Car Crash….

It is a rare spectacle to see the reputation of a government collapse almost overnight.   Usually it takes months or perhaps years as people come to realise that those who run the country are beneath contempt.   This long bank holiday weekend has condensed the whole process.   On Thursday, whilst the mood was getting restless, it was fair to say the government still had support.   Yes the latest set of instructions were confusing but mostly they were being followed – sort of.

Then came the trainwreck of Dominic Cummings and that trust is now in tatters.   It really doesn’t matter whether Cummings followed the letter of the law, debatable, he certainly didn’t follow the spirit.   In politics that matters especially when the rest of the country has had to endure the lockdown.   This is why this story has got wings.    Everyone can understand the implications of what they have had to forgo due to the lockdown.   Now we all see that we were either not told the whole truth or that it really is one rule for the plebs and one rule for the rulers.   This builds resentment.

Of course we have been here before.   Just a few months ago we had all the heat and light about the prorogation of Parliament.   This seemed like a big thing and it was, at the time, but it didn’t really affect many people’s lives.   The lockdown has.  The lockdown is something we all understand and the sight of someone at the heart of the government making a mockery of the whole thing is something that will be remembered.

Today some of the papers are trying to move on from the story and splash that shops will soon be open as if nothing has happened yesterday.   Don’t get me wrong this new is a big thing but it isn’t the news that many people will have heard yesterday and that is the real problem of the Cummings affair.   This government has forfeited most of the goodwill they had.   It is political incompetence of the first order.   I will give just one example of the level of madness that has now gripped the government.

Yesterday, one of the senior ministers that gave their wholesome support of Dominic Cummings was the Attorney General for England and Wales.   She is supposed to be independent of the political fray because she has the authority to initiate or stop prosecutions yet yesterday, on the day that Durham Police let it be known they were going to look into the matter again, she effectively made the investigation null and void.  She runs the Crown Prosecution Service so should a file be sent to them for a decision on whether to prosecute their boss has already said that Cummings has done nothing wrong.   So much for the independence of the office of the Attorney General for England and Wales.

Whether that is a fair statement is not the point.   Dominic Cummings is so important to the Prime Minister that stupid things are demanded and compliant holders of what were once important offices of state jump to their master’s bidding.   I wonder if Geoffrey Cox, her predecessor, would have entertained such nonsense but then again he has been a QC longer than the current Attorney General for England and Wales has been a barrister.

There in is the problem exposed at the heart of the Cummings affair.  The Prime Minister has shown himself incapable of running the country without Dominic Cummings.   He has thrown away most of his Prime Ministerial authority over the weekend.   If you don’t believe me then why did the Prime Minister tell the public on Saturday that there was nothing to see here (I paraphrase ) only to have to come out again on Sunday when few people believed his reassurances from the previous day.   He now appears to be the one who is taking the orders from Cummings who, lest we forget, has no official standing in the government other than as a chief advisor.   No one voted for him yet everyone in Government appears to bend over backwards to protect him.   That reinforces the notion that he and not Boris Johnson really runs things.

How long will this whole thing rumble on?  I have no idea.   Will Cummings go? I doubt it unless Boris Johnson grows a pair and dumps him but even this is now too late.  The damage has been done.   Whether Boris Johnson is a busted flush only time will tell but he, and his government, no longer have the respect they once had on Thursday evening.   Once respect has been lost it is impossible to regain and it is usually replaced by contempt.  All this damage to save a special advisor – what does that say about Boris Johnson as a Prime Minister?   I suspect a lot of people now have a much more diminished view of him than they did on Thursday.

Events, dear boy, Events.

 

P.S.

As I write this I see a junior minister has resigned over the affair.   Under normal circumstance not a big thing but it just adds further flames to the fire and will ensure that yesterday wasn’t then end of the story.   What a complete fuck up.

About Guthlac

An artist, historian and middle aged man who'se aim in life is to try and enjoy as much of it as he can
This entry was posted in Corvid 19, Politics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Car Crash….

  1. DiscoveredJoys says:

    What a mess… and not one generated by the Government but the media hell bent on Tory gotchalism. Why did the press wait 6 weeks before breaking the story? Could it be something to do with the imminent transition extension debate? While Boris and Dominic were out of the loop the rumour was that an extension would be agreed, only to be scotched when Boris returned.

    Perhaps the MSM are trying to manipulate people and undo the democratic votes of the electorate? Certainly some people seem to be taken in.

    • Guthlac says:

      I’m sure there is an element of truth in what you say. However, this really is a situation that has been made far far worse by the way that this government has handled it. Possibly the worst thing to come out of this is how Boris Johnson & Dominic Cummings are linked in people’s mind. So if, god forbid, we have to go into another lockdown situation, let’s say in the Autumn, the first question on everyone’s mind is something along the lines of ‘What would Dom do?’ By bungling the handling of this whole story they have destroyed so much trust and they cannot try and blame the media because, whilst no doubt some of the reporting was in accurate and certainly politically motivated (the irony of Dominic Cummings falling foul of politically motivated journalism is something to behold) the overall story was correct – he did travel to Durham at the height of the lockdown when the instruction was if you have coronavirus you stay where you are. Yes there might be some sub clause somewhere that might provide him with cover but, and I know it might be unfashionable to suggest this, but those who seek to lead us are held to a higher standard – I don’t think that happened in this case.

      However, beyond all of the heat and furry at the moment the real issue is the damage that has been done to the Government’s reputation going forward is far more important than the fate of one SPAD, no matter how grand he might be

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