So the Tory government has now descended into farce. If we are to take the government at its word, driving 60 miles with suspect eyesight (with a kid in the back) to Barnard’s Castle is an acceptable means to test ones eyesight. In the middle of a press conference last week the health secretary toyed with idea of amending laws as he went along (without any parliamentary approval or judicial review). The law, not to mention scientific advice, is being bent and contorted to save the job of a special adviser.
To say this is dangerous is an understatement. Firstly it amounts to the imposition of arbitrary law, where the laws are written not by parliament but on the fly by ministers, often retroactively to cover themselves and the elites. And the law’s interpretation is now also made by minsters, not courts and judges.
The dangers inherent in this (quite apart from the gagging of the media over this), even for a minor offence, are quite serious. Because, spoiler alert, arbitrary law will typically be interpreted by the wealthy to the benefit of the wealthy (as its basically neo-feudalism), with harsh penalties for the poor and ethic minorities. Hence while Cummings doesn’t even get a slap on the wrist, you have a black person arrested and threatened with tasering for something nowhere near as bad (even thought he was only dropping off food for a relative).
Secondly, the lockdown has now essentially collapsed. The relaxations of the lockdown measures announced are really retroactive to what’s actually happening on the ground. I don’t know about you, but in my neck of the woods, the vast majority have basically given up. I’m seeing families from different households mixing, kids outside playing (with no social distancing), parties, gatherings in large groups, etc. I was in the shop today and I was the only person wearing a mask (even the staff weren’t wearing them). And yes, the police say some people have cited Cummings as their excuse for breaking quarantine rules.
Now the problem here is that inevitably there will be a 2nd wave (particularly as the UK is still some way behind other European countries with thousands of new cases every day) and NHS staff have made clear they are exhausted and in absolutely no condition to deal with a 2nd wave if it hits any time soon.
As I mentioned in a prior post, the government will have a few weeks to put back in place lockdown measures to prevent this. And given how everyone’s been given an excuse to ignore the rules, if you can invent a valid excuse, well that ain’t going to happen. Particularly, as the government plans local rather than national lockdowns. But thanks to Cummings, anyone who can invent a reason to leave the infected area (child care, eye sight test, cat had kittens, etc.), can now do so, even if they’ve got symptoms.
So, given that Cummings might well prove to be responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands and the collapse of the UK healthcare system (oh and a disastrous no deal brexit in January, which will probably be followed by the collapse of the UK), why are they so keen on saving him?
Well that might have something to do with another wee story that the Tories managed to bury this week. A minster overruled a local council on a planning decision, regarding a large (£1 billion) property development, to the benefit of a Tory donor to the tune of £40 million (as the expedited decision allowed the developer to avoid the payment of newly introduced local taxes). The local council objected and sued. Their lawyers requested all the emails sent between the minster and developer as part of the evidence gathering process. This provoked the minster to immediately settle the case, even admitting that he broke the law.
Let us review that, a minster has admitted that he broke the law so that a Tory party supporter could make £40 million at the expense of a local council. And of course, he ain’t getting sacked either! And this is the sort of thing that’s becoming almost routine under Johnson. Contracts being handed out like Halloween candy to those friendly to the Tory party, even for things like medicinal supplies and services (I mean its not like we need to apply some scrutiny to those right now!). And this includes several contracts given to firms linked to Cummings, no questions asked.
Its not unlike the “Operation Carwash” scandal in Brazil. And the UK has the nerve to call other countries corrupt. The only difference being, the Tories aren’t even bothering to try and hide what they are doing. And why should they? They know half the country are mugs who will still vote for them next election, no matter how badly they screw up, nor how many people die from Covid. And they know the hard left will sabotage Starmers chances anyway (it would make the chosen one Corbyn look bad if he lost by a historic margins…several times! only for Starmer to waltz in and win on the first try).
The reality is that Cummings real role in government is less “special adviser” and more special messenger. Cummings has a pretty shady past, including a period in Russia and contacts with several Oligarchs, not to mention various dodgy hedge funds and offshore firms. So he effectively acts as a go-between for them, who whispers in the ear of the PM what policies various wealthy elites would want implemented.
Hence why he can’t be sacked. If he is, Johnson will be in danger of angering the one group of supporters he actually cares about. This is what brexiters voted for. Like I said at the time, when the Tories said “take control” they weren’t talking to plebs like you, but to the elites who bankrolled the Tory party. Did you actually think they gave a crap about ordinary people? LOL! For the post-brexit future they envision for the UK is that of being a dodgy, low-tax Kleptocracy, with no real public services. A Dickensian society, but with broadband and big brother.
The only question is, what happens when their lies are exposed? On the one hand, you could argue that the Cummings affair shows that even within the Tory party, nevermind the general public, you are going to get push back at some point and possibly an internal Tory revolt (meaning a new leader or an early election).
However, I’m doubtful. I cannot help but notice that much of this “tory anger” over Cummings is really just bluster to keep their constituents onside. MP’s after all, if they really want Cummings gone, could simply vote to remove the post of special adviser (thus making him redundant). But the lack of any effort to do that suggests they know they only have to to talk the talk, rather than walk the walk. The gold fish like attention span of Tory voters ensures they will quickly forget about it all within a few days. And besides, no doubt the Daily Mail will find a way to blame it all (and the impending collapse of the NHS) on foreigners.