by Cary Gee
Imagine exercising your right to your daily one hour's exercise outside the home by visiting a local beauty spot, only to discover that Downing Street's Pointy Headed Gollum has got there first. Not only has the Gollum pipped you to the post, but he has driven 260 miles in the company of Typhoid Mary from his home in London to get there, contravening all the advice of the Government's own Scientific Advisory Group of which the Gollum, despite possessing no more science than my dog - probably less, my dog at least recognises boundaries - is a key member.
Now imagine you have been reading, despairingly, about the fact that one-third of people who have died from Covid 19 in our hospitals suffered from complications arising from diabetes. Not from type 2 diabetes, but patients with the autoimmune disease Type 1 diabetes. The type, in fact, that I have been forced to micromanage for my own survival since childhood. Now imagine just how bloody furious I feel when I hear the Gollum attempting to justify his frankly unjustifiable lockdown breach with weasel words and bullshit.
While I have been forced, due to the understandable cancellation of all non-essential outpatients appointments, to rely on five-minute telephone consultations with my excellent team of specialists at Charing Cross hospital the Gollum has apparently been seen wandering through a bluebell wood near his parents home in Durham. I note that his in-laws pulled up their own drawbridge at nearby Chillingham Castle, their home which boasts its very own torture chamber. A pity. I can't think of a better place for Dominic Cummings to self-isolate.
While I have my own purely selfish concerns about the potentially devastating repercussions of Cummings' miscreancy - there's nothing like the words 'underlying health condition' to concentrate the mind - thousands of others have suffered in unimaginable ways by simply adhering to the slogan Cummings himself devised. 'Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives'. An edict that Cummings has now shot to pieces, meaning the chance of a second spike in contagion and an extended sentence of solitary confinement for the rest of us has increased exponentially. By flouting the government's own advice with such anaemic indifference Cummings has gone from being a mere career psychopath to Britain's most dangerous man.
Yet, Johnson, another hypocrite who has no problem assuming a mask to fool the public for political gain, seems to have no problem with this.
His Downing Street press conference, hurriedly staged within hours of fresh allegations against his chief advisor were made by the Observer and Sunday Mirror newspapers, was an exercise in obfuscation. I've seldom seen an elected politician show such utter contempt for the people who put him in power in the first place. I only hope that voters in the north east, including those in Durham, snatch back the keys to Downing Street at the first opportunity.
How a puffed up Prime Minister can stand on his doorstep every Thursday evening and clap for the NHS, while directly contributing to its workload beggars belief. Perhaps the time has come to end this patronising and unsettling spectacle and simply pay our National Health heroes what they are worth instead. A friend of mine in Newcastle recently told me a story about one of her neighbours, an NHS nurse, who returned home exhausted after working a 15-hour shift, only to be woken up minutes after she had crawled into bed by the sound of well-meaning meaning residents banging together pots and pans on their balconies! Surely we can come up with a more fitting, less counter-productive tribute.
We already know that Dominic Cummings' opinion of himself differs wildly from that of anyone who has known or worked with him, but by asserting his differences so publicly he has done more to undermine the accepted scientific consensus of the government's own position than any other single individual. If it's ok for him to deliberately misapprehend his own advice, then why shouldn't everyone else.
I can only imagine how parents, forced to watch their own children suffocate through a pane of glass, or children unable to bury their parents, felt on seeing Cummings and his wife hop into their car and travel the length of the country with such reckless nonchalance.
That the PM’s considered reaction was to keep him in post is the surest sign that this government is not just wildly flailing, but completely failing in the absence of any kind of purpose.
Perhaps Johnson will at least take note of the latest opinion polls which show a clear lack of confidence in the lifting of the lockdown and a continuing slide in our belief that the government remains in control of this crisis. He might even heed a chorus of ecclesiastical censure, his own backbenchers and the Daily Mail’s headline'Tory Fury Explodes'. But I doubt it. Not if it means Johnson has to make his own personal sacrifice for the greater good, by losing Cummings for good.
Cary Gee is a former contributor to the New Statesman, Tribune, trade union officer, and LGBT campaigner.