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24th May 2020

COMMENT: If only the Government shielded our elderly like they shield Dominic Cummings

'Funny isn't it, how certain sections of the press have treated the cases of Professor Neil Ferguson and Dominic Cummings so differently? It clearly points to a new directive: bluebells good, blue balls bad.'

Nooruddean Choudry

What is so important about Dominic Cummings? Why is our spineless government changing history and risking our future to save one man’s career?

Cummings himself is indifferent. He doesn’t care what we think because he doesn’t need our votes. He has the demeanour of a man who triumphantly mutters ‘Lifehack’ under his breath at least ten times a day. Pouring out Rice Krispies the night before to save time in the morning? Lifehack. Going bald at thirty to save a fortune on combs and conditioner? Lifehack. Using your young child as an excuse to spend time with your family in leafy Durham, thus potentially putting elderly parents and everyone who uses the same service stations as you at risk? Life fucking hack.

Of course Cummings authored his own elaborate excuse, adding a plethora of new cast members and locations like a Skeletor Charles Dickens. He needed childcare so desperately that he was forced to travel 260 miles before deciding he didn’t actually need childcare; his exposure to and symptoms of coronavirus being so acute that driving to Durham was his only option, but they weren’t so bad that he couldn’t drive to Durham; he stayed at relatives, but not with relatives, just adjacent to relatives. Above all, he absolutely, definitely self-isolated – apart from when Dancing Queen came on…or that one visit to Barnard Castle.

As expected, Downing Street’s own Slenderman had the resounding backing of all the dough-faced Tory boys too scared shitless that he’d somehow hack into their incognito tabs. They were swiftly Whatsapp’d a scripted response and duly obliged without question, for fear of being reprimanded or have Big Dom cough on them in their sleep. He wasn’t bluffing either, seeing as his own parents weren’t safe at the other end of the country. With perverted irony, the cabinet did more to shield Cummings than he did his own family.

So gaslighted are we as a nation, that history has been rewritten to absolve one man. Not only that but the likes of Michael Gove, Dominic Raab (the veinier of the two testicular Doms), and centrists’ favourite ‘Dishy’ Rishi Sunak had the cheek to guilt us over extremely pertinent questions about a government advisor ignoring government advise. In the week in which Boris Johnson was bizarrely praised for performing a u-turn on the evil migrant NHS surcharge his own cabinet devised, Cummings was laughably praised for staying put after 260 miles of not staying put.

Credit where credit’s due, Johnson is belatedly following his own advice by staying alert of questioning and social distancing from the lectern. Instead he turned to Grant Shapps, a man whose name sounds like a cocktail of broken spirits and crushed ennui. Like the world’s shittest nightwatchman, he was sent out to bat armed with only the A66 and a ludicrous mullet. When questioned about police statements contradicting the party line, he overruled them by citing a far higher power – Saint Dominus of Durham.

Even when the Mirror and the Guardian colluded beautifully to set a venus twat-trap and reveal further trips up north after the carefully constructed excuses for the original sojourn, the government’s reaction was to claim ‘fake news’. The only surprise was that certain political editors didn’t rush to Cummings’ aid a second time. Funny isn’t it, how certain sections of the press have treated the cases of Professor Neil Ferguson and the haunted cueball so differently? It clearly points to a new directive: bluebells good, blue balls bad.

The most troubling aspect of all this isn’t Cummings’ arrogant indifference to government policy, his scant regard for the health of anyone exposed to his cross-country ‘rona roadtrips, or even his conceited demeanour since, it’s that our elected representatives have retrospectively changed health advice and government policy on the hoof to strengthen his alibi. Why the fuck is this algorithm in human form afforded so much fear and respect? Why couldn’t they mobilise this effectively to protect the elderly in care homes?

In defending the indefensible, government are effectively saying this: any one of us who made the ultimate sacrifice and missed a loved one’s funeral, each of us who fought every human instinct to rush to a dying relative’s side as they gasped their last, anyone who fought back tears as a parent or grandparent begged them to visit and were told no – we were stupid. We weren’t following the rules, we were failing an IQ test. All except Dominic Cummings, who exploited the hidden ‘circumstances’ cheat.

This was already the darkest chapter in this nation’s modern history by some margin. Brexit feels like comic relief compared to our scandalous mismanagement of the Coronavirus crisis. In some ways the circus around Cummings feels like a distraction from bigger issues, like all the many thousands of preventable deaths, or the criminal negligence of our care homes. But Cummings has been central to all of that. Remember ‘herd immunity and let the old people die’? The only person he has achieved immunity for is himself.