An analysis of what actually happened
Well, well, well; the Dominic Cummings affair. It was inevitable really, that political figures were going to break their own rules.
It has recently transpired in the media, that Dominic Cummings travelled to his parent’s home in Durham, with his wife and child at the end of March. This is a family home located 130 miles from London, his residential home. Any travel at that time, unless for work, an emergency, or essential care; breached lockdown rules.
Marina Hyde of The Guardian makes an interesting proposal as to why, Mr Cummings is still in a job.
According to Hyde, Cummings is Boris’s ‘ideas man’.
What is an ‘ideas man’ exactly? Dominic Cummings is a political strategist and he is the chief advisor to Boris Johnson. The relationship is obviously a close one.
If Johnson were to be without his chief advisor, where would he be? This is perhaps the reason Johnson has so far washed his hands over the Cummings affair, and deflected any suggestion for Cummings resignation.
The backlash has been real. Cummings has received a tyranny of anguish in light of his actions.
It is unfair to say the backlash is built upon the pent up frustrations that have been felt up and down the country. The criticism is real and deserved, and hugely relevant at this time.
Was there justification within Cummings decision?
It is said the political advisor fled to his parent’s home in Durham, when both his wife and child fell ill with Covid 19.
However, why would travelling to a parent, likely over the age of 70, ever be a good idea?
It would be a miracle if either parent did not fall ill after receiving such visitors. Not to mention if it likely to have survived it within the confines of their own home.
It is said that Dominic Cummings is behind, to a large extent, the political decision making of this recent pandemic. He was crucial to the ‘Get Brexit Done’ campaign, and is believed to have coined the term.
This is of course the campaign that put Boris in political power. It can be understood why Boris is reluctant to let go of his valuable strategist, not just advisor.
It is also not surprising that ministers like Michael Gove stand by the strategist, when Cummings worked closely alongside the minister, during his time as education secretary.
Cummings is however, a little bit of a rebel. This probably does not come as a surprise. Yet, Cummings has made a career out of upturning Whitehall ministers, who do not make the cut. This is Cummings idea of who should, and who should not be in government. He believes most of those in power, do not have the intelligence to lead the country, and are backed only by their privilege.
He is not the first to think this. It is humorous however that such a figure ends up in the media, accused of exactly this. It is widely believed that Dominic Cummings writes one rule for everyone, and another rule for himself. Public opinion sits on Cummings seeing himself ‘above the rules’. Similar to his Whitehall friends he so dislikes.
Of course, it is crucial to look at the facts and keep in mind-has this whole thing been blown out of proportion?
Cummings and his family left their home in London around the 27th-30th March. This was 4 days after lockdown began. Even though lockdown is lockdown, and travel beyond the excusable-is breaking the rules, it was at the very beginning.
I think there may have been quite a number of individuals within Britain who travelled back home, during the beginning of this lockdown pandemic.
Although, I have to ask myself: if I wrote the rules, would I not be the one to uphold them?
There is nothing to say why a middle aged man and his wife cannot deal with the situation at hand, by themselves.
Are they so unfamiliar with the meaning of ‘family’ that they are unable to foresee a reality, in which they take sole responsibility for child care?
This could be what is at play here.
The modern family does have a struggle mitigating the notion of child care. Before lockdown came into force, I was working at a nursery. Some of the parents at the nursery were having a hard time facing up to the responsibility of child care without the nursery’s help. One father exclaimed to a nursery assistant:
“My wife is on maternity leave-what are we meant to do?”
The notion of the family dynamic seems to be on a part time basis. The father was not alone in this attitude.
Yet, is this a fair surmise of Dominic Cummings?
The BBC provide a thorough breakdown of the information supplied by Cummings. It transpires the strategist was worried for the health of the child, if he and his wife were to fall gravely ill with Covid 19.
His wife had contracted the disease at the end of March, and it is reasonable to understand the worry Cummings must have had, in himself falling ill. He had been of course surrounded by ministers who had tested positive, and this was at the very beginning of the pandemic. Tensions were high.
If he were to come down with it, there may not have been sufficient child care for their son. And they felt unable to ask anyone in London to take on the duties. They fled to Durham to isolate, and apparently this was within a self-contained building on the property. This meant the parents could stay separate from the family.
This is not the media report I have heard thus so far. It does seem a little radical that such a high ranking official, would not have had means to child care in London. It also seems strange that this was all done before Cummings fell ill, if he even did.
Common sense would suggest Cummings to have fallen ill before his wife, rather than later. It is likely to have been Cummings to have passed on the virus to both his wife and child.
As it developed, Cummings wife recovered and Cummings fell increasingly ill. Cummings wife was able to look after the child. Cummings struggled to get out of bed.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing though. Looking at this from all sides, Cummings did appear to act in haste. To give him his due however, he has been witness to the zombie apocalypse taking over Westminster.
He is a strategist after all, and when that is the suit in your hand, that is the suit you will play.
Dominic Cummings is not a criminal. His actions are understandable; perhaps frantic but understandable.
The trip to a castle 25 miles from his families home, undoubtedly broke the rules. He was taking the virus to another part of the country. The North East of England is one of the worst affected areas in Britain.
Yet, Cummings further explains this outing as a short drive, to ensure he was safe to drive back to London. It did not involve anyone leaving the car for an extended period of time.
Although testing one’s driving, on a limb, is not recommended; his intentions were genuine. He had isolated for 14 days and his job needed him back.
I think it is important to remember, Carrie Symmonds left No.10 and travelled to her mother’s house to self-isolate. It later transpired she had contracted Covid 19.
With hindsight however, and I think the media need to take this bitter pill, this man has been made a scapegoat. His actions were just-there was reason.
It is shameful how he has been treated, and I regret the ministers defending him, were not quicker to relay the facts; so that we can all move on.