I write this post as I think about the revelations this weekend of Dominic Cumming’s 260 mile trip north during lockdown, and the more I think about it, the more it fills me with absolute, incandescent rage. I will try, as best I can, to keep this to the point, to not be too rude or completely sucked into this emotionally, but it is my opinion, I don’t believe it’s a completely unreasonable one, and I make no apologies for a) having an opinion b) wanting to voice it or c) using bad language (sorry, Mum).
I also write this post only an hour or so after writing this one, about how a life of 9 weeks of shielding is getting me down. And it’s because of the first post that this one is getting me quite worked up.
For anyone who’s not seen the news (and I don’t blame anyone who’s been avoiding it, I have been limiting myself to key information where I can to protect my own sanity), Dominic Cummings, the man who pulls the puppet strings of Boris Johnson (who let’s be honest, is in no way capable of stringing a coherent and understandable sentence together most of the time, let alone running a Government) supposedly had Covid-19 symptoms back in March. According to an article that his wife wrote in the Spectator, these symptoms were pretty severe and made him bedbound for 10 days. Although I don’t like the man, the symptoms are horrible and overall I would normally be somewhat sympathetic to the fact he’s in a bit of a rubbish situation.
The UK was in the tightest throes of lockdown, no one was meant to be leaving their house to do anything other than essential, local journeys, they certainly weren’t meant to be visiting family members and it was believed that children were often carrying the virus without symptoms and the elderly were most affected by them. So the large majority of us abided by said rules.
During this 10 days of being bedbound, Dominic Cummings drove 260 miles North from London to Durham, to take his toddler to his parents house, to be looked after. He essentially broke every lockdown rule and went against every piece of advice he had been spearheading as the head of the Government. He essentially sucker punched every single person negatively affected by the lockdown and Covid-19 square in the face. And the worst thing is he knew it and did not care a single ounce.
I could just try and let this go. It would probably do my mind the world of good to, but I’m fed up of just trying to let things that make me angry enough to care about them go, for an easy life. I’m fed up of rolling over. I often do, to protect my own sanity, but sometimes things need speaking about, because if we don’t talk about them, they become the society norm. I have so many questions about this whole story and unfortunately not many answers.
I am painfully aware that the above at face value makes me seem like a cold, heartless bitch with no sympathy for the welfare of Dominic Cummings, his wife or his child. Please do not think I don’t care at all. From what I’ve heard from those who have had the virus, it is horrendous. It would be scary and stressful, trying to work out how you have the symptoms and look after a small child. I am in no way denying that. What makes me mad is that so many others out there were and are doing the same. And they would not get away with driving hundreds of miles, when they had been expressly told not to, to get help. So many people with so many less options available to them due to socio-economic circumstances, have had to deal with it as best they can. Why is this man so self-important as to believe he doesn’t have to do that? What makes him so much ‘better’ than the rest of us that he is exempt for an easier life for himself?
Also if his symptoms were so bad that he was bedridden for 10 days, why was he well enough to drive that far? The two just don’t match up. It concerns me that his wife thought it necessary (regardless of the morals) to write in black and white such a blatant lie. She knew he had not remained in bed for 10 days. She could have avoided saying about his trip without outright lying about his situation.
He was also putting his own parents at significant risk. Friends of mine have had Covid-19, in varying degrees of severity, and all of them have not wished it on anyone else and have ensured they stayed well away from their family members, because that’s what you do when you want to protect those you love. Why would your first thought when trying to work out how to look after your child, be to do something that you know will potentially put your closest family members in the same shitty situation you are finding yourself in? Do you not care? Or, dare I say it, were you not actually in that predicament in the first place, because you didn’t actually have the virus?
I am not usually one to dig too far under surfaces. For better or worse, I try and take things at the value they are presented to me and ask questions when it feels like I have a reason to do so, not straight away. I’m not big on conspiracy theories, but over the past few weeks I’ve been wondering a lot more about where the truth lies between what the Government are telling us and what’s actually happening.
Ultimately, in all the questions raised so far about what Cummings did on that day back in March and why, the biggest question I’m trying and failing to get my head around is why this man believes himself to be so far above the rest of us, that he doesn’t have to abide by the rules? I am painfully aware that this seems to be how a lot of the political class operate, and it’s across many parties, although the Tories do seem to take the prize of most incidences of this type of behaviour. I dread to think what series of events happens to make each of these people feel they are more important than others.
I am using my own experience here to make my point, because it’s the only experience that I can write about with confidence of the facts. I am not intending for it to seem that my experience is a) the only one, there are hundreds of thousands of people that will feel a similar way or b) more important than anyone else’s. But in all this, the reason I feel like it’s such a punch in the face is that I have spent so long inside, on my own, so that my Husband can continue to work without the risk of infecting me. I have followed the rules and done what I can to keep myself safe. This has had some positive effects, but it’s had a lot of negative too. I have never gone so long without seeing my husband or parents as I have during this. I miss my friends terribly. I am feeling desperately lonely and sad. I have gone no further than next door’s door step (to deliver some scones). At the time that Cummings went to Durham, if I’d have jacked it all in and driven to my parents house for some much-needed human interaction, I would probably have been stopped and fined and if I’d have protested it in the way that Cummings and his Tory lapdogs who are desperately trying to cover his ass have done, I would have had that fine increased or gone to court where my excuse would not have stood up. But for Cummings there are no repercussions and he hasn’t even had the common decency to say sorry. He’s just acting like we shouldn’t have a problem with it.
We as the British public deserve better. We don’t deserve to be treated like idiots. Every single Government address in this whole pandemic that I have seen or read, has felt like an insult on my intelligence. It feels like they are deliberately trying to tell me things that I can clearly see are lies. Simple things too, I’m not trying to inflate my own intelligence to prove this point. I am of average intelligence and I am easily able to pick many holes in what they are saying, yet they keep on saying things that clearly don’t add up and seem to whole heartedly believe that we will not question it.
But we are questioning it, seeing right through it and being angry about the way we are being treated. For all it’s sins, and yes it is a bit of a left leaning echo-chamber unless you want to go to that part of the site, Twitter has literally thousands of tweets right now of people questioning why the Tories are saying, well quite frankly any of their strange things that don’t hold up in these past few months. I am by far and away not the only one looking at the lies and going ‘but I can prove to you this is a lie, why are you still staring me dead in the eyes and expecting me to accept it as truth?’.
I know this raises bigger, quite frankly scary, questions about our political system but I do wonder how we are ever going to break this cycle of political idiocy? We have huge numbers of disenfranchised voters, who believe that voting makes no difference (and on the one hand they are right, our current voting system is extremely crooked and flawed), and I wonder just what it will take to get them to turn out and vote? Because for 50% of the population, our female predecessors literally DYING to allow us to have our say doesn’t encourage them to vote and if that doesn’t, Lord knows what will.
We also have so many people that repeatedly, truly believe that the Government are doing a good job in this. And I couldn’t care less if the Government at this time were red, blue, yellow, green or fucking purple and spotty in all honesty, if any Government of any persuasion were making such a complete hash of this situation as the current one is, I would have issues with it, even if I had voted for them, decisions like these would be making me rapidly question their abilities and intensions. It’s not purely the fact they wear Conservative badges that makes me really upset about the way the situation is being handled. It’s the strange decisions, blatant lies and blatant disregard for their citizens health that make me mad. Their badges could all read ‘Turnip’, if the decisions were the same I’d still be mad about it, changing the name isn’t going to change that.
And again, the same as with those that don’t vote at all, I wonder what it takes for some people to take a step back and see all the failings, and there are plenty of long lists of them available for people to read, and think, ‘you know what, they’re not actually doing that well and I deserve better than this’? Because it seems ‘Global Pandemic’ isn’t the answer to this question the same way ‘women dying’ isn’t enough to persuade a lot of Women they really ought to at least try and use their vote.
We as a British public deserve better than to be spoken to like idiots, to be constantly and so blatantly lied to, even when thousands of us can point out with certainty that said piece of information is a lie.
No, I don’t believe that a different political party (any of them) would have navigated their way through this with a perfectly unblemished record. There would have been mistakes and questionable judgements, but I do like to still have enough optimism that someone else might have listened a bit more to those who are more knowledgeable about this and put a little less value on the economy to line the pockets of their friends and a little more value on the lives of human beings.
I don’t know the answers to any of the above questions, I wish I did, even if it just shut my incessant brain up for a bit (if you think I talk a lot, I say less than half of what I think and to live with an internal narrative that thinks that much is damn tiring, if nothing else). But I do believe that somehow, somewhere, there must be a way out of this situation we find ourselves in. I just wish I knew what it was. I hope one day people in the political class won’t always think of themselves as more important, less accountable and more deserving than those below them. I also really hope that we don’t have to go through situations similar to Peterloo, the Civil Wars or the plights of the Suffragettes or any other similar event to get there, the last thing I want is more revolutionary action that causes the deaths of thousands of people.
Mainly, I just wish that those making the decisions would speak to people and listen, truly listen, and realise that at the end of the day, we are all human and they are not better than any of us. That their actions and disregard for us is upsetting.
And mainly I’m just pissed off because it still hurts where Dominic Cummings punched me square in the face this weekend.
PS: If you start your debate back to me with anything along the lines of ‘Corbyn/Labour would have been worse’, your opinion is null and void and I’m not sorry. Firstly, as that has never happened, you have no evidence to base that on at all. Secondly, straw man arguments to deflect away from the original point have no use to anyone. Deflecting away from the original point with an argument involving a person/party that has little, if any, relation to the point at all doesn’t make up in any way for the fact the people in charge are doing a widely-regarded as terrible job, it just continues to ignore the original point being made. No, I am not a member of the Labour party, so it’s not just that I don’t want to hear negative opinions of them. I just don’t like straw man arguments.