2021 May 30 - Dominic Cummings

In the news this week:
Black Lives Matter activist Sasha Johnson was shot, although the gunman later claimed that they were act aiming for the giant chip on her shoulder.
There’s an article in the paper about the food supply asking “when will insects be on our supermarket shelves?” To which the answer is “15 years ago when I lived in North London”
And in personal news I’ve decided to boycott a number of companies that sell items I can't afford.

The main news this week though was the from Dominic Cummings who was giving testimony to the Commons Health and Social Care Committee on the subject of the Government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was a solid day’s worth of evidence, consisting several hours of him venting and trying to settle grudges. Cummings, give him his due, blamed officials, including himself, for falling "disastrously short of the standards that the public has a right to expect" which is surprising in so much as most people expect appointed advisors to have no standards. It’s like the sign in a train station toilet asking you to find the place as you’d expect to find it, which surely is implying you should write some graffiti on the cubicles and bust a lock off the door on your way out. It should be remembered that Dominic Cummings isn’t an elected official or even a member of the Conservative Party, it’s not as if he’s going to lose a seat or be sacked so in many respects it was like watching this week’s other matchup: Brentford vs Swansea in the Championship playoff where they’re basically fighting for the right to be relegated out of the Premiership next year

So what of his answers? Ys or no? I recently asked my German friend if he knew the square root of 81 and he said no. So what did Dominic Cummings have to say? Well for one that Boris wasn’t a “fit and proper person” Health Secretary Matt Hancock should have been fired for lying, he used the expression "lions led by donkeys" which is a bold move given that Boris is a keen historian but then when asked about Boris Johnson, Cummings saying that there were "thousands" of people better suited to run the country than him. The BBC and Guardian were lapping this up, largely because they believe that the UK should be run by an army of several thousand EU officials and bureaucrats. Cummings later contradicted himself saying “You should have had a dictator to run all this” but then we’re talking of hours of exposition and showmanship in from of the cameras. Imagine if you’d gone to see Ked Dodd except instead of several encores of jokes it was just him vocalizing his personal grievences for several hours. I’m sure one day it will be spliced into an educational video explaining the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath but the real takeaway was not that that nobody knew what to do, but that there wasn’t even a pre-written plan as to what to do. We know for instance that if Argentina invades the Falkland's again, there is a game plan ready to put into action, and it was genuinely surprising and somewhat scary that the civil service had no plan whatsoever as to what to do in the event of a pandemic. Covid could have happened when Harold Wilson was in power, or David Cameron, but Boris was the prime minister left standing in that game of historical musical chairs. In hindsight it’s easy to blame Boris but he didn’t really have anything to work with, what was he supposed to do, personally invent a covid vaccine or assemble an alliance to launch a military invasion of Wuhan?. Hindsight is 2020 but it's 2021 now. Most of the press coverage of course though has been given to Cummings’ distain for Carrie Symonds, I imagine that if he’d lived thousands of years ago he’d have looked at the story of Samson and blamed it all on him trusting him to let his girlfriend to do his hair. If anything that line of question+answer has done Boris a favour, distracting the public from genuine scandals by dragging everything back to being about his personal life which nobody is terribly surprised by and in which few people even really care. Perhaps the lack of a story is the story.
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