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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  • SayLess

    The facts, even if coincidence, are far too important to ignore. I missed the Cummings briefing, so can someone fill me in – did anyone ask about the GlaxoSmithKlein/vaccine aspect of this?

    • Angela+Woolridge

      No they didn’t. And also they didn’t ask him where he bought his fuel from before he left London for Durham bearing in mind the whole family had Covid.

    • Jane Wright

      No.it was never mentioned I think the article needs sharing ASAP on social media. But not sure who can do this.

      • ModReb

        Anybody can post a link on Twitter or Facebook and many have already done so, including Clive Lewis MP as Craig relates above.

      • Not sure I should say

        I agree there is a lot of synthetic indignation. I am a remainer and a labour voter but this trip doesn’t feel like the worst thing Cummings has done – showing Brexit adverts to people calculated to be angry and disenfranchised and hiding them from the Electoral Commision is worse.
        The thing about the trip that annoys me is that it is so illogical, and yet he gets to sit in on SAGE.
        Small children possibly infected? Make elderly parents your childcare plan.
        Got COVID? Travel to where hospitals are less able to cope.
        Obviously you stay put, in a capital city that’s built extra hospital capacity, and employ a young, fit nanny in PPE.
        Your article puts a new slant on things.
        There is evidence of corruption and government links/shares in private healthcare and pharmaceutical companies all over the shop. As a victim of the mesh implant scandal, I have no doubt this could be something. Or it could not. We need the press on this…and we need close scrutiny of all vaccine finances and interests. And a sunshine payment act!

    • Comminus

      Two dates may be significant here.

      1. Cummings left for the North East on the day his uncle died. Was comforting his mother, the dead mans sister a factor in his trip north?

      2. He visited barnard castle with his wife and son on the date of his wifes birthday.

    • philip harrison

      Sick to Death of conspiracy theories !! It’s getting more and more like America ffs, look at the social media outside his house ! Where they confirming to the lock down measures ? Should they be fined, Dismissed from their Place of work ? With not conforming to the lock down rules ? Christ get a Grip, No Doubt their will be something of Greater importance the Vultures can report on, A rule for one and not for others its about time the Media took a look in the Mirror.

  • Dafydd

    In the case of Dominic Cummings I must admit that facing the same circumstances I would have done the same.

    We’ve observed from recent history that the official line can in some circumstances be totally inappropriate, notably the advice given to the residence of the Grenfell flats to stay put and not to evacuate.

    In the case of Dominic Cummings, he had no idea of what the future would hold for his family or what the consequences of his actions would be either way.

    Dominic however made a decision, I assume, on purely what would be in the interest of his child, and for this he is castigated. ( If this is found to be untrue – only then will I change my mind.)

    Government guidelines or even the law cannot cover every eventuality or personal dilemma especially if these guidelines have been drawn up in haste.

    Were Dominic’s actions that of a caring or uncaring parent, were his motives honourable and were his actions motivated by anything other than perceived necessity?

    It has struck me as disingenuous the outrage displayed over Dominic Cummings‘ behaviour, compared to the general acceptance (without condemnation) for the need for free PrEP (which I agree with) for those men who prefer not to use condoms knowing their action might otherwise result in the transmission of HIV but accepting that it will not prevent the transmission of other sexually transmitted diseases.

    If you think his actions had the potential for spreading Covid-19 then you should condemn all such actions including the actions of the press pack that follow him and who do not show any attempt at social distancing but then the main stream media would have to examine their own actions.

    There is indignation and synthetic indignation, I think I know what this is.

    Please note I have never voted Conservative in my life and have no intention of ever doing so and I wrote this before todays 10 Downing Street briefing.

    • craig Post author


      Whether or not the lockdown rules made sense is not the point. The point is those enforcing them on everybody else not following them personally.

      • Dafydd

        Thank you Craig.

        I respect your view however it is hard to second guess someones actions in the heat of the moment. Actions taken by people when analysed in hindsight should always take into account the adrenaline rush of the moment. If you make a wrong decision hopefully it will be judged in context.
        True, I am not a government adviser and my perspective would be vastly dissimilar to Dominic’s.
        What would you have done in his circumstances? Having a reputation for doing the right thing rather than what your superiors expect, I suspect you might have followed a similar path to Dominic’s (politics aside).

        • Ken Kenn

          Two things were revealed by Cummings and Johnson today/tonight.

          After denying yesterday that he went to Barnard Castlehe now says he went there just to test his eyesight and the legs he couldn’t walk on prior to going to Durham.

          Can his wife not drive?

          Secondly and just as importantly – Johnson wafted past a question as to whether he knew about Cummings’ ‘trip up North’

          Johnson said he knew but thought nothing about it as he was too ill ( possibly delirious? ) so he forgot about the info,.

          Which is strange because Raab – standing in for the PM at that time – said he ( Johnson ) was working through his daily Red Box tasks whilst in hospital.

          It’s pretty simple really: The advice drawn up by Johnson with the advice of Cummings on the advice of the SAGE group was to self isolate for 7 days and if members of the family become infected or think they may be infected they should ALL self isolate for 14 days.

          At their Primary ( not at the half share ‘ estate ‘ – not the Caravan at Talacre ) Residence.

          That was in London three streets away from his Sister in Law apparently.

          What’s hard to understand about that?

          Unless he’s either thick or special – take your pick.

          The Barnard Castle connection needs sleuthing.

          Conspiracy theories are built on coincidence but this is interesting to say the least.

          With this lot running the show nothing would surprise me.

          What does surprise me is that Cummings – who is supposedly very clever – thought he’d never be seen doing the deed he was doing whatever it was.

          Let’s see what The Durham Constabulary come up with.

          • N_

            His wife can drive. She wrote an article describing her experience driving in the US. Whether she has a current licence and is insured and medically fit I dont know. No journalist at today’s press conference dared to ask “Why didn’t she drive?”

            Her Spectator piece is disingenuous to say the least.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ Ken Kenn May 25, 2020 at 22:37
            Some CCTV coverage? Maybe Cummings driving into GSK? Someone in the area could check out the CCTV sites around the factory, then try to get them checked.
            If any MSM have been on the case, they could be approached with the CCTV positions, and they could approach the police.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ N_ May 26, 2020 at 01:04
            I hope she drove on the ‘right’ side of the road in the States.

        • lysias

          If you think the rules are wrong and intend to disobey them, shouldn’t you resign?

    • Laguerre

      As Cummings himself said, he did not even investigate the possibilities of local care for his infant, before fleeing the capital. His sister-in-law lives a few streets away. Couldn’t she have delivered groceries, or done something for the kid? Or even as an employee of no 10, did he not have access to services that we don’t have?

      No, he just did what the aristocrats of old did when faced with the plague, never mind the public rule he himself was involved in making, flee the capital, and prevent the plebs from doing the same.

      I’m not surprised Tories are angry. We’ll see whether they’re calmed by today’s declaration.

      • cassio21

        Except that Cummings returned to the capital within a fortnight or so, whereas the aristos whom you cite did not.

        Your observation is thereby irrelevant.

        • ModReb

          It’s a brilliant observation. That’s exactly the issue here – Cummings is supposedly an anti-establishment figure, but nothing could more clearly reveal his class and political privilege than the action he took. And now he reveals his utter contempt for the same plebs who voted Leave, by defending breaking the rules that they have been exhorted and forced to obey. They ain’t gonna like it.

          And everyone knows that either rules are discretionary, or they aren’t. Cock-up by the government

      • Tarla

        If you need child care then the advice is get in touch with the Local Authority Hub. He failed to follow his/government’s advice.

        • Glasshopper

          You’d put your kids in care when you were ill rather than go to your family?

          I hope you never have kids.

    • Richard Coldman

      Hypocrisy is hypocrisy. Simple as that for anyone whose moral compass is at hand.

    • Annie Wilkinson

      Yep putting your child in a small enclosed space with 2 people who think they have a very infectious virus and driving for hours is absolutely putting your child’s welfare first. Us mere mortals would possibly had our kids taken into care for such an action
      You are believing a complete pack of lies if you swallow this story from an unelected prize twat

    • Simon Brown

      It may have been a case of trying to kill 2 birds with one stone.
      He was sick or getting sick. His wife was sick or getting sick. Sourcing the specialist childcare his child needs is impossible during lockdown. People who will be able to look after his son – who his son with recognise (given his son’s special needs) are up in Durham therefore he must go to Durham. He and his wife may end up incapacitated, potentially for a long period, potentially permanently.
      He also feels he must go to Durham to comfort his mother. Therefore he must take his family with him.
      While in Durham he realises GSK are just down the road and having been playing answerphone tennis with them for weeks he reckons it’s better to go talk to them in person. Also right now people just aren’t picking up phones. All those PPE suppliers and manufacturers who couldn’t get through to the government or NHS. So he goes to Barnard Castle to speak to GSK. This is actually a matter of national importance – or could be. Also Barnard Castle is nice.

      In that case: Why. Not. Just. Be. Honest.

      “I broke the lockdown, I wasn’t in my right mind, I tried and couldn’t get backup care for my disabled son in London, I knew I could there”.
      “Once I was there I realised the vaccine office of one of the UK’s biggest vaccine producers is down the road and I thought I might as well try to redeem my illegal trip by at least doing SOMETHING in the national interest. Now they’re going to hopefully sign a deal with Sanofi to provide drug adjuvants for the new vaccine which will save lives. We also went to Barnard Castle to see the castle – we were already there, my son is little, it was to distract him as much as anything”.

      And then – Johnson – rather than inadvertently condemn everyone who has lost a loved one and couldn’t break the lockdown to say goodbye to their father / sibling or child – just come out and condemn the trips. And if there was some additional justification mention that too but not as an excuse, simply to say “he was also at least doing SOMETHING reasonable”.

      It’s not just what they do it’s they way they go about doing it. They’re acting suspicious even with they aren’t doing anything suspicious…

    • stephen potter

      your position is Cummings action was the reasonable course of action to take under the circumstances, ok I get your point, under normal circumstances it makes sense. However we were in the middle of a major pandemic , if everyone thought and acted the same way, the lock-down would have failed as millions of people drove around the country dropping off the kids/grandparents to their destinations. Millions of people wrestled with exactly the same scenarios, and came to the horrific conclusion that the right thing to do was ‘stay home’ . To miss funerals/births/sickness has been the norm, but that doesn’t change the sorrow people feel for having missed out on major life events, the torture people have been through, those very very hard decisions so many had to make, to respect the health of their fellow citizens and family. All of this is thrown back in their faces by Cumming and Johnson. The Anger is real

  • Jennifer Allan

    “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.”
    Getting vaccine deals through? The UK Government has spent £millions on Covid-19 vaccine development.There were high hopes of the vaccine developed by the Oxford Vaccine Group, currently undergoing human trials. Unfortunately, the monkeys administered the vaccine went on to be infected with the virus anyway. They now want human volunteers to be deliberately infected with Covid-19 to test the efficacy of the vaccine. They are worried the virus, already diminishing rapidly in the UK might disappear on its own before a vaccine becomes available. In spite of all these failures the OVG is determined to continue with the plan for AstraZeneca to make one billion doses of Oxford University’s ‘promising’ jab.

    This is dangerous science. Should this project be entrusted to a person who thinks it’s OK to test his eyesight by driving a car (with family in), and scientists who want to deliberately infect volunteers with a potentially dangerous virus in order to test vaccine efficacy?
    “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

    • Government struck a deal for 100 million doses of the jab ‘as early as possible’
    • Ministers hoped a third of them would be ready to roll out for use in September
    • But Prof Adrian Hill said the rapidly disappearing virus is creating problems
    • If volunteers don’t catch it, scientists can’t prove the vaccine makes a difference
    • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

    PUBLISHED: 23:08, 23 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:22, 24 May 2020″

    • Sandra

      If the Oxford University vaccine is rolled out, then it would be the first time that a vaccine of this type is used.
      Apparently, a modified version of the common cold virus is modified to not cause disease but carry some genetic material of SAR-CoV-2. This material then infects human cells, turning them into factories producing one of the SARS-CoV-2 proteins, which in turn trigger an immune response and should protect people against future infection.
      This type of vaccine was produced for the first SARS and MERS outbreaks but the diseases died down before the vaccines were used.

      • Jennifer Allan

        Sandra – It begs the question. If Covid-19 turns out to be a self limiting virus like SARS and MERS. We don’t NEED a vaccine, any vaccine. I don’t buy all that guff emanating from the heavily pharma financed WHO about ‘second waves of Covid-19’ or the suggestion the virus might be with us for ‘years’. These are just fanciful hypotheses.

        • Mightydrunken

          Not sure what you mean by self limiting. The reason why neither SARS or MERS have become too much of a problem is that they are not very infectious and therefore have not caused a pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 is infectious enough to cause a pandemic and like its cousin HCoV-OC43 ( which causes about 10% of colds) is likely to circulate forever until widespread vaccination occurs.
          With only about 5% of the UK population having antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 there is every reason to think that any loosening of the lockdown will cause a resurgence of the virus. To think otherwise is fanciful.

        • Sandra

          Jennifer – Let’s hope it won’t be needed because I don’t fancy this new type of vaccine – I’m wary enough about what’s in the ‘flu jab.
          Bill Gates thinks that one in a thousand people may be harmed by a vaccine for SARS CoV-2, that is 700,000 people worldwide, and, so, governments would have to provide indemnity cover for vaccination agencies.
          From CNBC, 9 April, about 10:50 mins in to 13 mins:

          • Jennifer Allan

            Thank you Sandra. The problem with vaccines generally is they have become far too commercial. In the UK and US, vaccine manufacturers have total indemnity from any vaccine damage. This has resulted in safety trials often being rushed or essential steps in the process being skipped. There is also ‘The law of unexpected consequences’, as happened with Pandemrix, the GSK H1N1 Swine Flu vaccine for the ‘pandemic that never was’, 2009-10.

            Honest researchers, who report potential problems with vaccines or other potentially lucrative products such as GM foods, (Remember Professor Pusztai?), tend to get sacked, and their research publicly trashed. In Finland, a worried research scientist noticed an unusually large number of children developed narcolepsy after administration of Pandemrix. To their credit, the Finnish Government put their hands up and compensated all the children. In the UK and Ireland, Pandemrix narcolepsy victims are still fighting for compensation.(Pandemrix was not used in the US).
            For your interest, and for anyone involved in the UK Governments’ present obsession with a Covid-19 vaccine. Here’s the Reuters report on Pandemrix. We MUST learn lessons from the past:-

            “SPECIAL REPORT – How vaccine scares cast shadows over science
            By Kate Kelland, Health and Science Correspondent
            HELSINKI | Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:02pm IST
            (Reuters) – “At a Finnish medical convention in January 2011, a colleague approached neurologist Markku Partinen, laid a hand on his shoulder and said: “Markku, it’s going to be a bad year for you.”
            In the following months, other scientists ridiculed him, questioned his methods and motives, and raised doubts about his mental stability. Colleagues began crossing the street to avoid him, he says.
            Partinen, director of the Helsinki Sleep Clinic and Research Centre, had raised the alarm about a GlaxoSmithKline vaccine called Pandemrix. He had discovered the drug, used to protect people from H1N1 swine flu, may be linked to a jump in cases of narcolepsy, a rare sleep disorder, in children and young people. He knew his findings might help limit the risks of narcolepsy for other children around the world, but was fearful nonetheless. The work was bound to generate scientific suspicion and public anxiety. Indeed, he struggled to get his paper on the vaccine published.”

          • Sandra

            Thanks for the info, Jennifer. These whistle blowers are so brave – those with big bucks can act likes big bullies with impunity, it seems.
            I look on mass vaccination programmes as herd medicine, really. It’s known beforehand that a percentage will be damaged but, overall, it makes economic sense.

    • N_

      What is the British government planning to do with 100 million doses?

      Using monkeys in such tests should be a crime, and I hope one day the law is changed retrospectively so the perpetrators can be handed long jail sentences.

    • ramblingidiot

      This argument seems ridiculous. The virus is vanishing in the UK therefore a vaccine may not be necessary? Personally I doubt whether any of these vaccines will work anyway but obviously the establishment is going to keep pushing for one regardless. The virus epidemic will subside but will always be here. The potential money making opportunity isn’t going to go away.

    • Karel

      I am now convinced that Barnard castle is probably the best place in the UK to test your eyesight. I would recommend to those with ophthalmic problems to drive there, make a few rounds around the GBS plant and watch how your eyesight miraculously recovers. The place could become Lourds of the North for pilgermage of the blind.

    • N_

      Then there is this moronic piece by Joel Golby in the Guardian. He clearly thinks he is being terribly amusing when he writes “I have never wanted to see a small Teesdale market town so much in my squalid little life. I cannot imagine the precious selection of keychains the gift shops there must have. I would risk it all for Barnard Castle.” Not only is his writing style a heap of pants, but he doesn’t realise he sounds like a small-minded ignoramus who believes everybody who lives somewhere different from the part of the world he himself resides in is stupid, and that the principal purpose of towns outside of London is to serve as theme parks that sell keychains to daytripping sophisticates from London. He needs to get out of his village more.

  • Reliably

    Why is it the provenance of a political adviser to be making vaccine deals during a pandemic crisis?

    • Nigel Day

      There is no research at GSK at Barnard Castle. It is a manufacturing facility.

    • mark hamilton

      You ask a very important question in your post of 25.5.2020, which in my view clearly needs further investigation. It adds hugely to the dubiety of Cummings’ statement.

  • Jm

    Very strange performance by Cummings.

    Very loud noise throughout the first few minutes ..deliberate to garble the message?

    His body language and voice modulations were fascinating too…definitely voice and body tension during Barnard Castle segment.

    Trolls all over this site today too,much more than usual.

    • jake

      I just loved the way he volunteered that he had been instructed to take questions from specific journalists in a specific order.
      Laura did her best to A) make it look spontaneous and unrehearsed B) save her career
      Pesto… couldn’t get his tongue up any further if he tried

    • N_

      Body language, yes – you noticed the hand over the mouth? At another time there was a nervous mouth movement too. Both suggested he was seeking to mislead. I’d love to hear more details of your analysis, @Jm.

  • djm

    At the DC presser today

    Did the forensic (sic) questioning mention Barnard Castle in connection with GSK ?

  • Brianfujisan

    Just when you thought they – uk.gov – couldn’t make up any more unbelievable crap.. We get this from DC.

    And surely he has just confessed to committing a motoring offence, by driving well over 500 miles to test his eyesight.

    “Under Section 96 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, it is an offence to drive with uncorrected defective eyesight. If you drive a motor vehicle on a road, when your eyesight is uncorrected such that you cannot comply with the eyesight requirements in the act, you will have committed an offence

  • Jane

    If DC visited GSK, why not say he was doing confidential govt meetings up at Barnard Castle? The public would understand then rather than all these obvious lies he told about his eyesight.

    • Jennifer Allan

      That puzzled me too Jane. If Dominic Cummings was in Barnard Castle on official Government business, and he has admitted his involvement in vaccine development and manufacture, then why the secrecy? After all, he had completed his Covid-19 isolation before the visit.

      • craig Post author

        Jennifer and Jane

        Why do you think the key point of the article is the massive, mind-boggling amount of criminal corruption GSK have been involved in during the last decade? Obviously were he there on legitimate government business they would shout it from the rooftops.

        • Jennifer Allan

          Were you aware of this Craig? Whitty was boss of GSK at the time of the China scandal. It puts a new perspective on getting ‘vaccine deals through’ and moving ‘regulations aside’.
          “Ex-GSK chief Witty to head WHO’s coronavirus vaccine drive”
          April 16, 2020
          “Former GlaxoSmithKline chief executive Sir Andrew Witty has taken a leave of absence from his current day job to lead the push to develop vaccines for COVID-19 at the World Health Organization (WHO).
          Witty is expected to return to his current role at US group UnitedHealth’s Optum health services business by the end of the year, and is due to take up the new WHO role next Monday, according to a press statement.
          The timeline is interesting given the often-repeated assertion that it will be 12 to 18 months before a vaccine is likely to be widely available, although some experts suggest the first candidates could be cleared for emergency-use – in healthcare workers for example – within the next 3-6 months.
          Witty’s appointment to the UN agency comes less than 24 hours after President Trump pulled funding for the WHO, claiming it had mismanaged the coronavirus crisis, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s pledge to make up $150 million of the approximately $400 million shortfall.”

  • Laguerre

    The question tonight is whether Cumming’s statement this afternoon is going to be more convincing than that of Johnson’s yesterday. It’s essentially the same, with a few more details. This morning’s reaction was explosive, with hundreds of Tories in visible anger. Are they going to disappear when their chiefs repeat the same thing? I have no idea, not being a Tory.

  • N_

    Good update!

    And it’s a “coincidence” too that very senior figures in “public service” working on coronavirus matters in both Britain and the US have pocketed large sums from Glaxo Smith Kline for several years. Very senior figures indeed. These include Britain’s chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance and the person in the US who is in charge of “Operation Warp Speed”, Moncef Slaoui.

    The list of Glaxo’s known crimes for which it has been convicted also includes paying large bribes in China, for which in 2014 the company was fined $490m and some of its executives were handed suspended jail sentences.

    Sometimes I wonder whether many who are “interested in politics” know anything about how the real world of capitalism works. It’s as if they don’t appreciate that the state signs huge business contracts and that big business interests spend resources to acquire those contracts. Most people in most countries appreciate that fact very well.

  • N_

    Here’s a question: which “river” was Dominic Cummings spotted near in the town of Barnard Castle? Don’t assume it was the Tees, the large river that flows through the town. It may have been Percy Beck, which runs right past the GSK plant.

    You can see Percy Beck on the photo that has been added to the top of this article, starting on the bottom edge, running diagonally up and to the left and then curving past the two wind turbines.

    Our opponents seem to be blowing the cover of a lot of tweeters and online influencers to contest the idea that Dominic Cummings may have gone to a meeting with GSK on 12 April. What are they so scared of? If a photo emerges of him walking out the front door of one of the blocks at the plant, they will probably shout that he only went in to take his son to use the toilet. I wonder what they will say when somebody surfaces documents from SAGE and Cobra that reference the meeting?

  • Gregor

    Craig Murray,

    Thanks for bringing such newsworthy disturbing coincidences and context to public attention (rotten UK mainstream gutter press certainly wouldn’t).

  • greenergood

    So whar is needed is someone within the GSK compound in Barnard Castle who’s willing to look through the sign-in sheets, and/or CCTV cameras to see who came into their premises on the date(s) in question. And what journalist, and their paper’s budget, is willing to supply the enticement? Otherwise it’s a gone game

    • Goose

      Cummings hasn’t exactly been hiding his deep involvement prior to this. The guardian reported on SAGE : Scientists on UK government’s coronavirus advisory group say Dominic Cummings was an active participant.

      Found it odd how he couldn’t recall the detail from discussions with Johnson regarding this trip. He was otherwise was very precise, about times, distances, dates.

      The thing is, given that known, open involvement in SAGE , if he had been there at the compound, then saying he was there on official govt business would probably look better than spinning some ‘eyesight driving test’ nonsense.

  • Goose

    Clive Lewis is indeed taking some flak.

    I think the question can be posed in a perfectly reasonable ,non-conspiratorial way. And had the say, for example, the Mail or Times made a similar connection, looking at the place visited and chronology of events and indeed Cummings’ own words today, I think those questions would demand answers and be taken up by the rest of the journo pack.

    It may be nothing at all, as you say, and all purely coincidental including the timeline, but the level of abuse for drawing attention to what may be coincidences, is ridiculous.

  • Cavery

    Why was Laura Kuenssberg asking Dominic the questions on behalf of the BBC. She is up to her knees in this affair as well.

    Is she friends with his wife, if so, she is conflicted. Given the privileged background of the Kuennsberg family one would suspect she should refrain from drawing enquiry as to where the Kuennesberg wealth comes from post 1933.

  • lysias

    The GSK plant is mentioned prominently in the Wikipedia page on Barnard Castle.

  • Giyane

    Am I alone in thinking that the DC issue has separated the sheep, who want to cooperate as a herd, or be sheepdog leaders of sheep, from the goats, who in my personal experience will tear their own udders just to get to the other side of a barbed wire fence?

    Tory MPs sheepdogs are all barking like sheepdogs for all the sheep to line up and get the maggots treated, while the Tory cabinet , goats, do not care one sausage who they might be offending or what rules they mustn’t break.

    If all the key workers who expose themselves to infection were all to abide by the rules, they would all have to give up and go home. Dominic Cummings has decided that the EU has more to lose than the UK in a Hard Deal, and fate has decreed that the biggest losers in a Hard Brexit , aviation, car making, import of food, are already unexpectedly completely devastated by Covid19.

    To be perfectly honest, I find the sheep and their brainless disinterest in politics, and their equally brainless MSM commentariat, and their totally venal leaders,… infinitely more annoying and exasperating than people like Dominic Cummings who are dealing with the crap of the Federal Empire of the EU.

    If the sheep wanted things different, they’ve had plenty of chances to vote the goats out in recent years. They have the politicians they deserve.
    Tough, if the sheep have got to eat goat instead of grass. Their woolly blathering, communal bleating is doing my head in. Let the goats get on and do the job the sheep selected them to do.

  • Tony M

    Another storm in tea-cup, having purposefully avoided the media for long time, have to ask who the hell exactly is Dominic Cummings? If he is for Brexit, then it’s imperative he stays, more power to his and other Tories of that ilk’s elbows. Better just to let them get on with pretending they’re impoortant and in charge, and don’t vote ever again in any election they allow us. Let’s have regular referenda instead. Politicians are corrupt and in the pockets of the corporations and kings queens of industry, and above any and all laws applicable to us plebs, shock-horror, you’re all acting like it’s news or something. Haven’t you all got more important things to worry about than stick your noses into other people’s business, which is the tendency of the state most of us seriously menaced and tormented by its every tentacle, by its highest and lowliest agencies, resent the most strongly. It must be a middle-class concern, it’s of no interest or relevance to the proles, just surviving. It’s another manufactured non-event non-story fuelled by comfortably-off social-media junkies reposing on their lawns, envious of those even better off than they. Contrived displacement activity, permissible sanctioned dissent, a two-minute hate, a distraction, a conjuror’s trick to conceal the main event sleight-of-hand. Still the more important question is -if some, the few are receiving plasma treatment, where, or rather from whom is the antibody-rich whole blood it’s sourced from being extracted?

  • Tarla

    Johnson sent out the Commander in Chief to bail Johnson out of the mire. But the day’s proceedings only made it worse for Johnson.

    On the 30 th March the FT wrote that No 10 has informed them Cummings was in self isolation. Johnson knew that Cummings his special adviser was in isolation. Why did Cummings say he never talked to Johnson about it until the last few days? Today Johnson said this,

    43m ago20:56

    One quote from the prime minister’s briefing that bears relaying in full. Responding to questions about when he learned of Cummings’ lockdown breach, he said:
    I didn’t know about any of the arrangements in advance … What I think did happen was while I was ill and about to get a lot sicker we had a brief conversation in which I think Dominic Cummings mentioned where he was.
    But I have to tell you, at that particular stage I had a lot on my plate and really didn’t focus on the matter until these stories started to emerge in the last few days.
    So Johnson knew Cummings was in Durham and not in London, but Johnson kept saying he didn’t know where Cummings was. I wonder if Johnson will now say he asked the police to go around to check on a frightened Cummings? Initially, the Durham police said it was Covid related and advice on isolation, then today changed their story and said it was ‘security’ related. More than one person lying through their teeth with the ‘security’ issue being used as cover. As is the ‘ill’ and a ‘lot on my plate’. Johnson was so ‘ill’ he made this video on 3rd April.

    Coronavirus: Boris Johnson says he still has ‘minor symptoms …
    http://www.youtube.com › watch

    Cummings said he felt threatened at his home, I’ve never seen any police presence on TV outside his house when he’s seen coming out and getting in his car.

    When Cummings went home to his sick wife, he should have stayed there and informed people at Number 10 that his wife may have covid. But he went back potentially infecting others. No wonder Whitehall is an epicentre for the virus, when people like Cummings don’t use the advice/rules about self isolating, if someone is suspected of having the virus.

    Cummings said that he still felt he was suffering on Saturday 11th April. How come he drove to the hospital on the 3rd April early morning to pick up his wife and lad, when he was obviously under the influence of covid with blurred eye sight, therefore putting himself, his wife and child and others at risk?

    On the journey home no petrol/diesel was needed for the car. I wonder which of the two cars they were using? It was good how he ‘solved’ a 4 year old, a long drive and the toilet. I wonder which lay-by he pulled in on the A1?

    If he went to Glaxo, it would not have been that Sunday he came back but sometime from when he went up and when he left. Maybe it was on the 31st March and someone saw him and told the police who went around the next day. April 1 and that’s why they reported about covid related and isolation.

    All in all, Johnson is a lame duck PM and the more he fronts those TV shows the more he discloses.Johnson puts his foot in it every time he opens his mouth as he did with the Ratcliffe woman arrested in Iran

    “Johnson, who told a Commons committee when he was foreign secretary that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was “teaching people journalism” in Iran, should acknowledge his mistake, he said. Iranian officials cited his words as evidence that she had engaged in “propaganda against the regime”. The family have always maintained she was visiting relatives in Iran when she was arrested. She has strenuously denied spying. She was sentenced to five years in prison for attempting to overthrow the Iranian government”.

    Cummings in the architect of the open fascist dictatorship that is under way in this country, the front man Johnson is a liability when detail is needed and that’s why Cummings did the unprecedented show today. Brought about in no small part, by the Mail abandoning Johnson with the What Planet are they on’ headlines. It failed but the ball is firmly back in the MSM’s and Labour’s court over whether they want to bring down Johnson or not. But there’s a growing tide of middle England, that’s lost loved one unnecessarily -care home death traps – and are vocal and have influence. I don’t think they’ll be convinced after today’s debacle from Cummings and Johnson.
    Stay alert, halt this fascist dictatorship, bring down capitalism a failed and degenerate system for a workers state under the dictatorship of the proletariat, to build socialism and a better future for all..

  • BobbyCC

    Just to clear up the point you’re making here…are you suggesting that Cummings, being an advisor only, should not have been attending to potentially official business only on their behalf at GSK or are you suggesting that it would have been entirely reasonable for him to do such a thing…alone?

    • craig Post author

      I am saying that GSK have a huge serial record of striking mind-boggling deals involving criminality and corruption, which is not always orchestrated during official hours in the main boardroom.

  • Tony M

    Some of you might be wondering where I’m coming from, having long supported Scottish Independence, events personal to me and of such magnitude, of such wickedness, using bad law that ought never have been passed, interpreted so loosely and with such malignance and of such over-reach, such exercise of state power and monopoly on violence, of interference with my life and family, having occurred earlier this year, that I’ve concluded the situation so bad, so irredeemable that emigration to anywhere but Scotland if it became possible, seems the only option open. I’m done with it, it’s beyond saving.

    • ramblingidiot

      I agree, I wouldn’t want to visit the place. It’s not only turning into a police/nanny state, its covered in wind turbines with no end in sight.

  • Sue

    why would he go to GSK in Barney when that factory (by no means the largest of GSK’s properties) only makes dermatological creams and suchlike? Why wouldn’t he go to their main offices in London?

    • N_

      Deniability. And it was closer than London. According to the company the Barnard Castle facility makes dermatological products of an antiviral type as well as other types, but what does it matter? Nobody is suggesting he went there to inspect production.

      He thrashed about a bit when saying he hadn’t left London since he returned from the north…er…er…depends what you count as the boundary of London…been to Chequers…

      That made me think of Brentford, the location of GSK’s global HQ, and also their facility in Uxbridge.

  • Chuckles

    STERLING PHARMA – and ACCORD HEALTHCARE – both make Hydroxychloroquine – both have offices near Durham – at Cramlington Northumberland and Fawdon Newcastle upon Tyne. UK Gov orders millions of doses of HCO last Friday – did BoJo get HCO treatment?? Why is no-one asking that question???

    Sterling Pharma Kicks off Hydroxychloroquine Production (Outsourcing-Pharma newsletter)fbclid=IwAR2GTFLgGgQtc5dtz5pJFpjGCIWBVYcpdLM32a8BUMjgPKTh0k986EGqLWU

  • Bob Leslie

    Craig, do you have any medical contacts who could confirm whether or not vision loss is a reported symptom of COVID-19? I’ve scoured the Internet and can’t find a single case cited apart from Johnson’s and Cummings’ claims.

    • N_

      Interesting point, @Bob. Did you see Mary Wakefield’s article in which she strongly suggests they spent the whole of their quarantine in London? While I accept that the virus that has been going round is symptomatically “strange” compared to previous flu viruses, and wouldn’t be at all surprised if different viruses have been circulating in different areas, was she overegging the pudding when she wrote as follows?

      I’ve never known a bug treat its victims so differently. My friends have reported stabbing sore throats, a loss of taste and smell, and numbness in their fingertips. The Huazhong university in Wuhan has just updated its list of official first symptoms which now includes: headache, dizziness, muscle inflammation, fever, diarrhoea, vomiting and coughing. One slight but sad effect of this great variation in symptoms is that it makes phoning friends to share Covid stories peculiarly unsatisfying. ‘Weren’t the muscle aches awful? Oh, you didn’t get them. Nope, no sore throat for me. Oh well.’

      As for her husband, she describes him “(laying) doggo with a high fever and spasms that made the muscles lump and twitch in his legs.”

      Is leg-twitching reported much as a Covid-19 symptom?

      Got to wonder whether some of the contents of this article were prep work for contingencies such as having to explain something about which only limited details had been revealed.

      How lucky he was that his legs went like that only shortly after the five-hour drive rather than during it.

        • Giyane


          Watch the Bodyguard, BBC thriller, for a graphic illustration of a 21st century 007 and the hi jinx of life at the top in British politics.

        • Giyane


          In the world of SAS drivers, presumably there are safe houses at intervals up the motorway for VIPs to have a wee.
          Of course there was a driver and of course the entire police and intelligence community knew where and what Cummings was up to.

          If the wife and boy went to Barnard Castle for a walk while fighting covid19 of course there was an overwhelming and important reason for them to do so, because that is totally illegal.

          But not as illegal as deploying a terrorist army against the law-abiding folk of Syria, or paying Assad and Gadaffi to torture people.
          Not as illegal as jumping 8 metre deep holes where buildings used to be in Baghdad, holding prisoners in Abu Graib and deploying British troops in Libya to fight against Gaddafi
          Not as illegal as carpet bombing Afghanistan everywhere except where their CIA sock puppet Osama was known to be.
          When the Tory voting sheep have stopped blaaa-ing about lockdown rules, could they be persuaded to take an interest in 40 years of illegal terror against Islam.

        • Giyane


          Also, probably the only reason why somebody recognised DC in BC, was because of the presence of a driver, which would have immediately aroused their curiosity.

  • yesindyref2

    The population of Ayrshire is getting on for 400,000, but excluding those too young though kids have been known to be runners in the past and even prams pushed into service, and excluding some from South Ayrshire like Girvan (laughs), it is a known fact that about 200,000 of us pass nearby the GSK plant at Irvine. All of us have our own personal dead drops, whether benches, third tree on the left, supermarket Amazon boxes, wonky trollies or baskets with a little rubbish left in the bottom. Some even get their instructions wrapped around a Big Mac. We’re taking over you know, but our plans have been severely disrupted by Covid-19 and we’ve had to resort to getting our instructions by bird droppings.

    It is however quite right in fact for an MP to take an interest in conspiracy theories, that is a part of their job, to hold the Government and its people to account. Most are harmless though the ridiculous 5G one has caused damage to property and attacks on communication workers – that sort of dangerous stupidity theory along with its perpetrators should be squashed. No deaths or serious injuries so far thank God from the total wack jobs who push that one.

    But as everybody knows the earth is not flat, man or men even DID land on the moon though no women and dogs, and Nixon served a straight 3 terms in office as President of the USA as the conspiracy theories against him were totally without foundation. Watergate indeed, the dam burst on THAT one. Bridgegate? Mmm, well, that is ongoing.


  • Ciaris

    I enjoyed the Twitter pile-on. As soon as someone uses the phrase ‘conspiracy theory’ or makes some mocking comment about tin-foil hats, I can immediately dismiss them as dolts. Because they are repeating a phrase coined by, of all bodies, the CIA, and don’t appear to know it. And tin-foil hat is just poor rhetoric.

    Conspiracies happen all the time, it’s just a group of people planning. Was there a conspiracy to remove Chamberlain, and install Churchill? Course there was. Some powerful people, over port and cigars, discussed this in some room, and strategized. Nothing especially controversial about this, it’s just what happened.

    As it happens, I don’t regard most journalists as people anyway, so whatever. No, many journalists fancy themselves as part of the ruling caste, and propagandize accordingly. And Twitter has been ruined by bot-tards so many of the comments are just bullshit. Still, Craig has offended the right people, as usual, so well done.

  • Giyane

    The only reason why the whole Cummings family would need to go to Barnard Castle, to SKB after getting covid19 is to obtain some kind of medication for the family. Vaccine negotiations is a red herring. Testing eyesight is a joke. Exercise is a lie. Childcare is a whopper. This is where you need a Rolls Royce liar like Boris Johnson, to smooth over the inconsistencies between the layers of lies and exude sympathy for the concerns of ordinary people.

    Maybe when they counted the sheep in December 2019 they counted all the dogs cats, rabbits and ghosts, sorry goats, as Tory voters. And yet can you hear any hesitation in that purring piece of engineering that is Boris Johnson, that brainwashed by Eton and the CIA, block of aircraft engine?

    Good. I personally managed to burn out a Rolls Royce’s brain by unintentionally leaving the handbrake on for 30 miles up the M6. And I fully intend to do the same to the Tory lying machine that rigged the last election.
    The car was removed in a curtained, unmarked lorry because you know , rolls royces do not ever break or even brake down. The engine was strong enough to drive the car normally with the foot brake hard down.

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