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May 26, 2020

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dilbert dogbert

Brought to mind a controversial book: "The Mountain People"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ik_people

Jim

Cummings should resign when MPs Stephen Kinnock and Tahir Ali do.

MJW

@ Jim,

Could you please explain why whataboutery defences of Cummings always seem to forget that those others weren't actively engaged in developing the 'stay home' strategy, whilst he was? At least you might agree it's curious such an obvious point gets overlooked?

droog

Cummings should resign since Calderwood and Ferguson did.

D

Great post

Ralph Musgrave

I don't remember Chris, or indeed any of the other people currently working themselves up into a frenzy of righteous indignation over this, claiming that the MPs found guilty of fiddling their expense sheets a few years ago should be sacked.

We all agreed those MPs should pay the normal sort of penalty for that offence. And Cummins should certainly pay the normal penalty for breaking lockdown rules. But whether Cummins or the latter MPs are sacked, well that's a political decision.

If voters or constituency Labour or Tory committees want to sack an MP for fiddling expenses, no one can quarrel with that. Likewise, if Boris Johnson wants to keep Cummins, so be it. That may result in the Tories being voted out of office at the next election, in which case, fair enough.

droog

I can't recall an expenses scandal that wasn't met with indignation from both sides of the political spectrum. There's the usual haggling about which party is worse, but all I recall is condemnation.

Ralph, in this post Chris argues that it is pointless to argue whether or not Cummings followed rules, given that he is guilty of breaking norms.

In 2009 Chris made the same point about expenses, where MPs arguably followed the letter of the law whilst still abusing the system.
https://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2009/05/expenses-and-rule-fetishism.html

You don't need to remember these things; that's what Google is for.

Jim

"Could you please explain why whataboutery defences of Cummings always seem to forget that those others weren't actively engaged in developing the 'stay home' strategy, whilst he was?"

So the law applies more to the people who create it than the rest of us, is that what you're saying? That there isn't equality under the law once passed by Parliament, people who are involved in creating it are in a special category of enhanced enforcement?

If thats the case, as Kinnock and Ali are both MPs and thus are in a formal position of power over all of us, and presumably voted for the Coronavirus Act (or at least didn't vote against it as I think it was rushed through without a vote with cross party support) then why are they not held to special account as well?

Or could the discrepancy between the treatment of the cases be because Kinnock and Ali are Labour and Remainers, while Cummings is Tory and Mr Brexit? That wouldn't have anything to do with the first two examples being treated as 'Nothing to see here' by the media, and the other as the Killing of First Born?

MJW

@ Jim

Using Brexit to try and shore up the risible whataboutery defence is just special pleading. As you note Kinnock and Ali did not play a role in developing the Government's very clear message to stay home. Cummings did. The more obvious and direct comparisons, which whataboutery proponents are scrupulous to overlook, are Ferguson and Calderwood. Advisors who were forced to resign having undermined the strategies they helped to develop.

However, I will concede that personal integrity is perhaps fundamental to the roles that Ferguson and Calderwood played, whereas nobody realistically thinks that of Cummings.

droog

We haven't yet touched on the matter that part of the reason Cummings is facing these attacks is because of the obvious fabrications which No. 10, his wife and Cummings himself have been drip feeding from the start. The careful obfuscation of their time under quarantine in the Spectator articles, the vague statements from No. 10 on Cummings' availability and whereabouts, Cummings exposing staff at No. 10 after learning his wife had symptoms, Cummings editing of his own blog, the selective quoting of the lockdown rules, the biased notion that feeling ill and having to sit down at Barnard Castle is not a sign that he failed his own driving test (it was stricly an eye test shut up shut up), etc, etc. It's either very selective reasoning of more lies to plug the holes in the previous accounts. Of the five notorious offenders (Calderwood, Ferguson, Ali, Kinnock and Cummings), only Cummings' escapades seem to come with a full battery of weapons-grade spin.

I agree that Kinnock was selfish and Ali was reckless, but the amount of deceit employed by Cummings and his allies is not lost on the public. It's no wonder people see this case as the more egregious violation out of the five and are getting angrier at the impotence of holding to account a government that can ride this out until 2024. Nobody wants to put themselves and loved ones at risk just to spite the government, but if the chatter over the tubes is anything to go by the much vaunted government tracking app is dead before arrival.

Paulc156

If he had any of the integrity that's been allocated him by the PM and some senior Gov ministers he'd have resigned before becoming a celebrity in his Rose Garden speech.
The public have spotted the arrogant fraud that he is...hence my own relaxed attitude to him staying put. Cummings is now (for the majority who don't know before) the readily identifiable inspiration for this Tory Govs policy going forward and as such the longer he stays in situ the easier things get for Starmer et al.

ltr

Returning now to Tories putting infected hospital patients in nursing homes. There is Tory morality.

ltr

Tories are responsible for more coronavirus deaths than any country other than the America of Donald Trump. Does it matter, morally or politically?

TB

Surely the elites should be able to do what they want? The laws apply to the plebs only don't forget!

It isn't as if we are talking about a privileged man who designed a campaign against "the elite" (all 28 million of them) as though he wasn't one. It isn't as if he had a hand in making the rules that apply to other lesser beings and it isn't as if he doesn't have an electoral mandate to do whatever he wants.

Ralph Musgrave

I'm looking forward to Chris doing an article as wordy and erudite as the above one on the subject of Stephen Kinnock and Labour MP Tahir Ali both of whom broke lockdown rules.

Jim

" I will concede that personal integrity is perhaps fundamental to the roles that Ferguson and Calderwood played"

You mean the man who has got every single pandemic prediction he's ever made utterly wrong has personal integrity? Don't make me laugh. Any scientist with integrity whose predictions had been proved to be wrong that many times would have resigned decades ago. Instead he continued to pour out the same load of old crap that he'd done the time before, because his ego wouldn't let him admit he had failed and was completely wrong.

I'm a farmer, and there are farmers who committed suicide over the effects of the contiguous cull during the Foot and Mouth crisis that Ferguson demanded (and got from Blair). A cull that had no basis in science, was later proved to be utterly counter productive, and cost the country billions. Sound familiar?

So don't give me crap about integrity. If Ferguson had any he'd have left epidemiology after that little example of his total failure as a scientist. But no he just kept going. SARS, bird flu, Mad cow disease you name it he predicted catastrophe, and when it didn't happen acted like nothing was wrong. The man's a complete fraud.

TB

@Jim and @Ralph

Regardless of whatever other people did, you agree then that Cummings was and is a shit and should at the very least resign correct?

Paul

In Italy we have our local form of "one rule for them" which translates literally to "two weights two measures" (due pesi, due misure).

Sadly the phrase is invariably accompanied by a shrug of the shoulders and some kind of "what can we do about it my dear?" mumbling and shaking of the head.

When was *this* last part internalized? Is it because Italians have normalized the old latin adage "Ubi major minor cessat"?
Is this destined to spread as the 1% grab even more power during the course of this crisis? Or will the "one rule for them" indignation trigger revolt and then a reset to a new moral equilibrium?

blog7

"Most of our politics is still conducted with the morality and the language of the simple primitive hunter-gatherer tribe...Our ‘chimp politics’ has an evolutionary logic: our powerful evolved instinct to conform to a group view is a flip-side of our evolved in-group solidarity". How unfortunate to hear such a thing from a man who lives in a civilized country of the Western world. Just imagine how things are in Eastern Europe.

Dipper

Cummings is not an MP. The lockdown regulations were voted through by MPs and they alone have responsibility for them. If you think he is fair game. You are too.

Cummings' breach of the lockdown rules appears pretty marginal. Durham police have investigated and said he may have broken them on his trip to Barnard Castlem and and they would probably have told him to go home. That looks like no case to answer. But the absolutely festering state of lefty politics means that we now have a private individual subject to a public inquisition not on whether he has broken the law but on whether a self-appointed mob think it reasonable is just gob-smacking.

Would all those who think that the treatment of Cummings has been fair please let me know where you have posted a detailed account of your lockdown activities including any trips you made with your children? I would like to interrogate you publicly about it, and then decide whether you should be sacked.

Dipper

@TB "you agree then that Cummings was and is a shit and should at the very least resign "

What ?? What ?? Seriously WTF?? Do you miss being in the Stasi and snitching on your neighbours?

Paulc156

@Dipper
"Lefty this and that...bla bla"
...most Tory supporters think he should either resign or be sacked. As polled and reported in this weeks not very lefty Daily Fail. There's probably a minority of several millions of English folks (I'm not one of them) who have done their utmost to follow the lockdown rules in their entirety even if on occasion at great emotional or psychological cost to themselves. Hence the fellow who sits on on SAGE meetings and advises the PM on lockdown policy has done this to himself notwithstanding his asinine eye testing quips relating to his castle trip on his wife's birthday.

Blissex

«In Italy we have our local form of "one rule for them" which translates literally to "two weights two measures" (due pesi, due misure)»
«most Tory supporters think he should either resign or be sacked. [...] a minority of several millions of English folks (I'm not one of them) who have done their utmost to follow the lockdown rules in their entirety even if on occasion at great emotional or psychological cost to themselves.»

My impression is that in England too there are "two weights two measures" (see: Bullingdon Club), and the current outrage is because Cummings, who is after all just middle class or upper-middle class, behaved as if he were upper-class,that is he was "uppity".
Thus the resentment of millions of tory-voting middle class and upper-middle class voters who have not dared to behave beyond their station.
Cummings has been guilty of something very similar to queue-jumping.

TB

@Dipper

For some reason I expected better from you (over Jim and Ralph) but I see you have also descended into being an apologist with your own form of whataboutery.

@Blissex - I see what you are saying. It's like he failed to adhere to the hierarchy and should know his place. He is no royal, after all...

Dipper

@TB

Could you let me know where you posted the details of how young your family spent lockdown? Just so I can ensure that you and Cummings share the same rights under Lockdown?

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