Dominic Cummings will cause the end of Lockdown – Liberal Article
It seems fitting that the man who dominated politics before this global pandemic is also the man to bring politics back! Yet, that is exactly what Dominic Cummings has done.
Although still entwined with Covid-19, it does seem for a second, like things are back to normal. Labour and Conservatives are back at each other’s throats. Locking horns and reverting back to their typical language.
So surprisingly, a Liberal will give his opinion on Dominic Cummings and whether or not he should have been sacked!
Watching his interview Monday afternoon, a couple of things came to mind. The first thing was that he, somewhat begrudgingly, noted that there are ‘definitely a lot of things I could [have] done better’. Let’s assess this.
He notes he was not in an ordinary situation. I can empathise that the threats being made against Cummings and his family were horrible and worrying. Facing abuse and Covid-19, he had no option but to drive north to seek the support of his family in the worst-case situation. He was also worried about childcare, which he could only receive from his 17 and 20-year-old relatives. He did not approach anyone during his 14-day quarantine.
In retrospect, I sort of understand and feel for Cummings. Of course, this was the governments tactic; to humanise him. There was a reason the interview took place in the Rose Garden. I can appreciate the reasoning in a time of panic. In any other political climate, this might have disappeared under the rug. However, after the dust settled there is one thing for sure, there are ‘definitely a lot of things [he] could [have] done better’.
If he needed food, services could have been provided. Other MPs have certainly received the same abuse as Cummings. The government has always taken a light approach towards this; it seems unfair to now blame it for his actions. Moreover, his trips driving around the countryside are frankly ridiculous and reckless, even if he did technically stay in the guidelines! The only reason for his departure, other than food, was childcare. Yet, I could point out there are many single-parents who have been able to do this without help.
This event is going to have a huge impact; lockdown is already breaking down. People are tired. They want to leave their homes and get on with their lives. Massive sacrifices are being made across the country. Engineers who run the UK electricity network have gone 6 weeks without seeing their family just to keep the country going.
There are people of all ages who will die if they catch this virus. All of us have to make sacrifices, and Dominic Cummings has just tried his best to avoid doing so. For Cummings to effectively avoid consequences on a technicality isn’t great for a government official.
Dominic Cummings has also allowed for personal discretion to come into play. Frankly, I worry people don’t have the self-restraint. They will see Cummings and think they can decide when it is time to come out of lockdown. They will use ‘personal discretion’ to go to the park, go to the beach. Then we see a second wave; more people die, longer quarantine, and more sacrifices for those who are already making them. To add to this, the experts who he reportedly spoke to are incredibly worried by his actions as well.
That is why Dominic Cummings must be the lamb to sacrifice here. What he has done is understandable, and technically legal. But after telling everyone for months on end to stay at home no matter what if you have symptoms. To then break this, it is not right.
Conservatives can shout as much as they can about what this Labour MP did and what that Labour MP did. We are talking about Cummings here, no one else. Cummings must go to set an example. Listen to expert advice, stay home and do not allow this virus to come back for a second wave!
Written by Liberal Writer, Max Anderson
Point of Information
Blaming Cummings is far too easy – a Conservative response
I understand Mr Anderson’s argument regarding the impact that Dominic Cummings’ actions may have on others. However, I find it difficult to accept that any increases in defying lockdown rules can be pinned upon him.
As we have just begun the tenth week of lockdown, and restrictions are slowly being eased, an increase is to be expected. This incident may not have helped, but regardless the numbers of those breaking the rules were going to start increasing anyway.
In terms of his actions, I find it best to place myself in his shoes. What would I have done? Honestly, I have every inclination to believe that I may have done the same thing. I recognise the responsibility that he has an advisor, but there are exceptions to the rules for a reason. He just happened to be in a circumstance which left him little choice for the safety of his family. Questions must be asked but they are now more than answered. This is just a case of tabloids blowing this way out of proportion.
The rules in place at the time were that essential travel was allowed; this clearly leaves individual interpretation. Cummings’ interpretation was, as Mr Anderson states, understandable and legal. Subsequently, why should he resign? Or be sacked? As we come out of lockdown we need a government at its strongest. Like it or not, Cummings is Johnson’s number two and we are stronger with him than without him.
Written by Chief Conservative Writer, Fletcher Kipps
Anger at unaccountable elites? Doesn’t that sound sadly familiar? – a Labour response
Asking an entire nation to cut nearly all social contact is an extraordinary request. But, as they have done so many times in the past, the British people responded and have risen to the occasion. Millions of us have made enormous sacrifices, following the lockdown to the letter of the law.
Now we find out that the man who had a hand in shaping these rules did what we were not to do and decided for himself to do as he wanted. My Liberal colleague comes to the only conclusion: Dominic’s got to go.
Whether or not what he did was illegal could be a question for the courts. What we can be certain of is that his actions fly in the face of the sacrifices that the British people now know all too well. His flimsy excuses have completely undermined public trust in government at a time when it could not be more urgent.
As the letters from Conservative ministers, MPs and opposition party leaders (albeit with Starmer’s signature conspicuously absent) clearly demonstrate, this is about more than partisan politics.
But if we are, as our Liberal Writer purports, just playing politics here, then I ask you to look at it this way. Cummings has staked the strength of his career on his anti-elite message. He raged against the hypocrisy of David Cameron and railed against the Brussels bureaucracy that he thinks burdens the EU.
Now, mere months after propelling himself and his best mate Bozzo into office, he has become one of the unaccountable elite he so despised.
What’s more, is that the man is a political strategist. If he is as good as he thinks he is (and one would be forgiven for having doubts), then how on Earth did he fail to predict the backlash he would face from the public? Why would he not get out ahead of the story before it became such a mess in the press?
The cynic in me would suggest that, even now, Cummings is pulling the strings for Boris’ benefit. Our Prime Minister is due today to face questions from the Commons Liaison Committee. Given the devastating death toll confronting our country, I’d suggest you save some of your outrage for him.
Written by Chief Labour Writer, Evan Saunders
I am currently in my second year of reading Politics at the University of Exeter. My first interaction with politics was at the tender age of four years old.
I’m a third year University of Manchester student, currently studying in Lyon on my Erasmus year (by sheer coincidence I’m writing this hours after parliament has voted to end British involvement in the 30 year programme, so just to be on the safe side I promise not to use the NHS/European Declaration of Human Rights/anything at all anytime soon).
I am an incoming third year undergraduate currently studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Exeter. I am socially liberal, fiscally conservative editor here at POI. I have been fascinated by politics for many years, from PMQs to late night election results all which has led to the desire to study this at university.