take a look at the US where Moncef Slaoui who also worked at GSK for a long time is now in charge of the US government’s development of a Covid-19 vaccine (Operation Warp Speed).

      This is all about £££ and the corporate state, not whether a family went for a walk.

      GSK is immensely powerful. For instance they were intimately involved in the plan to merge University College London and Imperial College which would have created the leading university in Europe and perhaps the world, in their hands. (The idea didn’t go down so well in Oxford or Cambridge.)

      Johnson may well fall…

  • Stonky

    In theory we have a democracy. The people elect politicians to govern on our behalf. Their task is to make laws which are designed, inter alia, to keep corporate excess in check.

    That has obviously been a nonsense for a very long time, with a revolving door between the politicians who feed enormous sums of money to corporate behemoths who in due course provide sinecures for their political friends.

    Over a remarkably short period of time, it must have become apparent to our overlords that, with a tame MSM marching in lockstep, they can literally do or say whatever they please. With control of the mainstream media megaphone, what they choose to be true will become true. The Skripals is a perfect example. The small numbers of people who are trying to understand what is really happening are scattered and impotent, and can easily be neutralised if they become too troublesome.

    I sense the coming of a time when they will no longer bother to pretend – just a belligerent sneer and a That’s rght – so what you gonna do about it? – and I wondered whether COVID-19 would be the tipping point.

    The greasy, squeezy way in which they’re trying to lie, excuse and cover up for Cummings suggests that that day hasn’t quite dawned. Of course we don’t know how events are going to pan out yet. It may be that this becomes the point at which we have to accept our impotence and acknowledge the dominion of the Corporatocracy.

    • David

      “The greasy, squeezy way in which they’re trying to lie, excuse and cover up for Cummings suggests that that day hasn’t quite dawned.”

      I sympathise with your points Stonky. Being, perhaps, of a somewhat more cynical mindset – I would hazard a conspiratorial guess that for “smoothing the way” for these types of deal to be finalised, a sum of gratitude… is expected and given. After an agreeable discussion.

      That would be my entirely hypothetical reason for the “greasy, squeezy way they’re (BoJo) trying to lie, excuse and cover up for Cummings”. It’s very hard to sack the man who personally negotiated that “gratitude” — or else he might get his nose out of joint and wander off to to today’s equivalent of El Vino’s of Fleet Street to share a swift glass of Chardonnay with a man of his acquaintance…

  • kashmiri

    GSK is a criminal enterprise. But I sincerely doubt an agreement can be put together in 48 hours, and that someone’s visit in person (to a local office, not to HQ) would play any role. Such agreements normally take much longer to negotiate and go through legal departments. I don’t say it’s entirely impossible, but knowing the corporate way of working, it’s highly unlikely such a contract would be signed without weeks of internal discussions, legal analyses and green lights. Unclear what someone’s presence in a field office could change – especially when GSK have their HQ next to London.

    • N_

      Who said this meeting was the start of the process that led to the signature two days later?

      The attempted rapid rebuttals of my idea regarding Cummings at Barnard Castle say a lot: “the registered HQ is somewhere else, so the plant was only a remote offshoot”, “two days is a short period”, “well said”, etc.

      • Giyane

        Never mind the rebuttals of your idea. What about my idea about the advirus getting his butt jabbed in Barnard Castle before he caught covid from his mrs?

      • kashmiri

        As people wrote, the company’s decision makers are located in Brentford. Also – consider security. Unlikely that sensitive discussions would take place on premises of a private business, under the eye of hundreds of CCTV cameras as is the case in factories. Just imagine the PR damage for the government in case of a leak. Normally sensitive meetings take place in government-controlled buildings.

        I just can’t imagine anyone would be setting up a meeting in such a remote place, making it hard for everyone to attend, when they can legally, easily and safely meet in London.

  • Jennifer Allan

    That’s interesting. The much hyped and vaunted Covid-19 vaccine being developed by the Oxford Vaccine Group is now more or less admitted to be toast, after it failed to protect monkeys from being infected. This got huge UK Government funding and of course Bill Gates was in there too. Both OVG leader Prof Pollard and Boris were recently publicly warning about a possible vaccine failure. I don’t know what’s happening about the other Covid-19 vaccine being developed at Imperial College London, but the lack of hype tells its own story. Worldwide, around a hundred vaccines are being developed with human trials begun for a few. Of course, coronaviruses are part of the common cold family of viruses, notoriously difficult to prevent or cure and continuously mutating. A professor of virology in Israel insists Covid-19 virus will be self limiting. He estimates 70 days with a peak around 35-40 days. Seems about right to me. Apparently sunlight kills the virus and generates vitamin D -known to help prevent or ameliorate Covid-19. Get sunbathing folks, and old Trump was not so daft with the hydroxychloroquine, apparently it is currently being used by medics to help Covid-19 patients.

    “Oxford University vaccine trial has only a 50% chance of success because virus is vanishing in UK – academics call for human volunteers to be infected.”
    “It can prevent pneumonia’: Oxford professor running coronavirus vaccine trial comes out in its defence after all of the monkeys given the treatment catch the disease.”
    P.S. GSK was also fined a $billion in the US over their Avandia medication, estimated to have killed thousands. Not a cheep in the UK, and then there was that bribery scandal in China. They got away with a fine of a few £hundred.

    • Antonym

      Real SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are either far off or will never be: for SARS-CoV-1 they didn’t manage in 18 years; that virus also disappeared by itself.
      The best option is to boost our own immune system. L.A. lung specialist Dr. Seheult tells here what he himself takes daily while working with Covid19 patients: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NM2A2xNLWR4
      Vitamin C, D and NAC are cheap medicines – generics over expired patents, so the MSM keep mum.

      • Barry Guillain

        Been keeping quiet about NAC hoping there won’t be run on it, shortages and price hikes. Not a preventative but may help the lungs once you’re strugling. Less dangerous than hamfisted intubation.
        Vaccines? Novartis Fluad 2014, Italy. Exhonerated after a quick check of the paperwork.

    • Martin Evans

      If you want to know more about this post, just skip to the sources quoted. Not exactly Lancet or Nature.

  • Leslie Ross

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t the vaccine developers also get probably the most comprehensive database of British citizens, assembled from health and and other socioeconomic records (HMRC and Work & Pensions?) to draw on, to formulate delivery strategies/assess results?

    Who might have an interest in getting their hands on that before the next election?

  • N_

    For some background for getting a handle on Boris Johnson’s reference at his press conference fiasco to the Cummings family’s need for “the right kind of childcare”, see Dominic Cummings’s wife Mary Wakefield’s 2016 article about her pregnancy. One is of course sympathetic to her on a personal level. She is, by the way, a convert to Rome – as her husband’s hero John von Neumann also was. I have no reason to doubt her sincerity but doubtless it does no harm to her career at the Spectator. They’ve done “childcare” and “dead uncle”; “autism” may possibly be next, with or without a reference to Cummings’s own chronic health issue.

    Various rumours are being professionally put out right now, including about Boris Johnson. If Johnson falls in ignominy it surely won’t be Michael Gove who takes over. Could there be a handover from Eton to Winchester with Rishi Sunak moving from No.11 to No.10 and Old Etonian Jacob Rees-Mogg replacing him at the Treasury?

    • N_

      Church of England bishops appear to be lining up to attack Boris Johnson for defending Dominic Cummings!

    • Giyane


      Liars love liars. Lots of people adore Boris for that one special trait and his Saxon blonde hair.
      Rees-Mogg is just about to hit the gambling on failure jackpot from hedge-funding when UK plc goes bankrupt at the end of the year.
      I suspect Viking Northerners adore Cummings for similar reasons. The team is the Nasty Part dream team.

      Viking Christianity was linked to the Orthodox traditions of illumination and doctrine which is totally different from Augustine guilt and sin. But I suppose a regular confessional might go along with daily commission of political lying.

      Every faith that originally casts light on the human condition eventually becomes corrupted. We are in the last shreds of Enlightenment Prrotestant work ethic Judaism, and this enforced holiday will probably wipe out the idea of work for ever in the form it has taken for the last 1000 years.
      It isn’t nice living in the putrfaction stage of an ancient civilisation.

      • Los

        “Non Angli sed angeli”.

        Probably some bloodline picked up from an Ottoman slave market.

        • Giyane

          Many seafarers and ‘ privateers ‘ licenced by the King to attack French and Dutch ships, embraced Islam in the 18th century
          And many of those must have had blonde hair. Ottoman slave markets ! Nasty.

  • N_

    FWIW, Neil Ferguson, the government scientific adviser who resigned after breaking lockdown rules, has been paid by Glaxo Smith Kline too, just as Patrick Vallance, still the chief such adviser, was for years.

  • Reliably

    Cummings was back and forth between Durham and London. At Barnard Castle on 12 April, then back in London on 14 April (the day of the GSK deal), then back to Durham.

    Although only one witness has been cited so far, there are multiple witnesses to the Barnard Castle excursion. One thing that has not been confirmed (that I’ve seen anyway) is whether those sightings were on the same day.

    Cummings has been suspicious since he was seen running away from No. 10 in March. First we were told he had coronavirus symptoms (which of course explains why he was running down the road), then it was his wife (this after the Cummings sightings in Durham), then she writes a first-person account for the Spectator about how Cummings collapsed ‘from coronavirus symptoms’ and nearly went to hospital. Right.

    The Spectator piece is a cover story. If your spouse collapses, you call the paramedics. That’s true even when there’s not a pandemic and it’s even truer when there’s a deadly pandemic going on and your spouse has been exposed and has symptoms.

    Or maybe it’s just Tory tough love. Herd immunity and all that, collapsed in a heap on the parquet.

    Cummings and his tales of his symptoms and his wife’s symptoms and collapsing and visiting elderly parents (the first people you go to when you know you’ve been exposed to covid-19 and have symptoms) and childcare and the Spectator article and the secret back-and-forths to No. 10 – that all looks like a ruse to cover for something. It’s simply not believable when taken at face value.

    And then Johnson won’t say anything about Barnard Castle.

    Of course, this was Cummings business because he’s not a minister. As umpteen reports state, he would’ve had to resign by now if he held a ministerial post.

    Thanks, Craig, for bringing this to light.

    • Borncynical

      I agree that nothing about this rings true. After the story about Cummings trip(s) up North came out I looked into Mary Wakefield’s report of events in the Spectator. Whilst the whole article was behind a paywall, I found a summary elsewhere and it was laughable. Like you, it struck me that if his condition was as bad as she described there is no doubt you would have phoned for an ambulance. And of course the constant impression given was that they were in London. If it was all so excusable and legitimate, why not mention the drama of the trip up North? And presumably they were both already suffering the effects of Covid-19 when they made the journey; Wakefield’s article said that “he spent 10 days bedridden with the disease after coming home to nurse [her] through a milder case”, implying that she went down with it first. The No 10 announcement on Monday 30 March declared that DC “is self-isolating with symptoms”. The BBC mentioned last night that they made the car journey on 31 March which, interestingly, if accurate was the very same day that Durham police were informed. And can they claim not to have stopped at any service area, if only for a comfort break, especially if, as it would appear, they were both suffering Covid-19 symptoms? Childcare and safety clearly wasn’t in their minds if we are to believe they all embarked on a lengthy car journey while suffering the supposedly debilitating effects of Covid-19.

      It is also noteworthy that Mary Wakefield’s brother lives in London (possibly Kensington & Chelsea area) so they don’t appear to have been without access to a nearby support network if the worst had come to the worst. They would all appear to be in close contact as DC was a close friend of the brother, Jack, and that is how he met Mary. Would someone from No 10 not have been able to step in and assume some practical responsiblity in the unlikely event that both one of their key advisers and his wife became seriously ill with Covid19?

      The nonsense of the story is of less concern to me than Boris Johnson’s attempt to cover it up. Yesterday’s press briefing was a classic case, which we have seen so often before from the Government in recent years, of arrogantly not answering the questions that would satisfy legitimate curiosity and, if above board, put the matter to rest. As we know, Boris Johnson, has been caught out before on at least two occasions for blatantly lying. So I’m afraid when he states that certain claims are “palpably untrue” my immediate reaction is to see that as confirmation that they are true!

      I have heard (second-hand admittedly) that some are saying that it is Dominic Cummings who is the mastermind behind the Government’s actions on the pandemic and Johnson would be so at sea without him that he cannot allow him to go for fear that his own sheer incompetence would immediately become evident. Alternatively DC knows too much about decisions that have been made to allow him to become a free-agent with the risk that he might spill the beans. These really can be the only explanations for Boris Johnson inexplicably and desperately sticking behind Cummings, and this is what we should all be focusing on.

      I think this episode is going to run and run. But I can see Johnson’s own position becoming untenable especially if he is found to have publicly lied himself (re “palpably untrue”). Maybe Johnson does have a career death wish to extricate himself from the ongoing ‘headless chicken’ mess presented by the Government’s amateurish handling of the pandemic.

  • Peter

    Great spot – well done Mr Murray, whatever the relevance turns out to be – see what you can achieve when you’re a real journalist.

    However …

    What do Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings and Brexit all have in common?

    Too easy.

    The Establishment wants to see the back of all of them – because they are all, in their own ways, anti-Establishment.

    They’ve already seen off Corbyn, now they could possibly polish off the last three via this Cummings business.

    Hence the wall to wall, end to end blanket coverage of the Cummings affair in the media on Sunday including in our beloved BBC which, by my reckoning, devoted around 90%+ of its news time, including Marr, to an all-out assault on Cummings.

    Expect more of the same today, tomorrow and the day after … .

    Tom Newton Dunn of The Sun believes Cummings won’t last the week. Not because of the nature of the charges against him, but because the media will make it virtually impossible for him to carry on – we shall see.

    I’m no friend/supporter of Cummings/Johnson/Conservatives but having seen the way that Corbyn was treated/mistreated, a part of me views the current situation as just more of the same and therefore wants to see Cummings survive, for now at least – if he has been involved in corrupt shenanigans in Barnard Castle he can be got on that later.

    It’s high past time someone got one over on our revolting, spineless, arsekiss excuse of a media.

    • Xavi

      Yes, very suspicious the way the BBC is gunning for Cummings’ head. I think it is because under his direction Johnson is straying worryingly from the one true path (ditching the Randian Javid, instituting the furlough, etc). The BBC has been way out in front in pushing for mass austerity to “pay back’ the Corona debt. Even the likes of Alistair Heath, the IEA, and the Adam Smith Institute are saying the government can live with the debt. There is also the residual bitterness from the epochal defeat in 2016. Now there is a safely pro-Establishment opposition they can go for Cummings and Johnson with a full-on propaganda blitz.

    • Giyane

      The privileged rich can beat the virus with plasma injections. All pharmaceutical companies in the world are trialling plasma therapy. Boris got his delivered to St Thomas’s Hospital for security reasons, but Cummings thought Heck, I only live a few miles from Barnard castle, I’ll just pop up and get me jab , and stay at my place in Durham .
      No big drama at all.

      The only drama of the story is why the fxxx rich people should be able to access simple remedies against suffocation by covid19 while hundreds of thousands of poor people can’t
      It doesn’t look nice does it? No says Cummings , I dont care what looks nice to you lot, I only care about my being able to continue to breathe.
      Cummings is not a government trade negotiator for pharmaceuticals. His job is Brexit. Nothing to do with vaccines .

    • Xavi

      Kuennsberg is part of Johnson’s personal court it looks to me like the BBC as a whole are now determined to bring him down.

      • SA

        I don’t see that unity of purpose unlike that which brought down Corbyn. I think some journalists in the BBC are breaking rank and have been very critical of the government not being able to stomach the incompetence anymore, whilst some like Kuensberg are still toeing the government line.

        • Xavi


          The incompetence is largely attributable to the defunding of the NHS and the decade of austerity the BBC supported and promoted based on a giant lie. I do not see the BBC as a defender of the national interest or public good I’m past that.

        • Penguin

          That’s SIR Keir to you, peasant!

          Mind he failed to sack either Kinnock for travelling to Wales for Daddie’s birthday, or Murray for his Edinburgh – Westminster -Edinburgh excursion, so is incapable of condemning Cummings.

          The same Sir KS failed to prosecute J Saville for several thousand cases of child abuse, rape, and necrophilia, and also managed to block an inquiry into the murder of J C DeM will do exactly what is expected of him.

  • Roddy Smith

    A brave man, committed to a fair society where transparency exists, but Craig Murray is fighting to expose the dark side of the Establishment as it is driven purely by financial gain at a cost to all other considerations valued by decent minded people. We need more honest and brave souls to expose the hidden side of so many practices that are meant to serve the public but serve the Establishment first, while purporting to deliver what the public expects and believes it is getting as the propaganda flows. Respect to a soldier of conscience. My admiration for your cause to improve society by exposing corrupt practices.

  • Sam

    I never understood how the UK could have taxpayer-funded hospitals, taxpayer-funded health care, taxpayer-funded medical research but then a gigantic, profit raping criminal middleman (GSK) selling pills to those self-same taxpayers.

    In other words, how is it that the NHS is (more or less) nationalized but Big Pharma isn’t? It’s unbelievable!

    • Bayard

      Not really unbelievable, it just shows that, after WWII, it was one of the businesses that had enough clout to avoid nationalisation, like the banks, the publishers, the newspapers etc.

    • Mr Shigemitsu

      Taxpayers don’t fund hospitals, healthcare, medical research, or anything else.

      The govt spends by creating the requisite amount of currency, via a keystroke on a BoE computer, and hoovers up the excess incrementally at each initial and subsequent transaction to avoid inflation.

      It can afford anything for sale in Sterling and is only constrained by the capacity of the real economy, not by how much sterling it can create – the amount of which is unlimited.

      Did you or I, or anyone else, get a massive and extraordinary tax bill before Rishi Sunak could bail out the economy to the tune of hundreds of billions of pounds over the last two months?

      No, of course not, because that’s not how it works in a nation such as the UK with its own sovereign nonconvertible fiat currency.

      Govt spends first and taxes later, to prevent runaway inflation. Thatcher was 100% wrong, the govt is never financially constrained – and we can have nice things!


  • James

    Craig Murray …. well, I’m sorry to say that you have just provided Dominic Cummings with a very good reason to be in Barnard Castle. Right now, people want to see a vaccine developed and they’re prepared to see the government putting substantial sums of money in that direction. Yes – everybody is aware that there are a lot of money-grabbing criminals involved with pharmaceutical companies and GlaxoSmithKline perhaps worse than most. But as you say, `GlaxoSmithKline Barnard Castle has been working 24/7 during the coronavirus crisis including the weekends.’ The government has to engage in discussions with pharmaceutical companies, some of these discussions have to be kept secret.

    You may well have inadvertently made Dominic Cummings trip to Barnard Castle look reasonable, thus torpedoing a great reason to have him removed.
    (I do agree with those who suggest that this is at best throwing good money at a project which probably won’t work – and at worst a case of criminals trousering vast sums of money – but that is not the point. Dominic Cummings trip to Barnard Castle now no longer looks like a sacking offence)

    • John+A

      Why could Cummings not have a zoom call with the people at Barnard Castle? Why the secrecy if the trip was reasonable? You must try harder next time when attempting to defend the indefensible.

      • James

        You mark my words – they’ll pull the `very important government business’ excuse (total rubbish of course – but that won’t stop them using it) and Dominic Cummings will remain in place/

        Whereas – he probably wouldn’t have survived otherwise when they have to admit that he made a second trip.
        I’d be prepared to bet you one pint on this if it were possible.

  • MrSoft

    Are you seriously saying that Cummings took his family with him to a secret and illegal meeting at the GSK manufacturing site, then they went for a stroll in Barnard Castle town afterwards???

    I think you may have become rather stressed with your hearing coming up. The weather is looking good now so I suggest you relax and enjoy it and try to ignore the Government lies for a few days.

    • craig Post author

      Of course. I understand for example that when GSK perpetrated the multi-billion criminal fraud in the USA, admitted as such, all the criminal arrangements were only made formally in the boardroom with all the participants listed in the diary and everything formally minuted.

      It is perfectly possible he can have left his wife at the beauty spot or in the town while he called in to GSK for a meeting. That is something I have done fairly frequently with my own family. DO not be such a complete arse.

      • MrSoft

        I don’t use gratuitous insults and I take a dim view of people who do. An apology would be nice.

        • Stonky

          Insults aren’t gratuitoius when they’re provoked. “Are you really saying… (as a common variant of “So what you’re saying is…”) followed by something that bears no resemblance to what the person is saying or has said, is a fairly standard way to provoke an insult.

          It’s easy to prove me wrong. You just have to point to the bit in the article where Craig said that Cummings took his family with him to a secret and illegal meeting at the GSK manufacturing site. Then you win the internet.

        • Bayard

          “I don’t use gratuitous insults and I take a dim view of people who do.”

          No, but you do a great line in patronising remarks: “I think you may have become rather stressed with your hearing coming up.”

    • Ruth

      ‘Are you seriously saying that Cummings took his family with him to a secret and illegal meeting at the GSK manufacturing site, then they went for a stroll in Barnard Castle town afterwards???’

      How ridiculous suggesting he would take his family with him to the meeting. Little kids can spend hours in playgrounds with their mothers.
      I think Craig has got it right and you, whoever you are, are worried.

    • Stonky

      Haven’t we got a bet Mr Soft? Would you like to call it in while your’e busy chatting with Craig? Maybe he can give you the final results…

  • Mrs Pau!

    Emma Walmsley CEO of GSK lives in South west London and is based there. Chairman Sir Jonathan Symonds GSK Chairman, is a¿ City of London big wig with a cupboard full of directorships and presumably also lives in London although he may of course be quarantined out at his country estate at present. Still he is mates with Tory peer and HoL member Lord Ghadia who could act as a go between with the cabinet for any secret deal

    Still let us assume that for some unknown all GSK management are currently holed up in Co. Durham? Don’t any of them have access to Zoom or Microsoft Teams or if they really want to talk in private, a private helicopter?

    • craig Post author

      Yes of course, I have no doubt that when GSK perpetrated their multi billion dollar fraud in the USA, all of the criminal arrangements were made in the main boardroom and they very happily discussed the criminal details over the internet.

      • Shardlake

        People in such sensitive positions may now not discuss details over the internet because they have the potential to be hacked or compromised, which lends credence to the possibility of a personal visit by Mr Cummings. While government advice in this current crisis is to work from home where possible, I do know of one MOD employee who has to travel a considerable commute each day because to work from home might render his sensitive work a target for a hacker. I’m sure all the work Mr Cummings undertakes is subject to similar secrecy.

  • Pyewacket

    Heard elsewhere yesterday, that Cummings’ visits to Durham, curiously coincided with both his Mother’s and Wife’s birthdays. Had a look see, and indeed, Mary Wakefied, Dom’s missus’ DOB is 12th April 1975. Don’t know about his Mum’s yet, and only that she’s called Morag. Anyway, perhaps a simpler explanation than clandestine visits to pharmaceutical labs when by all reports of those that saw them, they were just chilling.

    • craig Post author

      I really do not know what you people are on – if you are indeed different people. I do not claim Cummings was in GSK, it merely seems to me an alternative explanation of why the government is so desperate to deny that he was. But the notion that as he was seen in town with his wife he could not have visited GSK is so obviously stupid I am suspicious of those who keep posting it.

  • Jm

    Very interesting post indeed Craig,thank you.

    There does seem to be an awful lot of very obvious denial-trolls jumping onto the comments.

    I wonder why?

  • judy richards

    Sanofi have factory in Haverhill suffolk matt hancocks constituency.
    Just saying.

  • Paul Cassidy

    So… Cummings broke his own rules a second time… AND TOOK HIS FAMILY WITH HIM to broker a deal?

    No wonder there are so many people burning down 5G masts, when people like you are writing pathetic articles like this. Cummings broke his own rules — twice. That’s all there is to it.

    In case you haven’t noticed, most intelligent people have been conducting their business meetings using Zoom etc. Why would any company invite someone to visit when they are suspected of having the virus? You astound next.

      • Bayard

        Not only that, but this very point has been answered a few comments further up, which suggests either troll or humanoid.

  • Gary Evans

    Just subscribed, been a recent convert to your blog ( Salmond trial) but am impressed with your credentials and am sure you’re not a “loose cannon “ ! Good luck with the investigative journalism, it’s really insightful.

    • Billl Thomson

      Less carcinogenic than a rasher of crispy bacon, ratinidine also causes global warming.

    • frankywiggles

      No, it’s a highly plausible scenario considering how shady both GSK and Cummings are. Puerile is thinking you can dismiss it without offering a reason.

    • Jm

      Stephen Myers.

      No,it certainly isn’t puerile rubbish at all.

      Its highly intriguing.

      • James

        Yes – but I would have preferred to see Dominic Cummings getting kicked out first.
        They might be able to manufacture this into an excuse that he was on very important government business.

  • Ruth

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Barnard Castle doesn’t seem to have any special tourist attractions and after you’ve been really ill why drive 30 miles unless of course you had a friend there though why would you unnecessarily put someone in danger. Secretly funding a company and keeping the profits for the Establishment makes complete sense. Surely this went on in the Al Yamamah deal and no doubt many other deals.

    • Goodwin

      “Barnard Castle doesn’t seem to have any special tourist attraction”
      I think you’ll find it does, not least Barnard Castle itself. Admittedly, most attractions are probably closed.

      • Ruth

        Goodwin, you’re right. Barnard Castle does have some really interesting places to visit. I’ve checked three of the best places and they’re closed

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Ah, but would GSK risk dealing with delusional nutter “moonbase Britannia” Cummings?

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