Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Were you convinced?

I listened to Dominic Cummings press briefing yesterday. Was I convinced by his story? No, not at all.

He tried to come over as a caring husband and father making difficult decisions to protect them. Unfortunately there were  far too many holes in his story to make it convincing

We all saw Cummings run out of 10 Downing Street. That was apparently in response to a phone call from his wife to say she was ill with suspected coronavirus symptoms. When he got home she felt better so he returned to work. Mistake number 1. If you or any of your family suspect symptoms of the virus, you must self isolate for 14 days. You should definitely not go back to work.

Cummings claimed  there was nobody in London he could turn to for help with childcare. Yet, his brother-in-law lives nearby and surely there must have been others who could have helped.

He says that he did not inform the PM of his intentions until a week later when they had a conversation over the phone. How many of us would simply walk out of our job, take ourselves to another part of the country without at least informing the boss? In fact, since Cummings claimed he was not ill, it would have been more appropriate to ask permission. If Johnson was too ill, he could have spoken to Dominic Raab.

Cummings obviously thought he was too important to the Westminster machine to stay way for too long so he decided to return. However, he claims to have had concerns about his eyesight so he drove to Barnard Castle on the day of his wife's birthday to see if he was safe to drive. Unfortunately he was spotted there otherwise we would probably have been none the wiser about this excursion. Actually, it beggars belief  that anyone who thought they might be unsafe to drive would go out for a drive to check - surely he could have come up with a better story than this.

He claimed that his wife was not insured to drive the Discovery and yet we do know that she does drive and in any case, it would have taken a five minute phone call to get cover for her so she could drive back to London rather than him.

On the way back from the trip to Barnard Castle, his son needed the toilet so they stopped and  got out of the car.  Coincidentally, they didn't need to make a similar toilet stop on the journey from London to Durham nor on the return. In fact they didn't even need to stop for petrol until the return when he had a vague recollection of calling in at a service station.

The get out clause in the regulations that he said allowed him to drive to Durham did not exist until after his return. The original clause about children referred specifically to children in danger of abuse.

Both Cummings and No 10 claimed that the police had no knowledge of what had happened until after Durham Police confirmed that a phone call had been made to Mr Cumming's father regarding his son's presence at the home.

Even his claim to have warned about the possible threat of a coravirus on his blog does not hold water because the sentence that he referred to was added much later.

Both he and the PM have sat on this story for 5 weeks knowing that it was controversial. Clearly they hoped that it would go away and did not count on witnesses seeing Mr Cummings out and about.

When pressed time after time during the briefing, Cummings insisted that he had nothing to apologise for and was certainly not going to resign.

Should we believe his story? Given the whopping big lie he created about 350m for the NHS during the referendum that he later admitted to, I don't think so.There are more holes in this story than in a Swiss cheese.

1 comment:

vv said...

What you have written is so true, Keith. Many people are very angry about his behaviour and Johnson playing a straight bat to defend him. It looks like Dominic Cummings is running the country to many of us.
We haven't seen our grandchildren for ten long weeks and have followed the rules to the letter. Exercised once a day and stayed at home. Ten days ago our son in law almost lost two fingers when using a circular saw. Our daughter was in desperate need of our help and, even though she lives just five miles away, we stayed put and followed the rules. We are furious at the arrogant behaviour of Cummings and with Johnson's refusal to sack him. The UK looks like an autocracy to me after all those years of the Brexit Ultras lecturing us about democracy and the will of (half) the people.

Those in the Tory party who have principles are exerting pressure but I am not sure they will succeed.

Excellent blog, always worth reading.