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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  • Peter

    So, while the (anti-democratic) Establishment continue their efforts to remove Cummings we now have final proof, if it were needed, that (Sir) Kier Starmer is their man and will be prepared to knock the Labour Party in to a shape more to their liking:


    In the meantime, what’s the betting on another Tory resignation in time for the early morning news.

  • Ken Garoo

    So Cummings is an “ideas man”, likes to get things done, no nonsense.

    What does an “ideas man” do when he wakes up one morning with some unspcified yet concerning vision defect? Does he seek medical advice? Or adice from the loving spouse? No, he is an “ideas man”, producing new radical ideas faster than a normal person can blink their eyes. His idea is to test his eyesight by driving off in some random direction, aaand if he survives, then his eyesight must be OK. That’s the sort of man this country needs, with such no-nonsense ideas on how to resolve issues.

    What does an “ideas man” mean when he says he wants to “get back to work to get vaccine deals through, move regulations aside”? The main regulations regarding drug development relate to safety and efficacy. Are those the regulations “ideas man” wants to push aside. Or maybe he is just concerned about regulations governing the size and style of font used on the package labelling.

    Tough decisions. I am so glad I am not an “ideas man”.

    • Giyane

      Ken Garoo

      You’re 100 % right about this political bully.
      When the stupidity of his ideas catch up with him he will say : ” Look I make my own decisions in life.. Time for you to start making your own decisions. I’m not here to tell you how to run your life. ”

      The chief advisor to No 10 appears to be one of the leaders of Islamic State/ Daesh.

  • Richiard

    This whole 19 affair is deeply suspicious and to go to that extent for something that just does not seem a pandemic is, well, wrong. It seems like conditioning and you cannot pull that operation in a few weeks. Stopping the west in Syria was supposed to slow this down, I suppose it did, then they could not wait. You should be concerned as in if you had fear of death right now and to where this will end-up. This is being done in a hurry with civil liberties trashed and you cannot get freedom by giving it up. When a law is made it is mostly not temporary as claimed. Much like leaders say technology, although it can be abused, will not be. That is normally the intention (abuse). The person who runs this site is being framed right out in the open. Like everything they do’ nothing will happen to the perpetrators. To see this occuring in 2020 is sickening. I would say it is the start.

    There are far to many rules and regulations in the United Kingdom and that is not an indicator of a free and fair society. All branches of government have turned your cities into open air prisons. Surveillance pretty much every where. For your own good apparently. Just like increasing monetary regulations, let’s wheel the “it will prevent terrorism and drug trafficking” out, but it has not. What is has done is to make ordinary people’s lives more difficult, especially the elderly and those on lower incomes. Why would anyone want to go cashless and give a bunch grunting toffs something to abuse. And they will. The relationship between stores of value and “banks” need examined. What is a bank and why do people feel it is neccesary to use their services. And, why should people be forced to use the government store of value which is deflating as they do helicopter money to their toff friends.

    • Giyane


      ” stopping the west in Syria was supposed to slow this down.”

      The West, USUKIS, has used Al Qaida to destroy Syria. It’s called divide and rule. Create divisions and war , then sit back and enjoy them destroying themselves.

      I’m trying to understand your point here. Are you saying that Al Qsida and the Terrorist groups funded by USUKIS can stop Western authoritarianism?
      The West is going to be stopped by it’s own proxy fighters ? Who has put it in your mind that terrorists are freedom fighters punching the West on the nose?

      Assad tortured people for the West. The West has never wanted him destroyed. All they have ever wanted is to enjoy one set of Muslims killing another set of Muslims like Romans watching Christians being eaten by lions in ancient Rome.

      The Muslim Brotherhood works for Western governments trying to persuade Muslims in Syria to give allegiance to its sect which is controlled by the West. Syrian Muslims have refused to accept Western control through the Muslim Brotherhood.
      Muslim Brotherhood operates it’s own spy network which it shares with Western governments.
      So they are part of the problem not the solution.

      • Richiard

        Your rulers want to make you slaves. They wanted Syria out the way. They never got their wish in Syria, they are bogged down wasting millions every month. Dump that back on the to-do list.

        You use names of various groups apparently operating in Syria. The grunts doing the fighting cannot read, write or think. They are empty programmable shells. Names are circulated by various depts. And rolled out by politicians and media. They are not Muslims and do not follow the Quran.

        The west is going no where in Syria. Better there than at home. Some say Syria is destroyed. Syria is not destroyed in the context many believe. You say Assad tortured people for the west. How did you come by these incriminating documents? If you are in possession of such evidence you should turn that over to the International Criminal Court. It is unlikely Al Assad tortured anyone. If I could take that in the context of who was tortured (do you have any names, details and on) and why they were tortured. If torture took place it is important to establish who it was and why was torture required and who carried that out .
        The grunts work for the highest bidder. If you consider what many cannot that Al Assad, Trump, Johnson and others are freemasons then it’s a production. Most cannot grasp that concept. People in the so-called “free” west cannot see there is no freedom. You must follow the rules or be punished. Those rules dictate you must pay tax or go and fight a war. Is that the freedom many claim? You are owned by the state.

        There is a lot more about Syria, who did what and why, what the eventual outcome will be. You have been led to believe the west dictate Syrian policy. This is not the case.

        So here we are. The world closed down for nothing. There are people sitting in their vehicles with masks on. These people are gone and will fight to protect the government. And when people tell you they hate government they always expect hand outs and rush to them when they need protection. They say they want freedom but they are not ready for that.

        I come to realise they control you through fear. Afraid to lose your home, way of life, or even your life. Government are a parasite who feed on fear. The Police know this. After studying the recent Hyde Park event and police tactics I could see the fear in people. The Police tactics would not work when facing opponents who will do whatever is required to take out the enemy. The rest will cower in fear hoping it won’t be them and get in the way. Most are easily distracted and fight each other endlessly rather than focus on the enemy. A people divided cannot stand and any resistance will be blown away.

        If you want to see what is happening in Syria…go there. I wish you the best for the future and may your struggles be for something worthwhile.

  • N_

    The Express reports that “some” have “called on” Labour MP Clive Lewis to delete a “tweet” he posted in which he referenced speculation (first posted online by yours truly) about Dominic Cummings, Barnard Castle, and Glaxo Smith Kline. It will be interesting if DC receives public urging to confirm or deny. If there was a meeting then the questions arising include who was present, why the meeting wasn’t mentioned in the rose garden, what was discussed, what was decided, and the classics of what the prime minister knew and when. The need to move money and get regulations out of the way that Cummings refers to could be clarified as well. Move what money? Get what regulations out of the way and why?

    • N_

      Laura Kuenssberg and Robert Peston are higher up the pecking (and press conference) order than Gary Gibbon of Channel Four News, but it’s worth remembering that it was Gibbon’s line of questioning about Dominic Cummings’s communications with Boris Johnson that seemed to threaten Cummings’s calmness most of all during the rose garden event, causing him to arrange his hands in a kind of Merkel-Trump diamond shape.

  • N_

    Here’s a strange one, reminiscent not of Watergate 1972 but more of Dallas 1963 (!):

    the Northern Echo reported on Monday 25 May that antiques expert David Harper, who owns a shop in Barnard Castle and appears in the TV antiques programme “Bargain Hunt”, “was ­­­­­­­­­­­­­mistaken for someone called Dominic around the time of the reports”. Apparently “(m)any have since called out similarities between the two and fear the reports could be false and a case of mistaken identity.”

    ” ‘I live in Barnard Castle but haven’t heard anything about Dominic Cummings or anyone famous wondering around town till the other day, so I honestly couldn’t say if someone has mixed me up with him.’ ”

    “Although the two have very different dress styles around the time of the reports the TV star was wearing different clothes whilst working on the shop in Barnard Castle ­- which he is planning to open as soon as Boris Johnson gives the green light – and said they could be something Cummings would wear.”

    This could simply be a local tradesman putting his name into the local rag to let potential customers know that he hopes to be back open for business soon.

    On the other hand…consider the category of “deniability”…

    Harper’s career has involved not just running a shop and making a TV programme (in fact several), but also import-export… (Source.)

    Perhaps soon we’ll get three tramps?

    • Giyane


      You’re right. Like two peas in a pod. The only big difference being thatt Cummings has never yet been seen smiling.

    • Stewart

      your reference to the JFK assassination is telling
      this is yet another layer of distraction, confusion and irrelevancy for anyone trying to follow the story – more shaving foam being applied to counter occam’s razor
      cummings’s car was identified by the registration plate, and he has already admitted to driving there; the question that journalists (and you) should be focusing on is “why?”
      Here’s another question: “why is a marxist expending effort trying to defend dominic cummings?”
      Don’t bother answering, it’s a rhetorical question…

  • Michael

    Do you really think negotiations for a mega deal would take place in manufacturing plant location in the middle of nowhere, where staff are in at work and not in offices in London?

    • Carl

      It is their research HQ. Presumably you believe he drove 60 miles there and back to test his eyesight, with a 4 yr old in the back, just to heighten the stakes.

      • Leonard Young

        I recently suffered constipation. In order to test the degree to which this ailment affected my health I elected not to use my own lavatory but chose instead to drive 30 miles to a remote location where there were onsite loos available. After testing my unfortunate syndrome at this remote loo I discovered that I could have assessed the health issue just as well from any location.

        When I tried to convince my friends of the logic of driving 30 miles to test something I could have done at home, I was met with uncontrolled laughter and cries of “preposterous”. Fortunately for me this matter escaped to the media and even parliament, both of which discussed my situation as though it was remotely plausible, for over a week, shutting out all other news in the process.

      • Rhys Jaggar

        They have many R+D HQs, one in the UK, one in the US to name but two.

  • Monster

    If Glaxo comes up with the exclusive contract for the vaccine, Cummings’ trip and all the hostility will have been worthwhile.The only purpose of that trip was to seal the deal with Glaxo, in communicado.

    • Stevie Boy

      If Glaxo/big pharma comes up with a vaccine, do you think we/the NHS will be able to afford it ?
      Will a vaccine developed in the west be made available affordably world-wide to help the peoples of the planet or will it become a cash cow for the 1% ?

      • Steve

        As far as I’m concerned they can shove their vaccine up where the Sun don’t shine.

        So far both the Moderna and Oxford vaccines have demonstrated exactly the same dangerous behaviour as the attempted SARS vaccines back in the noughties. The latest revelation is that, despite a ‘good’ antibody response, when challenged with the live virus all the monkeys – controls and vaccinated – became sick, and although not as sick the vaccinated were also shedding live virus. In a real world situation this means (as with the annual flu vaccinees shedding live virus) that far more people would be infected than ‘protected’ a little bit (like with Remdesivir)

    • Trowbridge H. Ford

      Afraid you are overlooking the fact that Cummings could not discuss any deal on the phone for fear of tipping off the competition. A signed deal is much more secure than a verbal one

      • Patrick+Haseldine

        At Monday’s press briefing, Dominic Cummings said: “I was involved in lots of things involving crucial questions of vaccines, trying to get scientists involved in the effort, trying to get money moved, trying to get regulations moved out of the way.”

        Cummings’ trip to Barnard Castle on 12 April 2020, when he and his smartphone were parked for 15 minutes by the River Tees in the vicinity of GSK’s research and manufacturing base, could well have been part of that process of getting “money moved”.


  • johnf

    Well for a second day Cummings and his Barnard Castle outing to test his eyesight plasters the front pages. Even The Telegraph, Boris’s old paper, has joined in.

    The usually a-political Daily Star’s front page has a photo-shop picture of a grinning Stevie Wonder at the wheel of a car with the headline “Cops – Don’t Drive If You’re Blind Shock New Advice!”

    All the headlines are about Cummings testing his eyes to drive to Castle Barmard. But none question why Castle Barnard? Why not some more local beauty spot. (Or roundabout)?

    Which leaves Craig’s theory on why he drove to CB currently unchallenged.

    • Kempe

      Ah the familiar cry of the Greater Spotted Conspiracy Theorist. “You cannot disprove it therefore it must be true!”

      How about some supporting evidence?

      • Carl

        You seem on a mission to dismiss Craig’s suggestion but not Cummings’ utterly ludicrous explanation. Now why might that be?

        • Kempe

          Binary thinking again. Because I dismiss one doesn’t mean I automatically believe the other.

          Cummings is clearly lying, which isn’t proof he was at GSK, just as he was lying about predicting the CV pandemic. He should go.

          • J Galt

            Here’s another conspiracy theory – maybe he drove to Barnard Castle just to take the piss – knowing it would cause all this conjecture!

          • Carl

            The article doesnt state he was defnitely at GSK, but it is far more plausible than the reason Cummings and Johnson are going with.

        • Carl

          J Galt ___ His whole trip to the northeast was a pisstake of ordinary people who obeyed the rules. As is Johnson’s defence of him.

          • Phil E

            Craig, whereas GSK has criminal activity on its record sheet not all its business is criminal. It produces drugs as well as vaccines. Clearly Cummings’ own explanation for visiting Barnard Castle is shaky. Your nefarious deal hypothesis is possible but surely it’s just as likely, maybe more likely he could have been involved in legal but sensitive activity there that he can’t admit to. Whatever it was you would hope he could have come up with a better cover story than eye testing.

          • Stephen Whitaker

            Barnard Castle is a GSK manufacturing facility nothing to do with their research.

            Presumably you think that all the GSK decision takers also took themselves into work on EASTER SUNDAY?

      • David

        @Kempe “Evidence” – sometimes takes years to emerge……look at the Steele/MI6 stuff still bubbling over the pond, people are now looking in to if there is now enough “evidence” to convict a member of the Obama presidency! how wackily conspiritorial is that ?

        (concerning the results from)…the Durham investigation, Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton says his expectations are

        “low” – “I don’t think there will be serious prosecutions of senior level Obama administration officials, maybe an FBI agent here or there like Peter Strzok…”

        so after years, we might not get the previous prez in prison, just senior FBI

        The government transparency group Judicial Watch published the document that the FBI drafted to open Crossfire Hurricane, the counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible links to the Russian government (none)

        Congressional Republicans have long fought with the FBI and Justice Department to obtain the “evidence” document(0), which lays out the FBI’s rationale for opening Crossfire Hurricane. It is also likely at the center of U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the FBI’s probe of the Trump campaign.

        (none) unmasking
        (0) https://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/JW-v-DOJ-reply-02743.pdf

        Britain of course keeps secrets better, longer than USA, so we might never know what DomC was doing seven weeks ago, whilst thousands of ‘normals’ have been charged by the UK police for potential similar lockdown breaking….

    • Stephen Whitaker

      Barnard Castle is a GSK manufacturing facility nothing to do with their research.

      Presumably you think that all the GSK decision takers also took themselves into work on EASTER SUNDAY?

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Stephen Whitaker May 27, 2020 at 15:09
        ‘..took themselves into work on EASTER SUNDAY?’
        Why on earth not, if it was an arranged meeting, and perhaps an extremely lucrative one?
        What else are they going to do on Easter Sunday, with the churches and zoos closed?
        Go for a picnic?

  • Jan

    This is a stupid article and a cheap shot. With no evidence that Cummings actually visited the GSK site, a decent journalist wouldn’t publicly hint at that connection. Disappointing.

      • Kempe

        Publish accusations without supporting evidence?

        I don’t think so. Short cut to the libel court.

        • Graeme Douglas

          Sadly that will not be the case, Craig is one of the best read and most politically experienced independent journalist around. The fact he has been able to openly speak about the Yes Referendum, Brexit and the Salmond case without as much as one legal challenge or politicians wrath, only goes to show that the powers that be respect that they have no way of challenging, as I mentioned earlier, and individual with more international political experience than the entire cabinet! He does not accuse anyone, he simply shows you the “Facts” and then asks is their a coincidence that this all aligns! This is the exact job of a journalist, unlike the hacks that you see on the streets like stephen yaxley-lennon, who dares to call himself a journalist.

          • Deb O'Nair

            “The fact he has been able to openly speak about the Yes Referendum, Brexit and the Salmond case without as much as one legal challenge….”

            That “fact” needs a check.

    • Yeah, Right

      It would have been a legitimate question to ask Cummings at his press conference: Did you visit with GSK officials during your road trip to Barnard Castle?

      Perfectly legitimate, and the fact that not a single journalist had the wit or the wisdom to ask for such a simple yes/no answer is a sad indictment of journalistic standards in the mainstream media.

  • simon Roberts

    IF Dominic Cummings was at GSK to engage GSK in anti Covid 19 work then I have 2 questions:
    1. Is DC empowered to act on behalf of the Government is to sign Contracts?
    2. What procurement process was followed (if any)

    • Los

      I thought that the Coronavirus Act 2020 did away with all of the Scrutiny and thus allowed them to award contracts to their best mates without bothersome things like a Public Tender.

    • Sandra

      And if it had been legitimate government business, then why didn’t DC state that?

  • Jennifer Allan

    I’m afraid this entire daft business is threatening to undermine everything Boris has achieved so far. I DO agree with the lockdown, at least for persons of my age, (senior OAP), since we are the age group responsible for 90% of the UK Covid-19 deaths, and even then virtually all of these persons had serious co-morbidities. Persons under 44, on the other hand account for only 1% of the deaths. Many of these persons will have no jobs to go back to, or now have no prospect of getting one, perhaps for years. It is looking increasingly like a betrayaI. The children have lost at least half a year of education.

    I am now bored stiff and desperate to get out and about. A bit of retail therapy would be lovely, but several high street shops have gone to the wall. In Scotland, highland hotels have no prospect of any tourism business and several have also gone to the wall. Nicola has promised to open garden centres this weekend, but my hanging baskets are now planted up with home grown cuttings and self seeded plants. Why destroy such excellent businesses? There’s no logic to it when supermarkets and DIY stores are open and many selling plants.

    Governments of all political persuasions hate admitting to mistakes, but hindsight is a fine thing. We can all forgive those empty obsolete Nightingale hospitals, but the carnage in care homes was a huge misjudgement, caused by clearing bedblocking seniors out of hospitals, many infected with Covid-19, and sending them to care homes where they infected all the other residents. The claim this was the fault of bad expert advice does not ‘hold water’ . This was a matter for basic common sense and basic humanity. It was suggested hospital discharges should be sent to the Nightingale hospitals for a period of isolation . Now THAT would have been sensible, but who in the Governments (ALL of them) have any common sense?

    The biggest failures were a chronic lack of protective equipment for hospital and care staff, and initially,a dire lack of Covid-19 testing. Government procurement procedures were bumbling, bureaucratic and in some cases utterly farcical. (Remember that much vaunted plane load of PPE from Turkey, which took weeks to arrive and then the stuff was not fit for purpose?) There were and are similar problems with testing equipment and public testing procedures.

    Dominic Cummings is plainly a Government ‘mover and shaker’. He is someone who ‘gets things done’. To my mind the biggest mistake made by all governments worldwide is this reliance on a Covid-19 vaccine, in the UK that over-hyped, under performing Oxford Group vaccine. We were initially told a vaccine would take at least 12-18 months to properly trial and test, but since Astra Zeneca came involved this was now getting rolled out in just 3-4 months in the UK, with health workers ‘a priority’. They have been betrayed once. This looks like another betrayal. The money this vaccine has already cost is mind boggling, but Boris and Bill Gates were looking to clean up financially, with each dose costing hundreds of pounds. Thanks to all the hype coming out of the Oxford Vaccine Group, Astra Zeneca has already received orders from all over the world.
    “More than $1bn US BARDA investment to support development and production of the vaccine
    AstraZeneca is advancing its ongoing response to address the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19, collaborating with a number of countries and multilateral organisations to make the University of Oxford’s vaccine widely accessible around the world in an equitable manner.
    The Company has concluded the first agreements for at least 400 million doses and has secured total manufacturing capacity for one billion doses so far and will begin first deliveries in September 2020. AstraZeneca aims to conclude further agreements supported by several parallel supply chains, which will expand capacity further over the next months to ensure the delivery of a globally accessible vaccine.”
    These vaccine ‘deals’ will have been set up by Dominic Cummings, and very successfully too. That’s what he does. BUT and it’s a big BUT the Oxford Vaccine Group has manifestly FAILED to produce a Covid-19 vaccine that works. The OVG seems determined to steam on with production of this vaccine. Boris and his acolyte Dominic Cummings are refusing to accept this vaccine is ‘dead in the water’.

    If Boris reads this, my advice is to forget about a Covid-19 vaccine. It is not needed. Instead, concentrate on how Covid-19 can be treated and ameliorated. This is already happening in the UK, with plasma treatment and other already licenced anti viral therapies. Dominic MUST apologise publicly for breaking the lockdown rules and resign. Boris can always bring him back when things return to some semblance of normality.

    • Cascadian

      So, it was you and your compatriots!! Now we know.

      But, you may be taking the blame unnecessarily. This is what seems to have been happening in Canada:

      If true, then it is extremely disturbing (to me, anyway) because something similar seems to have been happening here.

      The furore over Mr. Cummings alleged recklessness may be cover to suppress news about the UK’s care home carnage becoming visible.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Cascadian May 27, 2020 at 09:14
        Not only Canada and the UK, but also the EU and US.

    • Deb O'Nair

      “I’m afraid this entire daft business is threatening to undermine everything Boris has achieved so far.”

      40,000 deaths and counting, is that the acheivment you mean?

      • Jennifer Allan

        Like I said- ‘hindsight is a fine thing’. I was totally in favour of the lockdown, without which there would have been even more loss of life. I’m NOT excusing the care home scandal, which is even worse in Scotland, and my previous posts make this plain, but Governments need public co-operation. Dominic Cummings has destroyed that, just at a time when lockdown restrictions are being eased in England.

    • Coldish

      Jennifer Allan, thank you for taking the time and trouble to write this perceptive analysis of the situation. I’m still hoping that a reliable and cheap vaccine may turn up, but not confident.

      • Jennifer Allan

        Thank you for your kind words Coldish. I appreciate that. It makes a nice change from the trolls. With 100+ coronavirus vaccines being developed worldwide, and with at least 4 already being trialled, you will certainly get your wish for a Covid-19 vaccine. Forget about cheap though. As the Daily Mail put it a couple of months ago, these vaccine developers were out to make a ‘killing’. Whether this was intended to be taken as actual or metaphorical is a moot point, but vaccines should never be rushed into production. I guess governments were all seduced into believing this was a chance to ‘clean up’ financially, and thus help to pay for the catastrophic costs we will all have to pay after this crisis is over.
        I still believe a Covid-19 vaccine will prove to be unnecessary, but if, as the largely pharma and Gates financed WHO predicts, there ‘might’ be second or subsequent waves of the virus, or it ‘may’ prove to be ubiquitous in future, like the ever changing flu, then this will be a chance to properly conduct extensive safety and efficacy tests in the meantime.

  • Mary

    Anything to do with Cummings, Barnard Castle, etc etc?

    ‘It is understood the aircraft was called to provide assistance to the NHS effort to combat coronavirus.
    The distinctive twin-rotor helicopters are used for heavy-lifting and transportation by the UK armed forces
    The helicopter was seen over Middleton, Prestwich and Swinton as it flew into the airport.
    It then headed back north heading towards the North East of England.’

    City Airport posted a picture of the helicopter on the airfield. In an Instagram post, the airport said: “Whilst we remain closed for normal operations, we are pleased to continue to provide essential support to our Emergency Services, Military and other essential flights.”‘

    Chinooks are ordinarily based at Odiham in Hampshire.

    • Bill Thomson

      Mary, Low flying military transports have been crawling all over the place taking advantage of the empty skies to exercise.

      • Mary

        Haven’t seen a Chinook, or any other aircraft for that matter for ages. They used to be a regular sight overhead here in Surrey with Heathrow to the North and Gatwick to the South East.

        I once saw a Chinook landing at the Surrey Police HQ here and wondered what that was all about!

  • Jennifer Allan

    Actually, the DVLA eyesight requirements are quite simple and have been the same for years. You are deemed safe to drive if you can read a car number plate at a distance of 20 metres (in good visibility conditions). Dom could easily have tested himself. Persons of average height have a stride span of around a metre.

    • Stevie Boy

      I believe the DVLA eyesight test has recently been updated to include a section on the ability to read small print in a contract !

      • Jennifer Allan

        Yes indeed Stevie, but reading glasses and driving glasses are entirely different. I have both in the car when driving, supplied by my optician. My husband has varifocals which cover both eventualities, but I am too careless with my reading glasses to invest! Obviously, persons will not be reading contracts whilst driving, but might need to be able to read them if stopped by the police. I don’t think Dom was concerned about his reading ability, but he was right to check his driving eyesight, but not in the way he described.

        • Bayard

          It is perfectly possible for a driver to be able to read a numberplate at the required distance, but not to be able to read the speedometer of their car.

          • Jennifer Allan

            Bayard-are you kidding? Speedometres are a bit bigger than the ‘small print’ on a contract. My driving specs are fine with it. I expect Dom has expensive bi or varifocals anyway, but all this is completely ‘academic’, since I don’t believe a word of all that nonsense about ‘driving 60 miles to test Dominic Cummings eyesight’.

          • Bayard

            Talk about missing the point! (the point being that, just because you can read a numberplate at the required distance doesn’t mean that you are necessarily safe to drive)

  • Linden

    Well this explains exactly why Bozzer won’t sack him – he was on government business!!!! You’d think though that he would do the decent thing and resign as this controversy could bring the government down, it’s now that bad. As far as I’m concerned any ‘deal’ to do with the government and vaccines is a bad thing – FAR too many conflicts of interest.

  • michael norton

    There is a certain amount of hypocrisy in the case of Cummings

    Some people have had enough of Lock-Down.
    Lock-Down has shredded our economy, not covid-19.
    Both Boris and Cummings want us to get back to work, to save our economy and save our own mental health.
    In the big scheme, it is unimportant which member of the Elite breaks Lock-Down or is exposed for hypocrisy, the virus was already on the wane in the outside world, before Lock-Down, Lock-Down was probably not ever needed.
    Half of all cases happen in places like care homes, not out on the street or in the parks.

    • jake

      Mr Cummings didn’t live in care home. Are you saying that his dash north from the improving situation in London showed poor judgement?

      • michael norton

        on gentle reflexion, yes,
        he probably should have stuck fast in London but just remember, this choice was made quickly in a panic for what they considered was best for their family.
        Sometimes we make quick decisions and with hindsight, other choices could have been made.

        So why did he not just explain it this way?

        People might have been more forgiving, if he had said we panicked, we just did what, at that moment,
        we thought was our only option, now with hindsight, and in a calm place I can see we made a mistake?

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    A view from outside? Politico runs a pretty Atlanticist editorial line, their European bureau informs its American audience that Johnson can’t sack Cummings because Cummings enjoys greater support from Gove, Sunak, Patel, Rabb …. than Johnson himself does.
    Johnson has diverged from consensus politics and created Cabinet of Brexit ultras to the extent that he is beholden to his creation. The Politico hypothesis; in the eyes of Gove, Rabb et al, Cummings is the guy that gets stuff done, Johnson is a distracted dilettante.

    • Cubby

      Vivian O’Blivion

      A bunch of Britnat Brexiteer bampots are running the country – running it into the ground and killing people.

      They were more concerned with their 50p coins and getting Big Ben to bong than working on contingency plans for the pandemic that was coming our way. Criminal negligence. That is what you get when a government is picked on the basis of loyalty to Brexit/Cummings.

      Tory and Brexiteer voters next time there is an election stay at home and save lives.

      • michael norton

        Cubby, that’s a good idea, of yours, lets keep some people away from the ballot box.
        Have you got anymore ideas?

        • Cubby

          Michael Norton

          Dear chap, I am only suggesting that if they cared for the UK and their fellow citizens it would be better if they stayed at homes and saved lives for a change – purely voluntarily of course. Glad you thought it was a good idea.

          Plenty of ideas but happy to let you digest that one for the moment.

  • Mary

    Tomorrow at 4pm

    Boris Johnson to face minimal questions on Cummings’ conduct
    At first appearance before Commons liaison committee PM will face 20 minutes on coronavirus topic
    26 May 2020

    Boris Johnson is expected to face only a few minutes of questioning about the conduct of Dominic Cummings at his first appearance before the Commons liaison committee since becoming prime minister.

    A briefing note from the controversially appointed Conservative chair, Sir Bernard Jenkin, prepared for the senior MPs shows that at 4pm on Wednesday, 20 minutes have been allocated to discuss Cummings plus three other coronavirus topics.

    There is also unhappiness that there is no opportunity for questions about China or any other aspect of national security or foreign affairs – and some members have complained Jenkin is “going soft” on the prime minister.

  • TonyF12

    Taking a cold hard look at where we are this morning seen from Planet Cummings, we have uniquely a “Westminster Bubble” scenario – nothing directly to do with lockdowns nor Covid in DC’s head.

    Cummings has created a loyalty litmus paper test by his actions. He wants to flush out who are his enemies within the Conservative Party and the established media, and who is 100pc compliant, ready for the next stage in his power-grab. All safe in the knowledge Johnson will stick by him until the bitter end. That the Guardian and Mirror and SNP would wail comes as no shock to anyone – but he needs to know and to flush out any opposition of importance within his power-base.

    This is chessplay, Soviet style. Sacrifice even a Queen if necessary for appearances, while checkmate is assured only two or three moves away. No-one would have dared play Stalin in this way, but Johnson is no Stalin – he’ll stick by Dom like Greyfriars Bobby.

    • Giyane


      If the flightless dodo, sorry Bojo, were to abandon DC now, he would be consigned to a glass cabinet in the Natural History Museum. There’s plenty of Tories who are much more Brexit- weird than him to take his place. And others like Patel who would take the whole Tory chicken coop if it wasn’t locked at night.

  • N_

    Two questions:

    1. Who’s having the more profitable war, Glaxo Smith Kline or Astra Zeneca? Both are pushing to make billions out of government contracts for a corona vaccine: Glaxo is big at Cambridge and Imperial; Astra Zeneca at Oxford.

    The Financial Times today published an article “Drug wars: how AstraZeneca overtook GSK in UK pharma”.

    BOTH have powerful influence in Whitehall. As for “$cience”, every time you hear “Oxford” in relation to Covid-19, think “Astra Zeneca”; similarly with Cambridge or Imperial and Glaxo.

    2. Which way does Rishi Sunak, the billionaire banker in No.11 with family connections in pharmaceuticals, incline?

    • Rhys Jaggar

      Traditionally, AZ and GSK had different world-leading portfolios. They may have been ‘in competition’ in theory, but in reality they were more part of a cartel each cleaning up in their own area of blockbuster drugs.

  • Mary

    Dentistry too.

    GSK announces support for Back to Practice campaign
    Sensodyne etc.

    There are dozens and dozens of other products listed on their website.

    How many ‘non human primates’ are used by them annually?
    ‘Use of non-human primates
    Medicines and vaccines need to be studied in an animal where the physiology and disease process is similar to that in humans. In some cases, non-human primates are the only animals that are similar enough to provide the critical information about a disease and its reaction to treatment. ‘

  • Cubby

    Funny how Cummings can remember all manner of details about his trip but can’t remember where and when he topped up his car with petrol. Also did he use the same car the whole time he was there? Is random memory loss caused by the virus? No of course not – they never had the virus in the first place.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Cubby May 27, 2020 at 11:18
      He almost certainly used a credit card (unless he didn’t want to leave a trail), so it should be easy to trace the petrol station.

  • Sean Straw

    OK, but wild conspiracy theories such as this give Mr Cummings and his supporters in government the opportunity to respond to this in detail, debunking it, and then duck the more reasonable questions. In short conspiracy theories such as this actually help Mr Cummings. Regardless of your views of GSK and Mr Cummings, contracts are not organised and agreed by a government adviser, however influential, in a 15 minute meeting with his wife and kid in the car outside. GSK were meeting ‘virtually’ at the time as they and the rest of their industry apparently went into some sort of business ‘lockdown’ method of working several weeks before the rest of us (as let’s face it, their industry understands this much better than the rest of us and if our government and society generally had had the sense to listen to that industry more we would be in a much better position now). So even if for some bizarre reason he had gone to grease the wheels for 15 minutes and had been let in there was unlikely to be anybody there in the first place, as the decision makers were working from home. Sorry but this sort of conspiracy nonsense annoys me, you are letting them off the hook with wild speculation. If you take his story apart then we already know he lied, flouted the rules and was in coarse terms, a bit of a dick. That is enough, surely?

    • Jennifer Allan

      Whatever Dominic Cummings did or didn’t do, he was a servant of the Government, not a master, and he will have acted under instructions from Cabinet Ministers and/or Boris himself. It was significant to hear Health Secretary Matt Hancock on TV this morning extolling the virtues of Ebola drug remdesivir to treat Covid-19. I have no idea which pharma company manufactures it, but for once Mr Hancock looked on top of his game. He also explained the recent Covid-19 testing plans.

      “NHS gets green light to treat coronavirus patients with Ebola drug”
      1 day ago · “Health Secretary Matt Hancock calls Ebola drug remdesivir the ‘biggest step forward’ in treating Covid-19 since the crisis began as it becomes the UK’s first approved coronavirus medicine “

      • Giyane

        Jennifer Allen

        This is not a government. It’s an algorithm.
        The reason it’s an algorithm is because the best man could not be allowed to win because he would have put an end to corruption and illegal war.

        The last actual government we had was Blair’s 3rd term which was scuttled by Brown, and therefore scuttled by the bankers. Cameron got in riding on the back of Clegg’s lies, did some illegal warmongering and was shafted by Cummings and Boris in 2016. Brexit.

        May scuttled herself with Windrush Carillion , Northern Ireland and the Skripal charade.
        And we now have two people in power, one too stupid to run anything , the other too disgusting ever to be elected by anyone.

        And these two nutters are now dealing with Covid 19 instead of privatising the NHS and forcing English people to pick the harvest, which is what their backers selected them for.

        Those backers now realise they have picked totally the wrong team. No trust. No integrity. Not a shred of humanity. No wisdom. No ideas.
        In other words none of any of what is needed to deal with a medical situation.

        You know, it might just make them think twice about rigging another election next time.

    • Bayard

      “OK, but wild conspiracy theories such as this give Mr Cummings and his supporters in government the opportunity to respond to this in detail, debunking it, and then duck the more reasonable questions.”

      Ok, but they haven’t (debunked it), have they, they’ve just denied it, and that’s not the same, especially if you follow Bismarck.

      • Sean Straw

        Good grief! Well why don’t we just say that martians made him do it? There is about as much evidence. Maybe he is secretly Ghenghis Khan back from the dead? If your standard is simply unfounded accusation then you are going to finish up no better than him and rest of the cronies. Saying they have not debunked it is not entirely true either; they have come out saying that things are being made up. This is one of them. You can’t just throw mud and hope it sticks. Do him for what he has actually done, which is plenty enough to see him sacked of itself.

        • Tom74

          Having ‘undebunked’ but stories floating around could actually be part of the gameplan for Cummings. I suspect that also explains why he made the bizarre claim that he went to Barnard Castle to ‘test his eyesight’ – because it keeps people from talking about the serious, central issues.
          What the media should be discussin is not only the obvious hypocrisy of Cummings flouting the lockdown he helped decide upon, but also why he and Ferguson, judging by their actions, don’t even seem to think the coronavirus is dangerous. So what were their real motives for the lockdown, if that is so?
          The Cummings situation reminds me slightly of Anne Sarcoolas – another individual who thought she was above the law, until her bosses/public opinion decided she wasn’t.

        • Bayard

          “Good grief! Well why don’t we just say that martians made him do it?”
          Because “we” are not complete idiots. How about answering my point: you said that “wild conspiracy theories such as this give Mr Cummings and his supporters in government the opportunity to respond to this in detail, debunking it, and then duck the more reasonable questions.” I pointed out that they hadn’t taken that opportunity to debunk it, simply denied it. So, unless you think denial is the same as debunking, why do you think that the government hasn’t debunked the idea that Cummings had something to do with GSK, an idea which is now all over social media. As you point out, debunking has its advantages, advantages that a simple denial lacks.
          Also, if you think this is a “wild conspiracy theory”, why do you think DC went to Barnard Castle?

    • Cubby

      Sean Straw

      Dear Chap, that 15 min meeting comment tends to undermine your post. How exactly do you know that – oh that’s right Cummings said he was there for 15 mins.

  • Toby Clark

    The Scales fall from my eyes! It all falls into place. The strange antics of Dominic Cummings are not unlike Rudolf Hess’s flight to Scotland that ended with him going to Spandau Prison for the rest of his life! And let Boris Beware also! No wonder he is running scared of Rasputin!

    • Cubby

      Michael Norton

      Dear Chap, essential workers have always been able to move for their job unless they think they have the virus or a member of their home group have it.

      So your conclusion, unless you have other knowledge about his travels seems a bit hasty. On the other hand Cummings claims the reason he went to Durham was because of the virus probably affecting his wife and him likely to have it as well. If so Cummings broke the rules. On the other hand if Cummings was in the North East on essential work for the government then it was ok.

  • Spencer Eagle

    How on earth did a company like GSK pass scrutiny for this massive publicly funded contract? In any other sector, for any sort of government procurement, a track record and rap sheet like GSK’s would cause some consternation amongst MP’s of either side, surely?
    They have been involved in everything from bribery to the endangerment of end users, and that’s only the stuff they were brought to book over. https://violationtracker.goodjobsfirst.org/parent/glaxosmithkline

  • Patrick+Haseldine

    Just a thought, Craig.

    If, as Dominic Cummings confirmed at the press briefing, he was parked for 15 minutes by the River Tees in Barnard Castle, could his smartphone or laptop have connected with GSK’s WiFi? If so, all manner of business might have been transacted in a quarter of an hour. (Fibre broadband speed at DL12 8DT is a creditable 100Mbps!)

    Patrick H (https://earth.google.com/web/search/DL12+8DT/@54.55647505,-1.92053905,168.13337462a,2605.22891952d,35y,-63.84913236h,45.00862359t,-0r/data=CnMaSRJDCiUweDQ4N2MyNTJhZjllNzlkMjE6MHg5NDg5NmExZWFlMjQ0ZWNlGTU1GgrpRktAIfKonQaxmP6_KghETDEyIDhEVBgBIAEiJgokCYe2_dJYX0hAEZWMZIY_X0hAGUJOvWA_DQRAIZsSShJDCARA)

  • Dungroanin

    Where to start? How about with todays Matt Hanjob of money for old rope? Ok.

    Gilead is Rumsfeld’s money printing machine.
    They did exactly the same with Tamiflu.
    The FDA is used by the neocons and their man Fauci to get Trump to rubber-stamp this on fake science. And Handjob did it here.

    Does it work?
    Not much better than a placebo.

    Is it dangerous?
    Yes more than a placebo.

    But surely there have been trials?
    Yes but they were fixed to ignore these that did NOT recover.

    Thats the summary- here are the fuller facts.
    Jumping straight to the science first.


    Between Feb 6, 2020, and March 12, 2020, 237 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to a treatment group (158 to remdesivir and 79 to placebo); one patient in the placebo group who withdrew after randomisation was not included in the ITT population. Remdesivir use was not associated with a difference in time to clinical improvement (hazard ratio 1·23 [95% CI 0·87–1·75]). Although not statistically significant, patients receiving remdesivir had a numerically faster time to clinical improvement than those receiving placebo among opatients with symptom duration of 10 days or less (hazard ratio 1·52 [0·95–2·43]). Adverse events were reported in 102 (66%) of 155 remdesivir recipients versus 50 (64%) of 78 placebo recipients. Remdesivir was stopped early because of adverse events in 18 (12%) patients versus four (5%) patients who stopped placebo early.

    In this study of adult patients admitted to hospital for severe COVID-19, remdesivir was not associated with statistically significant clinical benefits. However, the numerical reduction in time to clinical improvement in those treated earlier requires confirmation in larger studies.

    That’ll do for now.

  • Deepgreenpuddock

    I see you are taking a bit of a pasting on twitter. I have no idea what the truth is but I am concerned that this nonentity seems to have become some kind of Rasputin figure for Johnston.For the life of me I cannot fathom why hw was/is on SAGE with no serious scientific background.Ok am sure he is very smart and may have a good general understanding of scientific principles but this is not the same as a solid working background in the
    subject and a specialist knowlwdge. Certainly, any sensible administration would have a team of super well informed people conversant with all the granular detail of the science behind creating a vaccine.It would be ludicrous for the government to send a generalist political figure to talk about the testing and mass production of a vaccine.
    I am not doubting your ideas but, if what he has said is true(about getting back to work on coronavirus vaccine related material) then it seems to be the case that we have a charlatan- Johnson, served by another charlatan(Cummings). In something as critical to the future of the country and the health of the population, the last thing we need is a couple of playboys running the show.

    • Ken Kenn

      No Super experts in this administration – just chancers.

      The biggest Chancer is Cummings as he is sure that even if he doesn’t know much the cabinet and Johnson know even less.

      Cummings though – despite being ‘ clever ‘ thought he could drive up to place where his parents live – a place where he would be reasonably well known and get away with it.

      Let’s hope is next job isn’t as a spy?

      More Mickey Mouse than Machiavelli.

      In Non Latin : he’s just another cocky dickhead – like his alleged Boss.

      • michael norton

        I expect, in reality, the police were informed before Cummings left Londinium.
        He called his father to say they were coming up, get some grub put in the guest cottage Pa.
        Then his old man rang the local constabulary to chat about protection for his extended family, during Mary’s quarantine, almost certainly Cummings took his devices with him and intended continuing with work for number ten, while they were up there.
        Then Cummings also became ill, then their son got ill
        but we must imagine that Cummings did as much work for number ten as he could, during this difficult time.
        I also expect number ten, knew in advance that Cummings was going to Banard Castle.
        I am sure that Cummings was in semi-constant contact with Johnson or Rabb or Gove.

        • jake

          I’m sure when we look back on all of this with the benefit of hindsight we’ll regard Dominic Cumming’s heroic and selfless dash north as a decisive moment in our suppression of this deadly pandemic. Without the semi-constant contact that you mention I shudder to think of how without his vision and steadying hand we’d have pulled through.

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