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As much as many of us in the UK detest Boris Johnson’s far too powerful, unelected side-kick, Dominic Cummings, for now he is “the news.” Although bombarding us with endless footage of the Dom loading up his car might be incredibly nauseating to watch, we should not race to move on to more important events because the prospect of his removal will diminish just as soon as we let this go. His conduct represented such an egregious breach of the lockdown restrictions that his departure should have been immediate and totally uncontested, but the Prime Minister is trying desperately to hang on to his most crucial top adviser.
Under normal circumstances Special Advisors do not give press conferences, but that is just one aspect of Dominic Cummings’s exceptionalism that appears to have led him to believe he could just run rough-shod over the lockdown regulations and get away with such unacceptable conduct and survive entirely unscathed. He faced the press in the garden of ten Downing Street where he read a prepared statement and answered questions put by the press. His statement was as full of holes as Swiss cheese; any decent self-respecting individual would have been too embarrassed to read it out. He denied some allegations, but admitted to a number of the sightings that have been reported by the press, trying to weave them into the storyline in a way that made genuine outrages seem forgivably reasonable. This Skwawkbox Article outlines how “Cummings’s press statement has made his behaviour worse, not better…” So let’s go over the gaping holes in his Swiss cheese account of his Durham getaway experience.
He started out telling us that his wife got sick and he ran home to take care of her on the same day Boris Johnson tested positive. He claimed he was worried he too would become ill with Covid 19 and be rendered incapable of providing proper care to their four year old son. Since he had obviously been living in close proximity to his wife and also working with Boris up until that point there was a high likelihood he was infected and would also get sick, but he also decided to head back over to Downing Street to spread the contagion among co-workers at number ten! He then admits he did not bother requesting childcare help from anyone closer to home in London before leaving for Durham. Since they were not infected with Covid 19, why couldn’t his sister or her “low risk category” 20 year old eldest daughter, have driven down from Durham to collect the child and take him up north for safe care?
This is the point where Dominic Cummings’s decision making falls into the category of recklessly irrational especially considering that men have tended to be more seriously affected by Covid 19 than women. Who in their right mind would seriously consider embarking on a 260 mile late night road trip north if they honestly felt that they were on the brink of becoming seriously ill? How would Dominic’s four year old son have fared if he had got really sick or passed out on the journey and his wife had taken a turn for the worst too while they were driving along a deserted motorway in the middle of the night during the long drive north? Why would anyone take such an extremely serious potential risk to the safety of their family or other motorists on the road that night and pass it off as a necessary decision made due to exceptional circumstances?
Cummings goes into intricate detail to avoid the pitfalls of valid criticism; overcomplicating the story is a classic sign of devious falsification. Miraculously he had a full tank of fuel, so he did not need to fill up along the way, but he must have visited a garage to fill up before leaving London at a point where he should already have been self-isolating and not risking infecting others. He insists he was not taking their child to be cared for by Grandparents as that is clearly against the rules due to the advanced age of his 70 year old parents and their subsequent risk status. He says they did not stay in the same house as his parents and it was his sister and her two daughters who had offered to take over care of his son if he and his wife became incapacitated.
In line with his excessively grandiose idea of himself as indispensible to the PM, Cummings made a huge deal of his immensely important work that he was eager to get back to in London. But was it really so essential for him to actually be physically present in London when so many people in the same situation were working remotely from home in line with Government recommendations to work from home. The Cummings family had access to an idyllic separate cottage where they were able to self isolate within the stipulations of the regulations and where Dominic Cummings could have remained in touch via his laptop. Sightings in the woods on or close to his parent’s property were fairly easy to explain away due to the extensive boundaries of this private property. Who among those reporting sightings would be fully aware of the crucial boundary that would have defined leaving home?
Despite claiming there were woods on his parents estate a visit to another wooded area was excused as a loo break for their son. How galling that must sound to a family who cannot enjoy the luxury of spacious grounds or even a tiny garden as they confine themselves in a single room of temporary accommodation. Dominic Cummings must have realized that the family jaunt to Barnard Castle on Easter Sunday was fully verified or he would not have made such a bizarre effort to weave the visit so plausibly into his excuse plot. This family outing is now proving a bit of an embarrassment as it was taken during a time when many resented the confines of the prolonged lockdown as the weather got better. This was the most egregious element of Dominic Cummings distain for the regulations that he helped set for ordinary citizens to abide by; people feel his relative freedom was just not fair.
He was the Prime Minister’s Chief Adviser with a very important and prestigious role at number ten, so he obviously felt that he and his family were exempt from adhering to any of the restrictions forced on the general population. The 60 mile roundtrip to Barnard Castle was presented as a trial run road trip to see if he was fit enough to drive the 260 miles back home to London. This is so ridiculous as he could just as easily have packed up the car and started driving down towards London assessing how he felt 30 miles into the trip. If he was considered fit enough to return to work, why was he concerned about vision problems on the drive south; and why would he risk driving at all if something as critical as his vision might have been compromised? This was another unforgivably reckless, unnecessary journey risking the safety of his family and other drivers on the road.
Not only could both Dominic Cummings and his journalist wife have chosen to continue working remotely up in Durham, but if he felt such a burning compulsion to return to London, once Doctors had pronounced him fit enough to return to work, he could have taken the train leaving his wife and son to spend more time up in Durham at a property which according to the Skwawkbox is also a second home for them. There was no legitimate reason that would excuse Dominic Cummings being enabled to twist the lockdown rules into a pretzel to accommodate his overgrown sense of elitist privilege. The most serious concern moving forward is that his outrageous warping of the restriction rules opens up a whole vista of potential possibilities for those intent on resisting necessary isolation restrictions; this puts us all at risk.
This scandal has reached a point where the lockdown rules are now rendered totally worthless unless Cunnings is fired for his transgressions. I sincerely doubt that his press briefing won any sympathy from the enraged public at large or cynical journalists in attendance, so why is Boris Johnson so unreservedly supportive in defending a Spad who is causing so much damage to his reputation and political credibility? “Johnson’s own ‘behavioural SAGE’ group slams his car-crash Cummings defence: ‘He has trashed all the advice… on how to build trust’ in anti-Covid measures!” The Skwawkbox headline in a highly critical Article saying, “Boris Johnson brutally put down earlier this evening by a short-lived but massively shared tweet published on the official UK civil service Twitter account. The tweet, which called Johnson and his ministers ‘arrogant and offensive’ ‘truth twisters’, was shared 33,000 times in the ten minutes before it was deleted – and was so widely shared that even the BBC could not ignore it.”
In a rare unscheduled appearance the Press Briefing our part-time Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, could not have sounded more unconvincing and insincere as he went into bat for his controversial Chief Adviser, Dominic Cummings. As highlighted in response to that Press Briefing the Skwawkbox document:
• Cummings did not and could not know that he and his wife were ‘about to be incapacitated’ when the virus leaves the vast majority of those it infects with mild to zero symptoms
• Cummings did not have ‘no alternative’ – he reportedly has a sister who lives in London and an assistant who lives just a few streets away from his home
• Not by even the most blind Tory fan could claim travelling 260 miles was done ‘with the overwhelming aim of stopping the spread of the virus’ – even if they were foolish enough to buy Johnson’s spiel about acting ‘responsibly, legally and with integrity’
From this carnival of deception, the most important thing to analyse first is the motivations driving Boris Johnson’s obsession with retaining Dominic Cummings in post despite his flagrant, deliberate and serious flouting of the Covid 19 lockdown restriction that he himself put in place, with the significant danger now that these vital regulations will be ignored by the public from here on in. There are several potential possibilities for the PM’s decision making on this issue:
1. Boris Johnson is overwhelmed by a dedicated sense of loyalty towards the man who more than anyone else helped him get elected in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. This is highly doubtful as Boris Johnson has proven himself more than capable of throwing former trusted colleagues under the bus in his drive to meet his own selfish, power-hungry, narcissistic needs.
2. Boris Johnson is unconcerned about undermining the “Stay at Home” message. Although the vast majority of the public have followed the instruction carefully, making huge personal sacrifices, these efforts don’t support the blatant breaches Boris was expecting to facilitate the Dom’s “Herd Immunity” eugenics program in wiping out a much larger number of the “economically inactive” pensioners he had hoped to selectively cull. The sheer hypocrisy and arrogance of the Cummings response will encourage greater non-compliance so that Johnson has a target for blame when the second wave brings a renewed spike in the death toll.
While Boris Johnson might well have wanted to exploit this scandal to incite greater non-compliance as he forces people back into unsafe work environments, he would have much preferred a more expendable fall guy he could fire without impacting the full potential of his ongoing dictatorship strategy. The public are now baying for blood and demanding that he fires Cummings.
3. Johnson is heavily reliant on Dominic Cummings both with regard to tough decision making, essentially doing his job for him, and as his repugnant human-shield ready to accept being despised by the public so that Boris can continue to shine as a true charismatic hero of the people. This explanation certainly has an element of credibility to it, but it falls apart at the point where the storm over protecting Dominic Cummings from accountability becomes a millstone dragging the PM into the quagmire.
4. A point raised by Michael Norton in an earlier comment offers a potential explanation: there have been multiple breaches among the exceptionalist ranks of elite Tory MPs and key critical decision makers, so succumbing to pressure over removing Dominic Cummings could set a precedent capable of bringing down an uncomfortable number of Tory MPs. I doubt that Cummings is the solitary stand out in ignoring regulations that all of the Tories will believe are well beneath them. Those Tories who have bent the rules probably believed they would never get caught out and it would be easy to cover their tracks and lie their way out of trouble, but I am sure they are a known risk within the party and far less important to Boris Johnson than Cummings.
5. I would suggest an even more incendiary reason for Boris Johnson’s devious and divisive cloak of protection shielding his top advisor from accountability: blackmail! Dominic Cummings knows far too much with regard to the Covert 2019 Rigged Election and he fully expects to continue benefiting from the silent coup he undoubtedly helped to engineer. If Cummings is removed from his post his unique access to an unelected position of power evaporates, so there is no longer any incentive to protect the prime beneficiary of that fraud our part-time Prime Minister, Boris Johnson!
I think Boris Johnson’s persistent irrational urge to protect Dominic Cummings has far less to do with loyalty and far more to do with fear of the catastrophic exposure of his illegal, Covert 2019 Rigged Election fake “Landslide Victory!” Cummings knows Johnson well enough to realize that he cannot be trusted further than you can throw him and that’s a pretty hefty heave! Dominic will have fully gamed out the potential scenario of a critical Boris betrayal ahead of time so that he has a secure way out that minimizes his own culpability and any potential for criminal charges. If, due to intense public and opposition party pressure, Dominic Cummings can be successfully ousted from his influential position in Government then he has a relatively strong potential to become the ultimate Electoral fraud Whistleblower.
I know that previous comments on this thread have assumed that there could not have been a massive Tory program of nationwide Electoral fraud because of the huge risk of exposure from a Whistleblower. I doubt that all Tory MPs know the full details of how the December Election was rigged as this really would make the plan vulnerable to detection. A large percentage of Tory MPs may well attribute the electoral success to Dominic Cummings’s PsyOps propaganda program and the full compliance of the UK media and the BBC in demonizing Jeremy Corbyn. However, those same MPs may well resent how powerful and influential Cummings has become in the new Tory Government and without the slightest hint of gratitude or loyalty they could now feel that Cummings is expendable without realizing the danger he presents.
The other night I watched a film about Lance Armstrong and his meteoric rise to the unstoppable winning position in the Tour de France year after year before he was exposed for doping. I must admit I had no idea how deeply involved his entire team had been in the illegal use of performance enhancing drugs until I watched the film. In the end he was exposed and brought down by a key trusted former team mate after he refused to bring that cyclist back into his newly regrouped team when Lance decided to make a comeback. Sure the charges that Whistleblower faced were nowhere near as severe as the potential trouble Dominic Cummings could be in coming forward to expose electoral fraud, but I am confident that Dominic will have insured that he was meticulously prepared for this eventuality.
There is no reason to sympathise with Dominic Cummings as a parent faced with “no alternative” when he chose to risk the lives of his family by embarking on a 260 mile journey while expecting to become incapacitated. This was not a justifiable “exceptional circumstance,” as he could potentially have lost control of his car and caused a serious accident that endangered other motorists as well as his family. We must continue to loudly and forcefully protest our outrage at the retention of Dominic Cummings in post. If the pressure becomes great enough for him to be fired by Boris Johnson, his personal loyalty to the PM might evaporate really rapidly. In such a circumstance, at a point where everything he had worked towards was no longer in the frame, who knows what he might decide to do in retaliation for being ditched and humiliated by the Tories.
I am thoroughly convinced that Dominic Cummings has all of the critical information about how the Covert 2019 Rigged Election was accomplished. My Petition for an investigation would be purely confirmatory, as I have absolutely no doubt that Cummings would have kept copies of all the most incriminating evidence as his insurance policy. So what might happen if Boris Johnson is pressured into firing Cummings? His revelations could blow the case wide open, totally obliterating the legitimacy of this Tory Government, thereby removing Boris Johnson from power in a brutal payback. The more tenaciously Johnson irrationally fights to keep Dominic Cummings in place, despite growing vocal public outcry, the more likely that he is being blackmailed. We must keep pushing as Cummings could be that one key comprehensive witness whose Whistleblower evidence takes this Tory Government down and out.