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Sunday’s headline: “YOU COULDN’T MAKE IT UP!” Andrew Marr reveals that the Mail on Sunday are, “unpicking aspects of the evidence from the northeast” regarding Cummings episode up there, with claims that, “Witness who alerted police broke lockdown rules HIMSELF, and another admits he INVENTED the story.” To placate their irate readers they also report that Boris Johnson has “slapped down” Dominic Cummings, no doubt bowing to intense public pressure. So the Prime Minister has now wagged his finger at Dominic Cummings and sternly warned him that if he causes yet another massive, publically embarrassing, screw-up, like deliberately misinterpreting vital Covid 19 public safety regulations to confuse and show utter contempt for the public, he really will have to go. Wow! The message is that Cummings gets one more chance to commit a horrendous blunder with catastrophic consequences before he might be forced out of number ten.
It fell to the Telegraph’s Associate Editor Camilla Tominey and BBC Health Editor Hugh Pym to dissect what was portrayed in the Sunday papers. There was an understandable shocking focus on events in the US, with riots following the killing of an unarmed black man by police officers in Minneapolis. This detracted attention away from the situation here in the UK with the growing backlash against the Government’s stubborn refusal to sack Dominic Cummings, but despite Boris Johnson’s appeals to “move on” we were not ready to let the matter drop.
Johnson was obviously hoping that this limp admonishment would suffice, but to his seething annoyance the Cummings scandal still made the Observer’s front page headline with, “Top Scientists: Cummings has broken trust in Covid policy.” Marr states, “They are not moving on from the Dominic Cummings story, they’re saying that 29 Health Administrators and Academics have written to the Government saying that episode has really damaged the Government’s credibility” describing this as “one take on the Cummings story.” The Sunday Times reports on an interview with the EU’s Chief Negotiator with the headline, “Keep promises or face no deal. Barnier tell PM. Brittan risks double economic whammy says EU. Emblazoned across the top of a deeply insulting picture of Boris Johnson with puppet strings attached they ask, “IS THE DOM AND BORIS SHOW OVER?” That brutal barb would have made the deafening blast in Boris’s head drown out his breakfast cereal’s “snap, crackle and pop!”
The Express in jubilant form say, “Millions more get taste of freedom,” but the Sunday People criticize, “Test and trace is national disgrace.” Also in the Telegraph Hugh Pym discusses, “Chief Scientist Sir Patrick Valance is defending the balance the Government has to strike between science and other political aspects. Valance sets out what he thinks scientists can and can’t do. There is a very vigorous debate on SAGE between different shades of opinion it’s not groupthink he says ultimately they can advise ministers but the Government has to make its own decisions.”
Arlene Foster, the First Minister of Northern Ireland was able to report the relative success of the province compared with the UK. Reticent to provide any direct condemnation of the Tory Government, she downplayed the Irish success pointing to the significant difference in population density. They had put tracking and tracing in place two weeks ago using the old tried and tested method of reliance on human resources. When Marr tried attacking her on the provision of controversial abortion services, Foster did not rise to the bait simply saying that all standard Healthcare services were delayed or disrupted by the Covid 19 crisis. Foster is not a likable political character, but she emerged from this interview unscathed; it was really hard to take her down when she was on a roll.
Marr tried valiantly to get Labour’s Shadow Chancellor; Anneliese Dodds to compliantly park herself on the fence, in favour or not in favour if the unlocking, but she was having none of it. Dodds remained doggedly focused on the criteria set by the Government, initially supported by Labour, but still not met before proceeding to the next phase of releasing from lockdown. It did not take too much judicious reading between the lines to figure out where Labour stood on the issue of lockdown and easing restrictions; put the safety measures, tracking and tracing in place first. She stressed that it was the solemn responsibility of the opposition to warn the current Government of potential failures in their policy decisions to help avoid disastrous consequences; they had done their part, but this Tory Government was not listening. I have no doubt that Labour MPs are fully aware of the dangerous underlying objectives of this Government
Government Scientific Adviser Professor Peter Openshaw of Imperial College was either hopelessly ignorant or deeply confused about his body language, but perhaps he was attempting to adopt a few positive NLP techniques to get the audience onside. Either way he failed miserably, keeping his hand close to his throat throughout the entire interview, left us wondering what was meant by the all his hand flailing and gesticulations. Sadly this massive distraction was the most memorable component of his interview. He did reassure us with the evidence so far showing that most transmissions are within closed domestic environments with some transmission on transport so we were safe to spend more time outside. It was the first time I had heard anyone talk about the infection on our packages; he said it was possible to detect the virus, but whether there is infectious virus is less certain.
You could clearly discern the angry trumpeting of an entire herd of elephants within the BBC studio as Andrew Marr went on air, but he almost entirely avoided mentioning the ongoing saga of Cummings unresolved transgressions. Marr seemed blissfully oblivious to the presence of pachyderms; perhaps they were being forced to observe an extreme level of social distancing. A begrudging much belated grumble was finally directed towards Dominic Raab during the last interview. Raab fended off the inquiry with standard Tory obfuscation amid a torrent of grossly inept excuses and all too familiar inaccurate statistical spin.
Raab’s performance was the usual Government mouthing off of set pieces of Tory pitches. We certainly didn’t learn anything new. It is not like the Tories need to try any more to convince us that we really did vote them into office; they think that battle is over now. They are steadily securing control of the BBC and despite the latest negative swipes they still think they can control our media. But what would happen if the truth about the Covert 2019 Rigged Election was exposed as a fraud? That is what the Tories risk if they dare to oust Cummings: he will take his revenge and he is a unique position to do so. A full exposure of the evidence would then necessitate and support a full investigation and prompt removal of this toxic Tory Government from office. We must keep pushing for Dominic Cummings to be fired as this could potentially bring down this Government.