Boris Johnson just confirmed that it’s one rule for the Westminster elite, another for us

Boris Johnson’s BBC One press conference

Ifan Morgan Jones

“Is this government asking you, the people to do one thing, while senior people here in government do something else?” Boris Johnson began his press conference.

“Have we been asking you to make sacrifices, to obey social distancing rules, stay at home, while some people have been flouting those rules?”

And with his declaration that he was sticking with his top advisor Dominic Cummings, the answer was a clear and emphatic: ‘Yes.’

Johnson and Cummings don’t have a leg to stand on. The Government’s guidance was and continues to be unambiguous. It’s still there in black and white on the website: ‘if you have coronavirus symptoms you must stay at home.’

Johnson and Cummings know this. Everyone knows this. In fact what makes the UK Government’s gaslighting of the people so difficult is that they are still pumping out millions in TV, radio and social media ads reiterating these exact same rules.

In fact, soon after the UK Government sent out yesterday’s statement defending Dominic Cummings’ actions as within regulations the official UK Gov Twitter account published a scheduled tweet telling people not to “break the rules” by visiting the homes of others.

Boris Johnson’s terse statement didn’t even bother to address further revelations of Dominic Cumming’s subsequent trips to Durham – he effectively dismissed them as ‘fake news,’ as if he was some knock-off Trump.

He did not get to grips with the contradictions in Cummings’ own account – which is that he had to travel to Durham because he needed childcare, but then had no contact with his family.

Even if the Prime Minister had put his hands up and said ‘he got it wrong and will apologise’ he might have been able to avoid too much criticism. But just saying that black is white and that we should all move on requires a particular level of arrogance that only the ruling class possess.

 

Sham

The irony in all of this is that Dominic Cummings has styled himself as the man with his finger on the public pulse. But he has badly misread the public mood on this.

Over the last 48 hours, we have heard countless stories by people who missed family funerals or could not visit dying relatives because they respected the UK Government’s own guidelines. They are furious.

And every member of the public will have made big sacrifices for the lockdown. Boris Johnson has essentially just told them that if we really cared about their significant others we would have disregarded the lockdown in the same way as Dominic Cummings did.

Ultimately, this matters not just because of its political impact, but because it makes a complete sham of a lockdown itself. A lockdown that is there, let’s not forget, because of a pandemic that has already killed 40,000 people in the UK, the highest number in Europe.

While the pandemic lockdown is a matter for the Welsh Government in Wales, we know that most people get their political news from a Westminster-centric media that don’t always make that clear.

How many people will be thinking, ‘well if Dominic Cummings can drive 250 miles while his family are suffering from coronavirus, why on earth have I been keeping myself stuck indoors for months?’

Johnson’s decision to put his top advisor before the lockdown risks a public health disaster.

Because if there is a second peak the UK Government will need to impose another strict lockdown. That would have been hard enough anyway – not it’s going to be essentially politically impossible.

And, yes, good luck enforcing those fines.

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WrexhamianRhosdduTia WallaceJohn Ellisj humphrys Recent comment authors
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John Young
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John Young

I wonder if any Conservative voters read this site. If there are any out there would you confirm that you are utterly ashamed of having voted for this bunch of elitist clowns.

Plain citizen
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Plain citizen

While not a regular Tory voter being more of a small ‘c’ conservative, I have to agree, completely inept, utterly incapable of behaving in a reasoned and responsible manner. Why should anyone obey the irksome regulations if they don’t really matter as they obviously don’t? If they don’t really matter scrap them for everyone not just the elite.

j humphrys
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j humphrys

You should get into Gwlad.

John Ellis
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John Ellis

My other half’s soon expecting her very first grandchild. It’s been a rocky ride for her son and his wife, in that they had fertility problems and, taking aboard the medical advice that they’d received, had reached the point when they’d virtually given up hope of having children of their own. However the clinic at the hospital advised that there was perhaps one more treatment that they might try, but it’d be best not to raise their hopes too high. And it worked. My partner’s daughter-in-law is now nearing the end of her pregnancy and all appears well. Quite naturally… Read more »

Kerry Davies
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Kerry Davies

Tell her that she owes it to the child to take more care of herself so that he may grow up with a Granny to love rather than an urn on the mantelpiece? People who move around, like Cummings and his wife, get the virus and older people stand more chance of dying.
If her irresponsibility and selfishness forces her to indulge her petulance and place her son, his partner and her grandchild at risk then there isn’t much to say really. Just pray she kills herself not them.

Plain citizen
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Plain citizen

Your last sentence is a disgrace.

John Ellis
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John Ellis

Believe me, I can understand why you’ve said what you’ve said, because, rationally, I share your view.

But this is the love of my life over twenty years that we’re discussing, and what she feels can’t fail to move me. That’s my dilemma, and maybe my pain.

Huw J Davies
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Huw J Davies

Are you from the planet Vulcan?

Rhosddu
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Rhosddu

John, my mam can’t see her new great-granddaughter, but is perfectly happy to receive videos and photos on WhatsApp, etc, or better still a video call. Perhaps you could persuade your wife to ignore the Cummings business and make do with these options. And don’t be offended by Kerry’s final sentence. Her statement was probably well-intended but ill-thought-out at the very end. We all make mistakes.

John Ellis
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John Ellis

Cheers, and thanks for that. It genuinely helps.

Plain citizen
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Plain citizen

‘Do as I say, not as I do’. Lockdown is dead intellectually and now morally after Cummings and Bojo’s performance. This govt has lost moral authority so look out for social distancing and limiting interactions with people outside your own household completely unravelling.

Rhosddu
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Rhosddu

We can watch as it unravels east of Clawdd Offa, yes. We have our own lockdown regulations in this country, so we have no direct need to feel insulted by Cummings’ disregard for England’s regulations; but, of course, we can still feel angry on behalf of the English.

mark
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mark

who really thought it was ever any other way. Why isn’t every other MP in Westminster screaming for Cummings head on a plate, I expect nothing from the tories they are scum but the silence from every other MP is rubbing salt into the wound.

John Ellis
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John Ellis

In fairness quite a few Tory MPs are screaming – or something not far short of that.

Including MPs like Steve Baker and Peter Bone who are fully paid-up members of the Brexiteer tendency.

Huw J Davies
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Huw J Davies

Though Steve Baker seemed more annoyed that Cummings is being given more ‘credit’ for Brexit than he deserves and gave the impression he’s wanted to get rid of Cummings for a good while.

Gillian Hodkinson
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Gillian Hodkinson

On the face of it, it seems simple to put a judgement of “guilty” – he broke the rules that he and the government have laid down. He needs to pay. By the way I do not live in the Uk and have political axe to grind… Then I stepped back and thought what if it were me 20 years ago when my son was little? what if me and my husband had tested positive and knew we had the virus? would we think the same way as those who have not had it? or would it change the way… Read more »

Gillian Hodkinson
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Gillian Hodkinson

I have NO political axe to grind lol couldnt edit my post

j humphrys
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j humphrys

Have a look at his Wicki entry. Lots more to come?

John Ellis
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John Ellis

We’ve recently mysteriously lost the option to edit for spelling mistakes, grammatical infelicities – or for second thoughts! – which used to be briefly available after you posted a comment.

Wrexhamian
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Wrexhamian

Of course any parent would consider the wellbeing of their child as paramount, but his wife has family in London who could have looked after the child while the Cummingses locked down in their own home — in London.

John Ellis
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John Ellis

I see your point – genuinely. But if numbers of ordinary people pondered the governments’ call on March 23rd and during the days following, and decided that their specific personal circumstances were such that they were justified in ignoring it, what might have come as a consequence of that? You yourself say that you are ‘a clinical research professional of 38 years’ and that you’re ‘absolutely terrified of this virus’. Given your expertise and experience, your fear is a lot more significant than mine and that of any of us ordinary punters. But even so we got the point and… Read more »

j humphrys
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j humphrys

We really would need that border!!!

Anthony Mitchell
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Anthony Mitchell

Cummings reminds me of an evil bond villain

John Ellis
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John Ellis

I keep thinking that he resembles Worzel Gummidge rather more than Jeremy Corbyn ever did!

j humphrys
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j humphrys

Dresses like a Hoi Brexiteer. Is this on purpose, though?

Mynydd Gwyn
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Mynydd Gwyn

Unalloyed hypocrisy certainly. But it’s the leaderships Orwellian double think, doubling down with the refutations that chills me.

John Ellis
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John Ellis

The former UK ambassador and poker into dubious polical crevices, Craig Murray, has an interesting, if purely speculative, ‘take’ on why Mr Cummings might have chosen Barnard Castle for his ‘practice drive’. See https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/ and his piece ‘Why Barnard Castle?’, posted 24th May.

Tia Wallace
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Tia Wallace

Are we all forgetting one thing? I am no rocket scientist but does the government not represent the people and hence are voted in by the people? If they are starting to play the one rule for them and one for us game yet again, which seems to be all to common over the last ten years, in my personal opinion for what it is worth. Perhaps it is time for us to play the no confidence get out game would you not say?