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Dominic Cummings gets to have his say on the Covid crisis...

Cowley

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I suppose that we probably need to discuss this at some point so here goes.
A dedicated thread:

Dominic Cummings has served his particular slice of ice cold (although not that cold) revenge up at the joint technology, science and health committee meeting in the most blistering, “this’ll definitely bring the government down” way that he could have done in the last 24 hours...

Will it make much difference though?
Or is he just a busted flush after last year’s ‘Barnard Castle/Rose Garden’ debacle?

Do those of you on here that have been waiting for him to draw a map of “where the bodies are buried” believe what he says?
Or do you feel that this government is held in such low expectations by the population where it comes to truthfulness, that it’ll just bounce off them and in a couple of weeks time be completely forgotten about?

This is going to be something that’s looked back upon in many decades time in my opinion, but I’d be interested in what all of you think?

Any thoughts..? ;)



The PM's former top aide said Boris Johnson was "unfit for the job", claiming he had ignored scientific advice and wrongly delayed lockdowns.
He also claimed Matt Hancock should have been fired for lying - something denied by the health secretary.
"Tens of thousands of people died, who didn't need to die," Mr Cummings added.
At a marathon seven hour evidence session, the former Downing Street insider painted a picture of policy failure, dithering and a government that had no useful plan for handling a pandemic.
He told MPs: "The truth is that senior ministers, senior officials, senior advisers like me fell disastrously short of the standards that the public has a right to expect of its government in a crisis like this."
 
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roversfan2001

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It’s always good seeing someone tear this Government to shreds, but he definitely made sure his hindsight was 20/20 before this morning. Lots of ‘we should have done this, this and this back in January last year’ when at the time no one took it seriously, and no one would have taken any new restrictions seriously.

It’s been mildly amusing to see the far left take every word he’s said today as gospel, when this time last year he was being (rightfully) castigated as a compulsive liar.
 

gingerheid

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It's interesting. We have an accomplished liar who worked hard to degrade our resistance to lies, who ruined his reputation by lying, whose lies now bring a smirk to the face of anyone who hears the name of a County Durham town made notorious by his lying. His relationship with the truth is so distant he only sees it fit for use as a weapon to attack those he dislikes, the way one who is normally clean might pick up mud to through at a foe.
 

Gloster

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The trouble here is that on the one side you have somebody who has a tenuous grasp of the meaning of truth. (Actually, you have got this on both sides.) Cummings‘ version of events is probably selective and served with a strong flavour of bitterness, self-justification and revenge. That does not mean that it is all untrue.

In the short term I think will have little effect: it won’t gain the government many admirers, but it probably won’t lose them that many either. It may have more effect in the long run if there is an enquiry and some of his more contentious statements prove to be reasonably accurate. By then the, “We’re all in it together”, mantra will be wearing a bit thin and people will start to wonder what happened.
 
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superjohn

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Unfortunately Cummings did such a good job of making Boris indestructible even he can’t bring him down.

Boris could kill the Queen and would still win an election the next day. He can do whatever he wants without consequences. That will not change until we get a meaningful opposition that can build a vote among young people. A vengeful former aide or waffle about wallpaper won’t matter a jot.
 

edwin_m

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It’s always good seeing someone tear this Government to shreds, but he definitely made sure his hindsight was 20/20 before this morning.
He probably even drove to Barnard Castle to make sure his hindsight was OK.

Cummings criticising Johnson, the phrase "pot kettle black" springs to mind.
 

birchesgreen

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Boris could kill the Queen and would still win an election the next day. He can do whatever he wants without consequences. That will not change until we get a meaningful opposition that can build a vote among young people. A vengeful former aide or waffle about wallpaper won’t matter a jot.
Yes indeed, it won't affect the PM. I would say its finished Hancock but his career is dead already.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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Yes indeed, it won't affect the PM. I would say its finished Hancock but his career is dead already.
Why does the phrase "Hancock's Half Hour" suddenly spring to mind... :lol:

I find it so amusing when a BBC interviewer speaks to an invited Minister of a certain Government department, not on matters that concern his/her department, but on matters appertaining to a totally different department of Government. If they wish to pursue that policy, they should invite the correct Minister involved. But what can you expect these days from the BBC.
 
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Bantamzen

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As am opening publicity stunt for his inevitable book on the matter, Cummings did really well, he's got the scummy media salivating over it. Other than that he was just a bitter husk of a man whose dreams of being maker of kings has been shattered bitching about how everyone didn't hang on every word. Sure there may well be collateral damage such as Hancock, but frankly it was just pure media theatre. The West End production will start in 2023, book in advance to avoid disappointment....
 

duncanp

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The Telegraph have done a good job in taking to pieces the evidence of Mr Cummings.

I wonder if Specsavers in Barnard Castle do hindsight tests - perhaps Mr Cummings could avail himself of such a test the next time he is there.

Seriously - I don't doubt that the government have made some mistakes in their handling of the pandemic, and that there are some things which could have been done better.

But we need to look into this during a properly constituted public enquiry, with an independent judge chairing it and the terms of reference approved by parliament.

Then after the enquiry reports, I think we need a new Public Health Act which could contain provisions for how we handle something like this in the future, with far greater parliamentary oversight.

There will probably also have to be a global conference, where all countries can share their experiences, and develop a plan to handle future pandemics on a global scale.

What we don't need right now is the rantings of an emibttered political has been who has an agenda and old scores to settle.

To quote Clement Attlee "..I can assure you there is widespread resentment in the Party at your activities and a period of silence on your part would be welcome.."


Checking facts vs Cummings’s claims reveals major flaws in his evidence​

Many of the special adviser’s assertions in his epic ‘I-told-you-so’ do not stand up to closer scrutiny

Isn’t hindsight a marvellous thing?

In an extraordinary performance, Dominic Cummings got out his colouring pencils on Wednesday and completely redrew the history of the pandemic.

Adopting the role of the ‘judge-penitent’ – confessing his own sins to allow him to condemn others – Cummings painted a picture of hapless incompetence in government, in which his own brilliance and advice was often ignored. However, there are some glaring problems with his evidence:

One of the most contradictory parts of Cummings’s revelations dealt with when the Government first became concerned about coronavirus.

In the years before the pandemic, Cummings wrote frequently about the potential dangers of a virus sweeping the word, and after hearing about Wuhan, he told MPs: “I did think, oh my goodness, is this what people have been warning about.”

Yet he claims he did not talk to anyone about it in detail until January 25. “I said to the private office in Number 10 we should look at pandemic planning,” he told the Select Committee.

It was a curious delay, given what was happening around him. By January 22, the Department of Health had already announced that direct flights from Wuhan, in China, to Britain would be met by teams from the Port Health Authority to check for symptoms of the virus.

On January 23, Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College said that the virus might already be here, and the following day the first five people with “coronavirus-like symptoms'' were admitted to hospital in Scotland.

By January 25, health officials had teamed up with the Border Force to trace 2,000 airline passengers who flew into Britain from Wuhan over the fortnight, to check whether they were suffering symptoms.

Between January 1 and January 25, The Telegraph had written 33 articles about the emerging virus, and most other newspapers had similar figures.

Cummings told MPs: “We should have closed the borders, ramped up testing, masks, all of those things should have been done in January.”

Yet he himself did not start considering it a problem until the end of January, so quite how this could have been achieved in just days is a mystery.

A change of tack

Despite noticing a deadly virus was spreading by the end of January, Cummings claims nothing much happened until the last two weeks of February.

“Lots of key people were skiing,” he told MPs, somewhat sniffily, saying he himself had been working on HS2, a Cabinet reshuffle and national security issues.

He claimed that, behind the scenes, Boris Johnson was describing coronavirus as “the new swine flu” and joked that he should be injected with the virus by Chris Whitty, live on television “so everyone realises there is nothing to be frightened of”.

Yet, by February 11, Matt Hancock had announced plans for hospitals to build emergency isolation facilities, saying the Government would take all necessary precautions to keep the public safe.

The Health Secretary told the Commons: “The situation will get worse before it gets better.” By this point 13, Britons had been diagnosed with the virus and contact tracing had begun.

On the same day, Prof Whitty held a meeting for MPs about the emerging crisis, leading some to question the lack of urgency within government.

Cummings told MPs that by the end of February he was so worried about the impending crisis he had started panic buying, believing the country was about to lock down.

He claimed he was concerned the Government was attempting a policy of herd immunity to avoid a more deadly second wave. Yet he said he was “reluctant” to “push the red button” and call for a change of plan.

Despite attending a Sage meeting on March 5, in which the only measure mentioned was shielding, Cummings said he had still not advised the Prime Minister that anything was wrong.

On March 7, he claims he finally realised something must be done when data analyst Ben Warner told him that the herd immunity plan would be “incredibly destructive”. By March 13, he had come up with a “Plan B” – immortalised in the whiteboard picture.

Yet Sage minutes show that by March 10, experts were already concerned that the UK had 10,000 cases and transmission was happening in the community and hospitals. By March 13, Sage warned the UK was further ahead of the epidemic curve than was previously assumed, and that social distancing should be implemented.

So although Cummings claims Sage was mired in groupthink, the documents show the group had already realised more needed to be done. By March 16, Sage said social distancing should be implemented as soon as possible and by March 18 it warned that intensive care capacity could be breached by early April.

Cummings also claims that on March 13, Helen MacNamara, the Deputy Cabinet Secretary, admitted there was no pandemic plan, and warned

“I think we’re going to kill thousands of people.”

Yet he told MPs that he had asked officials at Number 10 to look into pandemic planning nearly two months before. Did he simply forget to follow it up?

He told MPs: “There is no doubt in retrospect it was a huge failure of mine and I bitterly regret that I didn’t hit the emergency panic button earlier than I did.

“From the last week of Feb, a whole bunch of things were wrong. But I was incredibly frightened about the consequences of me pulling a massive string and saying the official plan is wrong and it’s going to kill everyone.”

Instead, it seems he left MacNamara to make the decisive call. Or as Greg Clark, the chairman of the Select Committee put it, he was a whistleblower who forgot to blow the whistle.

Cummings claimed that one of the things he found “shocking” was when he realised in April that NHS patients were being sent into care homes without being tested.

“We were told categorically in March that people would be tested before they went back into care homes,” he told MPs. “The government rhetoric was we put a shield around care homes. We did quite the opposite of putting a shield around them. We sent people with Covid back to care homes.”

Cummings claims that Matt Hancock told him and the Prime Minister that testing would happen. Yet as far as we can tell, the Health Secretary never made this promise.

As early as February 24, Public Health England’s National Infection Service had issued coronavirus guidance suggesting it was not safe to discharge untested individuals to care homes from hospitals.

The report advised there should be “no discharges to care or residential homes”, adding: “Patients who are not cases, do not have Covid-19 compatible symptoms and are medically fit for discharge could be discharged to own home with isolation/household quarantine.”

However, guidance was changed on March 19 so that hospitals no longer needed to avoid sending patients to care homes, a decision that was heavily criticised and which was reversed by the Government later in the epidemic.

On March 26, The National Care Forum wrote to Mr Hancock and Mr Johnson warning that care homes were being pressured into taking hospital discharge patients who had not been tested for the virus, even though they were exhibiting symptoms.

Public Health England told care homes that a lack of testing meant that readmissions may have Covid and hospitals were told to get patients out as quickly as possible to free up beds. There was also no testing available for staff or residents.

It was not until April 15 that the Government published its adult social care action plan, which announced that NHS trusts would need to test every single patient prior to discharge back to their care home or new admission to a care home, whether they had symptoms or not.

Cummings claimed that one of the reasons for avoiding lockdowns and restrictive measures was because behavioural scientists thought the public would not agree.

“Fundamentally in January, February and March, the almost universal view was it was just inconceivable we were going to do a Taiwan-type thing,” he told MPs.

“The problem is that in this field of behavioural science, there are a lot of charlatans and anybody who’s been involved with the political world knows that the whole field is riddled with dust studies.”

Yet far from warning about non-compliance, a report on March 4 from the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) said there was not enough empirical evidence for measures that were being considered – which included school closures, social distancing, restrictions on public gatherings and isolation of symptomatic cases and at-risk members of the public.

Professor Susan Michie, director of University College London’s UCL Centre for Behaviour Change, said: “Cummings does not appear to understand the role of SPI-B nor the contribution of behavioural scientists on that group.

“SPI-B is not asked to comment, and has not commented, on what interventions are effective or when they should be triggered. Instead, the group is asked to provide advice aimed at anticipating and helping people adhere to interventions that are recommended.”
 

nlogax

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Watched a lot of it yesterday but it ended up being more background noise than anything else. What I did manage to take away from yesterday's proceedings is that everything bad that's happened in the entirety of history is apparently down to Matt Hancock.
 

jfollows

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A couple of things he said made me reflect.

Boris being "unfit for the job" - well, yes he is, but some of us (Max Hastings as well as me) thought that before he got the job, and Cummings was instrumental in enabling Boris to get the job. So why didn't he realise that then, or if he did, why did he ensure that someone unfit for the job got it? Because he thought he could pull the strings himself perhaps?

He also went on about the political system being unfit for purpose because it gave us a "choice" of Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn, but I flat out disagree with him. The system is fine, the lack of choice (as in, a "choice" between two people both fundamentally unfit for the job) was primarily down to the incompetence of the Labour party which chose as its leader someone completely unsuitable and ensured that Labour was incapable of being a party of opposition for years. Also because the Conservatives captured the "centre ground", which is something what Cummings says no longer exists, but again he's wrong.

EDIT: Whatever you might think about the last election, whether you agree or disagree with the "choice" that was on offer, whether or not you think it was a bad one, I fundamentally disagree with Cummings that it was the result of a broken system, I think it was an inevitable result of a set of circumstances which led up to it, and choices (bad ones in my opinion) that people and collective groups of people such as political parties made.

Bottom line, as with this government as a whole, there is so much untruth being flung around that it's hard to see the truth through the lies. However Cummings probably in general yesterday is closer to the truth, on average, than Boris and his Cabinet have been. So there's something of value and truth in what Cummings said yesterday, if you can dissect what he said and pick out the pieces of truth from the rest of the lies, bluster and emnity.
 
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Bantamzen

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A couple of things he said made me reflect.

Boris being "unfit for the job" - well, yes he is, but some of us (Max Hastings as well as me) thought that before he got the job, and Cummings was instrumental in enabling Boris to get the job. So why didn't he realise that then, or if he did, why did he ensure that someone unfit for the job got it? Because he thought he could pull the strings himself perhaps?
This is a very good point indeed, it was Cummings' job to steer BoJo through leadership, so if BoJo failed then Cummings was instrumental in that.
 

duncanp

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Some more criticism of Mr Cummings.

I can't help but compare him with the Duke & Duchess of Sussex, in that he is quick to criticise others and nothing is ever his fault.

He says Australia had the right policy by closing its borders and locking down "hard and early", but only today we hear that the state of Victoria has been ordered back into a 7 day "snap lockdown", because of a handful of cases of, er, the Indian variant.

So despite closed borders, variants circulating throughout the world will inevitably find their way into a country.

And do we really want to live in a world where we can have "snap lockdowns" at a moment's notice, with all the consequences for business, and people's mental health? I for one do not want to live in such a world, and I can't imagine many people who would.

What is most important now is that the government continues with the roadmap, and works towards lifting all restrictions once and for all, even if that turns out to be slightly later than some people would wish for.


Contradictions kept piling up in Dominic Cummings’ claws-out rewriting of history

Former adviser's aim was clearly to concede wrongdoing while suggesting he was the unwitting victim of an ‘overall system failure’

One question that went disappointingly unanswered during Dominic Cummings' compelling coronavirus confessional was who would play him in a Covid: The Disaster movie.

As Parliament TV became box office for the first time in its inauspicious history, it soon became apparent that Benedict Cumberbatch, who portrayed Mr Cummings in a Brexit film, might lack the malevolence needed to deliver lines as sinister as: "Prime Minister, if you don't fire Matt Hancock we are going to kill people."

Having long been portrayed as Westminster's answer to Blofeld from the James Bond films, Boris Johnson's former chief adviser appeared keener to present himself as the evil villain's feline companion during Wednesday's grilling by MPs.

We already knew Mr Cummings was more of a cat person after he took aim at Dilyn the Downing Street dog, but no one could have been prepared for No 10's resident rottweiler's admission that, during his 15 months in office, he was actually a bit of a pussycat.

Not only was he "incredibly frightened" of "smashing" his "hand down on a massive button marked 'ditch the official plan'," but the man who had self-styled a reputation for being right about everything was also "scared of being wrong".

Far from being a genius, the Oxford graduate who advised SpAds to crib up on Neumann's game theory was in fact "not very smart".

Classic Dom. Just as we were being encouraged to pore over a Tweetpic of his "Plan B" whiteboard, we were also being told that his ideas weren't worth the paper they weren't written on.

The lynx-like cunning continued as the 49-year-old critiqued the failures in his own response to the pandemic while pointing out the much bigger mistakes made by others.

Yes, Mr Cummings had ballsed things up, he readily admitted, but that was nothing compared to the likes of the "terrifyingly s***" Cabinet Office, "f*****" Whitehall, and "lying" Matt Hancock.

I mean, what was he even doing there, for heaven's sake?

Declaring that it was "completely crazy" for him to have been appointed to high office, he blamed "the system" for electing Mr Johnson despite not only personally helping to propel him to power but also asking for "special powers" when he was employed as his "assistant" in July 2019.

Both contrite and calculated, the aim of the mea culpa was clearly to concede wrongdoing while suggesting that he was the unwitting victim of an "overall system failure".

Yet at no point did the "career psychopath", as David Cameron once described him, acknowledge his own destructive role as the establishment's aggressor-in-chief.

More adept at throwing grenades than defusing bombs, it appeared completely lost on him that the crisis might have merited a mediator rather than someone prone to alienating anyone who disagreed with him.

No one, not even people as competent as Bill Gates, could have performed well under the "chaotic" circumstances presented by this unmitigated "Horlicks", he insisted, as if to suggest that only "weirdos and misfits" could possibly be capable of solving such national emergencies.

Dominic Cummings declared that it was 'completely crazy' for him to have been appointed to high office

Keen to stress just how quickly the UK was hurtling towards Armageddon, he likened Ben Warner, the physicist he had dispatched to early Sage and Cobra meetings, to David Levinson, the scientist played by Jeff Goldblum in the 1996 blockbuster Independence Day who informs the President that an alien invasion is about to end life on Earth.

Meanwhile, Mr Hancock appeared to have turned into Gargamel from The Smurfs, while the "Telegraph-obsessed" Prime Minister was careering about the place like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters.

And let's not even get started on the Lady Macbeth of the piece, Carrie Symonds, or the fact that one major cast member,

Mr Cummings' "bestie" Michael Gove, didn't even merit a mention despite being the minister in charge of the aforementioned turd-like Cabinet Office.

Despite, at times, purring at the science and technology and health and social care committees' forensic – and lengthy – line of questioning, the contradictions kept piling up like the contents of a litter tray.

Mr Cummings didn't have a day off between July 2019 and November 2020 but managed to cram in a scenic eye test at Barnard Castle.

He didn't have any power but hired Simon Case as Cabinet Secretary, the most senior civil servant in the country.

He complained that Cobra "leaked like a sieve", yet regularly briefed journalists including the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg.

He didn't change his blog, just added to it.

He regarded his boss as a bungling buffoon – but the vaccine rollout was only successful because its chair, Kate Bingham, reported directly to the Prime Minister.

He became exasperated by Mr Johnson's refusal to sack Mr Hancock, but didn't offer his resignation despite most of the country calling for it.

He didn't want people to die needlessly but advocated shooting them up with an untested coronavirus vaccine in return for a million pounds in compensation if it killed them.

There was no doubting the Durham-born father of one's sincerity when he insisted he was there to provide the "truth" to the "families of all the thousands who died". And when he said he was sorry, he certainly appeared to mean it.

But having expended his nine lives in government, this was also about settling scores. In describing Mr Johnson as a "shopping trolley" that could not be guided while traducing "interfering", "stupid" and "incapable" Mr Hancock, this was a calculated attempt to let the cat out of the bag about the competence of the people running the country.

All of which made for irresistible viewing – if only anyone outside SW1 was watching. The trouble for Mr Cummings' claws-out rewriting of history is that the public largely regards him as a dog who has had his day.
 

chorleyjeff

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I suppose that we probably need to discuss this at some point so here goes.
A dedicated thread:

Dominic Cummings has served his particular slice of ice cold (although not that cold) revenge up at the joint technology, science and health committee meeting in the most blistering, “this’ll definitely bring the government down” way that he could have done in the last 24 hours...

Will it make much difference though?
Or is he just a busted flush after last year’s ‘Barnard Castle/Rose Garden’ debacle?

Do those of you on here that have been waiting for him to draw a map of “where the bodies are buried” believe what he says?
Or do you feel that this government is held in such low expectations by the population where it comes to truthfulness, that it’ll just bounce off them and in a couple of weeks time be completely forgotten about?

This is going to be something that’s looked back upon in many decades time in my opinion, but I’d be interested in what all of you think?

Any thoughts..? ;)

Think of ferrets fightging in a sack.
Cummings eye test drive with family in car did much to diminish lockdown messaging.
Johnson being absent whilst on duty and not doing homework was business as usual.
If only there was a grown up opposition to effectively call out Johnson's failings in a believable way.
What high achieving person of integrity would want to be a politician on the national stage ? Very very few I think.
 

C J Snarzell

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I'm not a fan of Dom Cummings but I did listen to what he had to say yesterday and it was interesting to hear about the government 'bust ups' going on behind the scenes.

Given a public enquiry will get underway next year, I have a feeling what Cummings has said is perhaps only the tip of the iceberg to what we will hear in the next year or too.

The fallout from this could go either way. As I said months ago - I can't see Matt Hancock remaining as Health Secretary too long. Although he has done a pretty thankless job over the last 15 months I have a feeling for his own health and wellbeing he will probably stand down once there is some National stability with the virus.

Dom Cummings scaving comments indicate Hancock could be the biggest cabinet casualty and if he doesn't go he could very well be pushed aside if BoJo decides on a reshuffle.

CJ
 

duncanp

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If only there was a grown up opposition to effectively call out Johnson's failings in a believable way.

Whilst Boris Johnson could have done some things differently or sooner, I think he deserves credit for the vaccine rollout in the UK.

Vaccination is the one way in which we can permanently extricate ourselves from this situation, and transform COVID-19 into an endemic disease which can be managed in the same way as seasonal flu.

As for the Labour party, I bet they are secretly glad that they have been in opposition and not the government throughout this affair. Who is to say that they would have done anything differently?
 

big_rig

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Beyond the obvious points of hypocrisy and lack of self-awareness (everybody Mr Cummings liked was really good and saved everybody, everybody he didn't like was stupid and killed people), it was disappointing to see the Committee fail to challenge his assertions about circuit breaker lockdowns. He kept on saying that earlier lockdowns in March and September would have saved tens of thousands of lives, and nobody was interested in challenging that at all. It is plainly nonsense (see: Wales) - unless a lockdown is indefinite and ends up with the elimination of the virus, which is then sustained forever, the timing is irrelevant to the outcome.
 

duncanp

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If only there was a grown up opposition to effectively call out Johnson's failings in a believable way.

Whilst Boris Johnson could have done some things differently or sooner, I think he deserves credit for the vaccine rollout in the UK.

Vaccination is the one way in which we can permanently extricate ourselves from this situation, and transform COVID-19 into an endemic disease which can be managed in the same way as seasonal flu.

As for the Labour party, I bet they are secretly glad that they have been in opposition and not the government throughout this affair. Who is to say that they would have done anything differently.

The fallout from this could go either way. As I said months ago - I can't see Matt Hancock remaining as Health Secretary too long. Although he has done a pretty thankless job over the last 15 months I have a feeling for his own health and wellbeing he will probably stand down once there is some National stability with the virus.

The one thing that should not happen now is for Boris Johnson to sack Matt Hancock, or for Matt Hancock to resign.

This would mean that Cummings is dictating the agenda even though he no longer has anything to do with the government.

There will probably be a cabinet reshuffle, but it should not take place until later in the year, once we are all finally free of restrictions permanently.
 

jfollows

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Dom Cummings scaving comments indicate Hancock could be the biggest cabinet casualty and if he doesn't go he could very well be pushed aside if BoJo decides on a reshuffle.
I do think that the comments yesterday have ensured that Matt Hancock will retain his job for longer than he was going to, simply because Boris now will feel that he can't sack ("reshuffle") Hancock because he will appear to be agreeing with Cummings if he does.
 

yorksrob

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Fundamentally it's the pro-lockdown faction asserting its theories. I'm sure it will feed into the public inquiry eventually.
 

nlogax

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I do think that the comments yesterday have ensured that Matt Hancock will retain his job for longer than he was going to, simply because Boris now will feel that he can't sack ("reshuffle") Hancock because he will appear to be agreeing with Cummings if he does.

I agree with that, though Hancock will apparently be providing his rebuttal to Cummings' comments today. Must sting a bit to have publicly supported Cummings after his Barnard Castle misadventure only to have been thrown under the bus repeatedly over the course of yesterday's session.
 

Watershed

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And do we really want to live in a world where we can have "snap lockdowns" at a moment's notice, with all the consequences for business, and people's mental health? I for one do not want to live in such a world, and I can't imagine many people who would.
Ask the public "Do you want Covid to be eradicated?" and they'll tell you "Of course!".

Ask the public "Do you want to constantly be in and out of lockdown?" and they'll tell you "Of course not!".

Unfortunately, the public still mostly don't understand that it isn't possible to have their cake and eat it. And they still have no idea of what is going to be hitting us in terms of the financial, mental, physical etc. costs of lockdowns over the next few years.

That said, you can't really blame them in a sense. The mainstream media and politicians are guilty of pushing the narrative that there is such a thing as a "right" Covid response. Very few people are prepared to tell the public what they don't want to hear - that it is always going to be a question of trade-offs.

It's awfully convenient how things like Australia's repeated lockdowns, or the surge in infections in "zero-Covid success story" countries in Asia, never seem to make the headlines.
 

edwin_m

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A couple of things he said made me reflect.

Boris being "unfit for the job" - well, yes he is, but some of us (Max Hastings as well as me) thought that before he got the job, and Cummings was instrumental in enabling Boris to get the job. So why didn't he realise that then, or if he did, why did he ensure that someone unfit for the job got it? Because he thought he could pull the strings himself perhaps?

He also went on about the political system being unfit for purpose because it gave us a "choice" of Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn, but I flat out disagree with him. The system is fine, the lack of choice (as in, a "choice" between two people both fundamentally unfit for the job) was primarily down to the incompetence of the Labour party which chose as its leader someone completely unsuitable and ensured that Labour was incapable of being a party of opposition for years. Also because the Conservatives captured the "centre ground", which is something what Cummings says no longer exists, but again he's wrong.

EDIT: Whatever you might think about the last election, whether you agree or disagree with the "choice" that was on offer, whether or not you think it was a bad one, I fundamentally disagree with Cummings that it was the result of a broken system, I think it was an inevitable result of a set of circumstances which led up to it, and choices (bad ones in my opinion) that people and collective groups of people such as political parties made.

Bottom line, as with this government as a whole, there is so much untruth being flung around that it's hard to see the truth through the lies. However Cummings probably in general yesterday is closer to the truth, on average, than Boris and his Cabinet have been. So there's something of value and truth in what Cummings said yesterday, if you can dissect what he said and pick out the pieces of truth from the rest of the lies, bluster and emnity.
I think it's absolutely about the system.

If we had a system that allowed third (and fourth and fifth) parties to have a realistic chance of power, then voters on the left could have had a choice of a Corbynite or a less radical Labour party, and voters on the right could have had a choice of a non-Brexit Tory alternative. This in turn would have forced the existing parties to look harder at whether their policies and personalities were genuinely going to attract voters beyond their own bases.
Whilst Boris Johnson could have done some things differently or sooner, I think he deserves credit for the vaccine rollout in the UK.
I suggest the only credit Johnson or any of the government can claim for the vaccine programme was that they told the professionals to go away and get on with it without political interference. There are a few other successes such as gene sequencing where the same thing happened, but everything that the politicians tried to lead on has been a dismal failure.
 

duncanp

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I think it's absolutely about the system.

If we had a system that allowed third (and fourth and fifth) parties to have a realistic chance of power, then voters on the left could have had a choice of a Corbynite or a less radical Labour party, and voters on the right could have had a choice of a non-Brexit Tory alternative. This in turn would have forced the existing parties to look harder at whether their policies and personalities were genuinely going to attract voters beyond their own bases.

Perhaps one long term consequence of COVID-19 will be electoral reform, with the UK House of Commons being elected on a system similar to that used for the Scottish and Welsh parliaments. The House of Lords could be renamed The Senate, with a more transparent process for selecting its members
 

jfollows

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I suggest the only credit Johnson or any of the government can claim for the vaccine programme was that they told the professionals to go away and get on with it without political interference. There are a few other successes such as gene sequencing where the same thing happened, but everything that the politicians tried to lead on has been a dismal failure.
I completely agree with you on this point, but I guess I'm starting from a highly negative perception of Boris Johnson and everything he does and is responsible for. I give them minor praise for getting the vaccination programme right, which is comparatively generous for me. However I think that the opinion polls and recent election results reflect a much higher level of approval for the government's handling of the vaccination programme - a bit like Virgin Trains used to be when it operated the WCML in my opinion, it did a reasonable job but it seemed to attract much more praise and positive comment than I felt it deserved.
 

wireforever

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There will not be a queue of people lining up to be the new health secretary if Hancock was to be sacked.He is safe in his job as is the PM another Boris landslide at the next election people have short memories and there is no credible opposition from the labour party
 

Darandio

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Hancock is now giving his response in the Commons. One of the first quotes is......

He says the government has been straight with MPs and the people.

Straight my arse. The bloke has been called out as a serial liar and the first thing he does this morning is lie. I'm not reading any more of it.
 

jfollows

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Yes, but what does being "straight with people" (as he is reported to have said) mean? He's not actually saying that he was honest with people and told the truth is he? I'm sure it's possible to be "straight with people" whilst lying to them.
 

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