Boris Johnson won’t fire Dominic Cummings for traveling 260 miles during lockdown

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From where I sit, the UK’s pandemic lockdown was just as messy as America’s lockdown. The American federal government – the Trump administration – is in a permanent state of chaos, and with that vacuum of leadership it was left to states and localities to make their own decisions about locking down. States on the East and West Coasts were locked down by March 15-17. Other states followed within the next week. The UK didn’t lockdown until March 23, but once they finally did it, they did it “right” – nothing half-assed, they just locked down everything. And it was during that strict lockdown that Boris Johnson’s right-hand man Dominic Cummings f–ked up royally. Cummings was the architect of Brexit, and he’s been called the virtual co-prime minister alongside BoJo. Cummings also had the coronavirus around the same time as BoJo. Only Cummings decided to travel 260 miles across England while he was suffering with symptoms of the virus:

Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced a torrent of calls on Saturday to dismiss his most influential adviser, Dominic Cummings, after reports that Mr. Cummings had visited relatives in northern England while he was ill with the coronavirus — a violation of Britain’s lockdown rules. Mr. Johnson appeared determined to stand by Mr. Cummings, an enigmatic figure who helped mastermind his election victory last year and the Brexit campaign that resulted in Britain’s departure from the European Union.

But the reports that Mr. Cummings had driven to his parents’ house in Durham in April when the government was urging people to stay home — particularly those with symptoms of the virus — set off a political tempest, with critics accusing him of flouting the rules that apply to everybody else.

“The British people do not expect there to be one rule for them and another rule for Dominic Cummings,” said a spokesman for the opposition Labour Party, who added that he had “breached the lockdown rules.” Confronted by reporters outside his home on Saturday, Mr. Cummings said, “I behaved reasonably and legally.” Asked whether his decision had been “a good look,” he replied: “Who cares about good looks? It’s a question of doing the right thing. It is not about what you guys think.”

[From The NY Times]

Over the weekend, there was a growing chorus of journalists, politicos and average British citizens demanding that BoJo fire Cummings. Initially, BoJo told the media that Cummings had “no alternative” than drive 260 miles while sick with the virus against government guidelines. BoJo said Cummings acted “responsibly, legally and with integrity…I think he followed the instincts of every father and every parent, and I do not mark him down for that.” There’s also some question about whether Cummings even informed Johnson that he was leaving London to make this jaunt, and no one has answered the question about whether Cummings actually traveled an additional 30 miles to visit another town while he was still sick or infectious. Then, just as everything was getting extra crazy, Cummings thought it would be a good idea to hold a press conference. He’s only an aide!

Boris Johnson’s embattled chief aide has refused to apologize for driving across England during lockdown, amid a scandal over his movements that has overshadowed the UK government’s coronavirus response.

“I don’t regret what I did,” Dominic Cummings told reporters on Monday after Downing Street took the extraordinary step of putting the special adviser in front of the media to respond to the saga. Cummings was repeatedly pressed to say sorry to the British people for traveling 260 miles across England and staying at a house on his parents’ property, at a time when the public was being urged not to leave their homes. But he said that he thought making the journey was “the best thing to do,” and blamed media reports for creating “a very bad atmosphere” around his London home. And he insisted that another drive he made to the town of Barnard Castle, several miles from his parents’ home, was so that he could test his eyesight and make sure he was healthy enough to then drive back to London — an explanation that was immediately questioned by opposition politicians.

A central charge of the government’s critics, which include several lawmakers within Johnson’s Conservative party, is that Cummings was allowed to interpret the rules as he saw fit when the public was not given the same leeway. They have argued that his actions undermine the government’s lockdown, and violate Johnson’s repeated message that people must stay at home to “save lives and protect the NHS.” But Cummings claimed that “the rules made clear that if you are dealing with small children there can be exceptional circumstances.” The guidance urges people to self-isolate in one place if sick with symptoms, and stresses that parents of young children should “keep following this advice to the best of your ability,” adding: “However, we are aware that not all these measures will be possible.”

[From CNN]

So Cummings won’t apologize, won’t offer his resignation and Boris isn’t going to fire him. And all of the outrage about this is just being hyped by the media. Got it. I mean… how did this dude get so powerful? I would have thought that post-Brexit, he wouldn’t be able to get hired for anything.

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35 Responses to “Boris Johnson won’t fire Dominic Cummings for traveling 260 miles during lockdown”

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  1. julia says:

    I live in the UK , and this entire situation is extremely distressing. No pretence anymore – open disdain of the people they govern. It’s so obscene

    • lemonylips says:

      Listening to him yesterday was so insulting to me. And then that eyesight thing. I couldn’t believe he actually still thinks that that was a good excuse. It was literally endangering other people. Dude, if you can’t see you don’t sit in a car and drive. It is insane what these morons are doing, how they are behaving and how untouchable they are. 

      • Jellybean says:

        Agreed! and this is not a media driven outrage, I knew nothing about it until I he came on TV yesterday and gave his explanation. What a jerk! Doesn’t he understand that many thousands of people have been in exactly the same position, with regard to their children? I live in one of the least affected parts of the county and the only time I came anywhere near breaking the rules was when I drove 10 minutes up the dual carriageway to give my battery a boost, as it was getting harder and harder to start the car, which I needed for work and food shopping. There is so much BS in his statement that I simply haven’t got time to go through it, but everyone I have spoken to is really angry about this and he needs to be gone.

      • Nahema says:

        You could hear that his argument was so weak and he knew it but he stuck to it. I do get that people make mistakes, they make bad calls and mess up. Maybe thats all this was BUT he is in a powerful position (probably too much so for an adviser) and he should take responsibility. Own your mistakes!

        What bugs me even more is the number of people on my facebook timeline rushing to defend him and Boris Johnson. These are the same people who voted for Brexit because immigrants are bad. Those same Western European immigrants who are propping up our NHS and farming industry in this time of crisis.

      • CherHorowitz says:

        It is absolutely insulting they think we would believe that story. Imagine them sitting there writing a story to fit the timeline and laughing at how ridiculous it sounded but haha no one can really prove otherwise so f*ck you everybody.

        I despise cummings and johnson equally and the entire thing is an absolute disgrace. Even the police are uncomfortable continuing to give out fines and inevitably they just hear ‘but why should I have to follow the rules if senior government don’t’.

        And therein lies the clincher. He isn’t even ‘senior government’. This man has so much influence and importance to be protected at all costs yet be has never once been elected to any sort of office whatsoever. He is unelected, yes is simultaneously making and breaking the rules.

      • lemonylips says:

        I live in North London and was sitting in front yard today – people are all going to parks in groups. Like, everyone is now done with lockdown. I feel like an idiot. Or they are. I don’t know anymore.

    • Lisa says:

      Yikes, looks like every country now has its own version of Trump! Its a pandemic!

    • Nievie says:

      I would say to Conservative voters you get what you vote for….except no-one actually voted for Cummings.

      For anyone stateside trying to get an understanding of British Politics the show The Thick of It is incredibly accurate.

    • Nievie says:

      Also everyone HAS to look up the rogue Civil Service tweet (that person is our hero) ! Its been deleted (screenshots are still on twitter) & came from the official Civil Service office account moments after Boris Johnson’s press conference on Monday quoting :

      ” Arrogant & Offensive.

      Can you imagine having to work with these tougue twisters?”

      Whoever it was is probably long fired but it was a legendary moment.

  2. Lara says:

    The fact that the Daily Mail and The Guardian are on the same page on this should show Boris how wrong he’s played it.

    It has also been really detrimental to how the public are acting. My neighbors who are usually very sensible and have been sticking to lockdown had a dinner party yesterday with friends which is still officially not allowed. My mum who hasn’t broken lockdown has said that she is going to make my step dad drive her to see me (the rule is 1 person from a household can see 1 person from another household). Her words were – why can they do it and I can’t – I have told her not to but it’s very very hard to say no.

    • Ali says:

      Your mom is just following her instincts as a parent, as any good parent would do.

      • Yamayo says:

        That’s the thing though.
        The rules have gone against everyone’s instincts precisely so that we can protect each other.
        We want to see our friends and family (I now have a newborn nephew and my sister had to go through labour alone as her husband was only allowed in the delivery room. We all want to visit and help out but we can’t).
        We, as individuals, can’t decide what is best for us- we have to act together for the virus to gradually fade away.

        Cummings went to see family, drove across the country while symptomatic (couldn’t answer whether he’d refuelled his car…) his son had to go to hospital while there, he then drove 30 miles to a pretty village town to make sure his eyesight was fit for the drive back to London (with his kid in the car).

        Oh and by the way his sister is now on the board of the company that is producing the track and trace app that will be used in the UK….

        The whole thing is disgusting.

        Boris has to keep him though. He’s too lazy to do his job as PM. He needs Cummings for that.

      • Mara says:

        Yamayo – quick fact check, the track and trace woman is not his sister and they don’t appear to be related in any way other than having the same surname. Please be careful sharing stuff.
        (Not that this means DC can be trusted with data, hopefully there will be a big iron wall between him and the app data.)

      • Yamayo says:

        Mara- check out Idox.

      • Anon says:

        Mara, his sister is named Alice Sarah Louise, and she was appointed as a IDOX Plc director not 14 April 2020, that long and now infamous day! Same day Dom went back to work…
        This Cumming trip had a lot of nepotism and shady bussiness involved, including his fast trip to Barnard Castle, where there is a factory of the company GlaxoSmithKline with which the UK Gov has signed another contract, for the distribution of the COVID vaccine two days later.

        Right now, i don’t even think he was sick. There was too much activity. Cummings and his family and mob are gonna profit handsomely from this.

        And this is why Boris will not fire him!

    • Nievie says:

      There is a saying here- if you’ve lost the Mail and the Guardian you’ve lost the country.
      My BF & I have a bet going on when he’ll be forced out. Currently 40 Tory MPs are demanding his resignation. Blow Job ‘cough’ BoJo is an approval junkie….he will desert Cummings as soon as he sees that the voters are lost.

  3. Digital Unicorn says:

    I am outraged and disgusted by both Scumings and BlowJob – Scumming broke the law and has got away with it.

    What the press aren’t really pushing are:
    1) His wife has family in London that could have helped with childcare
    2) They day they travelled to his parents it was his mothers birthday
    3) The visit to Barnard Castle was on his wife’s birthday
    4) Its illegal to drive if you think your vision is impaired in any way

    Scummings has dirt on Johnson and the people are so angry about this that they won’t forget it at the next election which is going to be sooner than they both think.

    Time to polish and sharpen the pitchfork. I was heartened when I saw footage on Twitter of Scummings neighbours loudly berating him as he scurried to his home.

    • Lara says:

      I’d also like to know and what the press should ask – if he was getting so harassed at his home before he went to Durham, why did none see him leave….

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        It’s a lie, they weren’t ‘harassing’ him until the story broke and they clearly reported the truth to what he did. He broke lockdown to take his wife and kids to Mummy and Daddy’s for a little break to celebrate his mother and wife’s birthdays.

    • Anon says:

      Dirt on Johnson being all the electoral crimes commited during the Brexit campaign with a little help from Cambridge Analytica and the Kremlin. If they go down, they’ll go down together.

  4. Mara says:

    He’s confirmed that he did drive the extra 30 miles but it’s alright it was just to test his eyesight (whilst bringing along his wife and child as crash dummies presumably).
    The fact that the destination is a beauty spot and the trip was made on his wife’s birthday is freak coincidence.

    • Anon says:

      The Cummingses went to her dad’s castle for her birthday, on that day. This travelling debacle was about celebrating family birthdays.

      • Anon says:

        Correction: the illegal travelling was done to negociae and celebrate contracts between the Government and his sister’s company for NHS data mining/COVID app, and a big pharma corporation for a vaccine. This was all about profiteering.

  5. Ali says:

    Watching the Dominic Cummings press conference was hilarious.

    He must have a lot of crap on a lot of people in the government because he literally broke lockdown and acted irresponsibly.

    • Yamayo says:

      What is less hilarious is that Boris then had the nerve to face the nation and claim that Cummings had acted with ‘integrity’.

    • Lara says:

      Not to go full on conspiracy theorist here but I do find it interesting that the only ‘big’ cabinet member that didn’t defend him was Priti Patel – a woman.

      • Mara says:

        Priti Patel retweeted Dominic Raab’s copy and paste defence of Cummings. She did defend DC, she was just slightly more lazy about it.

      • Lara says:

        Mara that makes sense! I can’t ever imagine her doing any work

    • MeganBot2020 says:

      I’m not going to spread potentially libellous rumours, but hypothetically, if a Prime Minister with a reputation for not being able to keep it in his pants and not knowing how many children he’d fathered, had once stalked and sexually harassed a woman who would go on to marry his chief adviser, that could hypothetically be very good reason for him to defend said adviser’s “rule-twisting.”

  6. Hannah says:

    Officially, Boris Johnson is the Prime Minister of the UK. Unofficially, Dominic Cummings is. Johnson won’t fire him because he likes the status of being PM whilst having someone else actually do the work. Cummings likes having control without the accountability. It’s a mutually beneficial system for them both. Heaven help us.

    • CherHorowitz says:

      Wow, thank you for this very astute and succinct evaluation.

      Absolutely and horrifyingly accurate.

    • Bohemian Angel says:

      Hannah, Exactly this! I have been saying our prime minister is Dominic Cummings and not Boris since he got into number 10. There is no way in hell Boris is going to sack him as he really needs him, he is out of his depth as PM, Dominic is he’s right arm man.
      This government is an absolute disaster!

  7. Mei says:

    This entire situation is such a sick joke. Numerous scientists, politicians from across the spectrum and people across the UK are truly disgusted (myself included) at his arrogance in excusing his behaviour for the most pathetic of reasons. He thinks his situation was so unique – surprise, Dom, it’s the same for millions across the country and they didn’t do what you did.
    People have been unable to visit dying relatives, cared for children while they were sick at home with covid19, not going into work when their partner displayed symptoms and completely following all the other rules that he clearly helped devise. It’s completely laughing in everyone’s faces, undermined everything the government were advised (not by him) on how to ensure compliance – people are going to use this as justification for not sticking to the rules.

    I hate this government with a passion – from the spineless backing of him by Boris to the actual copy/paste responses people have been getting from some Tory MPs when they have made known their thoughts, there is no semblance of empathy or care. Fk them all.