should we 'move on' from the dominic cummings scandal?
Milla Alexander explores the impact of Cummings' actions and questions if there one rule for the elite and another for the rest of us.
By Milla Alexander / 30 May 2020
As people in the UK begin to see a semblance of normality return to their daily lives, Dominic Cummings faces anything but.
Now, instead of enjoying the last weeks of indulgent Netflix consumption, the country’s eyes and opinions are trained on the Prime Minister, and what will come of his chief aide.
After being exposed for breaking lockdown rules by driving the length of England to allegedly have extended family look after his son, Cumming’s future is being discussed in headlines, and twitter feeds. The trip came at the end of March, just after the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, had imposed a mandatory lockdown. The government guidelines stated: “You should not be visiting family members who do not live in your home.”
If you’re out of the loop and want to get the low down on the saga - you can find timelines all over the internet, but simply put - there are many people who feel Cummings broke quarantine rules, and believe he should pay with his job. However, with no indication of the PM giving him the sack, and his own statement, making clear he has no plans to resign, is it time we move on?
Illustration by Philippa Mwayi
So, what’s the main issue here?
That he travelled to see family? That he claims he has done nothing wrong? Is it that his statement seems to suggest that the people of the UK’ hate unfairness’ rather than admit to the fact he used his job title as an opportunity to act irresponsibly? Or is it that it’s a clear double standard? Remember the time Diane Abbott was made to apologise for drinking a mojito on a train?
Diane Abbott was pictured drinking a cheek tin of mojito on an overground train back in 2019. The fact that someone ‘papped’ a pic without her consent and put it on a public domain is another story, but she was picked apart in the press and on social media for it. Yes, she was breaking the rules, but she wasn’t risking lives.
Mixed opinions are circulating the Twitter-verse with some encouraging people to sign petitions asking the PM to hold Dominic Cummings to account for his actions, some defend his right to do what they see as necessary as a parent. There have been debates by politicians and laymen alike about whether or not he be fired.
But what are we expecting - really?
The multiple calls to action - asking Johnson to do the right thing is frankly, pointless. Since his promotion in July 2019, or since - ever, the shit Boris has done has called his position into question on countless occasions.
Don’t remember? “Moved on?” How about his failure to declare earnings; his disgusting comments on niqab wearers. How about when he called Africa a country? “That country” to be precise. The man was mayor of London for eight excruciating years and yet for some reason - we think signatures and hashtags are going to make him see his error in judgement?
No. Instead, conveniently, anyone other than the Prime Minister’s aide is being asked to account for their short-cummings. Emily Maitlis of Newsnight has been reprimanded for her monologue on the story. The public is being shamed for reportedly “using Cummings as an excuse to break social distancing rules”. Basically, people are moving on. Although he’s the centre of the controversy, Dominic Cummings is getting exactly what he wants. A break.
Slowly but surely we’ll see this story go cold, gone, if not forgotten.
And once plans are executed to open non-essential stores and then soon after hotels, cinemas and pubs, we’ll likely not be talking about it at all. Perhaps if this story had broken in June or July - maybe we wouldn’t have even cared. Right?
What’s clear is that we’ve all had enough of being confined to our houses; unable to see friends; being told to cancel weddings, holidays, yoga retreats; not being able to see or care for our loved ones who are sick or dying. And so staging outrage at Cummings indiscretions is about more than just wanting him sacked. It’s about the anger we have for the government’s apathy when it comes to doing what is truly best for the country.
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