Somebody on Facebook observed that it is a rare day when The Guardian and the Daily Mail agree on something with their front pages. I suppose that could be credited to Dominic Cummings as an achievement, although hardly an admirable one in the circumstances. The exact details of the journeys he took during the early day of England’s lockdown are unclear but all agree that he drove his wife and child from London to Durham when she was clearly suffering with COVID-19 and he was expecting come down with it heavily himself.
Cummings still holds to the opinion that he acted reasonably in the circumstances, despite even many of those you would expect to be his allies rejecting this view. Were his actions permissible within the fine print of the guidance? Possibly, although I remain sceptical. What really raises my ire is his failure (refusal?) to grasp not only the dangerous example he sets to the nation (‘do what thou wilt’ is a tenet of Satanism, not civil society) but also his apparent lack of empathy and compassion.
So many people took the Government statements – stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives – at face value. Many of those who could have retreated to a country pile chose not to do so. An even greater number didn’t have that option and had to face the prospect of sick parents and several young children holed up in small properties, often without any access to private outdoor space. Many denied themselves access to loved ones even in the face of bereavement. Those stories were across the news – inescapable, surely?
I don’t recall Cummings sending out a tweet to let people know that they were unnecessarily restricting themselves from reasonable and compassionate actions. I don’t remember him raising his voice in defence of various high profile people who were cast out for perceived slips of judgement. And I think that silence, as much as his mewling self-justification, marks out his standard of integrity and decency as being severely lacking.
One is cautious, of course, about casting stones but, on the other hand, one is also wary of accepting a Herod sat on an undeserved throne and actively contributing to social decay.