Cummings (and Goings)
Who (if anyone) is telling the truth?
(Acknowledgement: This article relies heavily on information contained in Wikipedia entries and internet sources elsewhere. Opinions regarding them are of course my own.)
Dominic Cummings (50) has had a high, Svengali-like profile in British politics for some time but never more so than in the last week. In a seven hour interrogation by a House of Commons Committee into the Covid crisis, on Wednesday 26th May, 2021, he was very critical of the Government's handling of it in general, and of the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Health in particular. He painted the former as dithering and disconnected and the latter as disingenuous and worthy only of instant dismissal! Such accusations coming from someone who had held the position of chief advisor to the PM, would be disastrous for the formers' reputation and careers, were it not for their political support in both Parliament and country and the fact that they come from a person that is perceived to be motivated by revenge.
It is perhaps worth noting that Cummings can be no dullard, even if before the Committee he seemed at times to lack focus and full control of his brief. Perhaps his demeanour and body language belay his attitude generally, namely a lack respect for status and convention, particularly in the political sphere. This might be both his strength and weakness. He appeared before the Committee in open neck shirt without tie or jacket and assumed an informal posture and attitude. At least this was an improvement over the trademark jeans and T-shirt that he was often photographed in whilst at work. Clothes and presentation may not in the scheme of things be very important as compared to the quality of the man inside, but neither can they be ignored as indicators.
Educated at the exclusive Durham Public School, he won a place at Exeter College, Oxford and left in 1994 with a First in Ancient and Modern History. Perhaps he sees himself as a modern Juvenal or more like Robespierre as someone suggested – "someone determined to bring down things that don’t work". He is painted as a man who 'did not suffer fools gladly' and 'called a spade a spade' - in short self opinionated and rather careless of other's feelings. It reminds me of the truism, "Oh to see ourselves as others see us."
Whether a likeness to either Juvenal or Robespierre is accurate, there certainly seems to be a Machiavellian whiff to him. The conflicted dissident not sure whether he wants to be in or out of power; 'inside or outside the tent', in Lyndon B Johnson's telling phrase. Well he certainly seems outside now and doing what comes naturally.
Intriguingly, following Oxford he apparently moved to Russia for three years in the post- Glasnost period when the Soviet Union was falling apart, on a business venture that failed. This came back to haunt him in November 2019, when a 'whistle-blower' raised questions about Cummings's interactions during his years in Russia and the Sunday Times reported that Whitehall had excluded him from certain government business. One cannot help wondering if at any stage there was Secret Service (either Russian or British) involvement in his Russian adventure?
Certainly there have been those that have noted the many parallels during the Covid crisis, to typically Soviet-style elements: banning free assembly and protest; using fear as a propaganda weapon; allowing only one narrative; unacceptable use of force; harassing and threatening individuals; restricting gatherings and travel; forced medical treatment and incarceration; state takeover of the economy; personal enrichment and corruption; bureaucracy in place of humanity; soldiers on the streets; the media, particularly the BBC acting as mere echo chambers of government, bought with huge amounts of advertising money; results exactly opposite to the rhetoric; in short totalitarian government.
Of course Cummings argued at the time and subsequently before the Committee this was all justified by the threat and that if anything it should have been more draconian and introduced earlier. It would be surprising if he didn't take this position given the claimed number of premature deaths put at the door of the germ. But he puts it at the door or of Government as a result of its dithering and lack of planning. The fact that deaths increased only after the lock-down measures were introduced and affected overwhelmingly only the aged and infirm in institutional settings most directly affected by the Government policies, was obviously lost on him. Cummings was into 'curves' - the sort that is found in graphs of course - and how to 'flatten them'. He conceded that deaths were inevitable but preferred them spread out so that the NHS would not be overwhelmed. This of course was the Government's message and justification for all the draconian measures.
As one of the chief proponents of the regime it would be surprising if he acknowledged its many practical and theoretical weaknesses; the huge cost; the waste of money on testing and track and trace; the over-hyping of the danger to the majority and in numbers; the ineffectiveness of person hygiene measures; the chilling effect of policing; the lasting adverse psychological conditioning; the increase in deaths from other causes from lack of diagnosis and treatment and despair; business corruption and environmental pollution. He apologised but only for the deaths attributed to the bug that he placed at the door of Government inaction. He did not apologise for the policies that probably killed far more than the ones they theoretically saved or for spawning the experimental 'vaccine' programme that has killed and injured many more.
Within two years of his failed Russian business venture, he became at twenty-eight and from 1999 to 2002, Campaign Director of the anti-EURO organisation, 'Business for Sterling', whose slogan was "Europe Yes. Euro No". What he did in the intervening two years is not revealed by the Wikipedia account. Business for Sterling was set up in 1998 with a 'fighting fund' of one million pounds by a number of politicians and leading industrialists, including Lord Marsh, an ex-Minister of Transport under Harold Wilson. Nick Herbert was appointed Chief Executive and it was Herbert who appointed Cummings to the post of Campaigns Director.
It might be interesting to know, how he came to the notice of Herbert (now Baron Herbert of South Downs) and obtained the post referred to, but it was obviously an important professional and political stepping stone because in 2002, although not a member, he became Director of Strategy for the Conservative Party leader Ian Duncan Smith. His brief for eight months was to 'modernise' the Conservative Party. When he left he labelled Duncan Smith as "incompetent", rather indicative of his current stance.
In 2003 with James Frayne he founded the 'New Frontiers Foundation' that argued for a number of anti-EU positions and the undermining of the BBC with its current resonances. This organisation only lasted two years. In 2004 he was a lead figure in the successful campaign against the North East Regional Assembly and in 2006 he was in charge of the Spectator's web site publishing a controversial cartoon of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban that might be viewed as being propagandistically prophetic. (No pun intended!)
From 2007 to 2014 he was Special Advisor to Michael Gove at the Department of Education and elsewhere. Gove of course was pivotal to all the developments in the Conservative Party and Government from that period and placed Cummins in an influential position although he was neither elected nor civil servant. He had a reputation for being abrasive, outspoken and revolutionary, particularly as it related to the civil service and educational set-up. He was described as being a 'master of the dark arts' to get Goves' way, which itself, particularly as regards the leadership election in 2016, was profoundly unreliable. Goves was notably absent from Cummings criticisms.
In 2015 he became Campaign Director for 'Vote Leave', the Brexit organisation, led by both Gove and Johnson that was ultimately and surprisingly successful, but his position only lasted four months. Despite this he was regarded as 'the mastermind' behind the campaign. Despite being admonished in April 2019 by the House of Commons for propagating false information, in July of that year he was appointed as Senior Advisor to the now Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and was credited with much of the Conservatives election success at the end of that year.
Controversy followed Cummings around, most notably in the irregular sacking of Sonia Kahn, one of the Treasury's Special Advisors without reference to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, for which she later got a five-figure compensation pay out; and latterly for two trips to Durham, that on the face of it broke Covid Regulations and guidance, undermining the Government's health messaging. The latter, and his dubious explanation of it, proved his downfall and on the 14th November, 2020 he was photographed leaving 10 Downing Street through the front entrance, carrying a box of his personal possessions. An image of him 'sliding down his greasy pole', could not have been more redolent of his fall from grace - if grace that is had ever been a feature of his incumbency.
On 26 May 2021, Cummings gave 7 hours of testimony to the Commons Health and Social Care Committee and Science and Technology Committee on the Government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. He did not stray from the attitudes, opinions and character traits outlined above. He appeared in an open neck white shirt - no collar, tie or jacket for him - thus proclaiming his disregard for place in which he found himself and the people before whom he appeared. He began with an apology for his own failings in the Covid crisis and the deaths that resulted from it. Whether this was this genuine and heart felt or merely a well known 'mea culpa' tactic in PR circles, we shall never know. Some may consider it was actually arrogance wrapped up in contrition.
Obviously the constitutional convention of corporate responsibility for Cabinet decisions did not apply to him, even if he was not a member of it. (In fact it is not clear whether Cabinet decision making is any longer a significant factor in what injunctions issue from Government particularly as it relates to this so-called Covid crisis) He painted himself as the one siren voice prophesying doom and the need for drastic action in the form of national 'lock-down'. He painted the Prime Minister as dithering and incapable of action, wedded to the idea of 'herd immunity'. He painted the Health Secretary, Hancock, as an incompetent liar, a charge from which despite the PM's assurance of 'full confidence', he is unlikely to fully recover. We are all aware that such statements are invariably the death knell of a political career. In fact Cummings claimed that on almost a 'daily' basis he had urged Johnson to sack the Minister but that he was only kept on to provide the sacrificial scalp come the inevitable critical public enquiry into the debacle.
Meanwhile his sponsor, to the initial post Nick Herbert, had followed his own political career. We do not know whether he remained in contact with Cummings or if they worked together on other projects although they appear to have parallel sympathies. Herbert founded the centre-right think tank 'Reform' as its Director in 2001, until his election, in controversial circumstances, to Parliament in 2005 for Arundel and South Down which he kept up to 2019, when he was elevated to the House of Lords.
For only two years he was Minister of State at the Home Office responsible for the introduction of the innovative 'Police Commissioners'. For the remainder of his time as MP on the back benches he took a leading role in Global TB, "more efficient government", Countryside Alliance, EU reform, equal marriage and LGBT equal rights. In January 2009 Herbert joined Jason Eades, in a civil partnership, having been in a relationship since 1999. Since 2014 Jason has been 'Senior Partnerships Manager' for DuPaul International, a homelessness charity to which the now Lord Herbert has been appointed International Ambassador as from January 2021.
DuPaul is a Catholic-inspired charity. It's web site states as follows:
Depaul, part of the global family of religious congregations and lay organisations working in the tradition of St Vincent de Paul (1580-1660), is marking its 30th anniversary of starting its mission to end homelessness in the UK and across the world. Since 1989, Depaul has grown from a single housing project in North London to an international group of charities covering seven countries, and working at the United Nations to promote the cause of street homelessness as an issue governments need to address urgently. Depaul was born out of the Passage Day Centre in Victoria, London. It started as a Vincentian partnership between the Daughters of Charity, the Society of St Vincent de Paul and the Passage Day Centre itself, as a response to the growing number of young people on the streets of London in the late 1980s. It serves 20,000 homeless people each year across seven countries and partners with DePaul University to run the Institute of Global Homelessness, in Chicago. Mark McGreevy OBE, is the current Group Chief Executive.
The Daughters of Charity or Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent De Paul, which up to 1985 provided five establishments for children and the disabled in Scotland, has admitted there had been physical, sexual, and emotional abuse at Scottish orphanages run by the Daughters at Smyllum Park (closed in 1981) and Bellevue House (closed in 1961). "The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, which is investigating allegations of abuse against children in care across Scotland, heard from former residents at the Smyllum Park home, who described suffering beatings, sexual and emotional abuse and mistreatment." When opened, the aim was to support homeless Catholic children from Scotland.
Given all the reports of people trafficking and the part played by politicians and charities in the abuse of particularly children, it is hoped that DuPaul International employs stringent safeguarding protocols to prevent such and that lessons have been learned from the Scottish experience, as indeed the Country must from the Covid debacle. However the lessons may not always tally with those promulgated from those with reforming zeal. Nor are the motivations, justifications and apologies necessarily always as genuine and transparent as those stated. If nothing else, Cummings' assessment of the machinery of government at the very top, suggested chaos and confusion rather than conspiracy, which many suspect. But in a nation battered and bruised by policy emanating from the top, it is unlikely to have inspired much confidence in the process or participants.
Dominic Cummings tells MPs Johnson ‘unfit’ to be PM Cummings Covid criticism: Who’s telling the truth? - BBC Newsnight
Former government advisor Dominic Cummings testifies to joint parliamentary committee – watch live
A false narrative throughout
Mike I am shocked you are so ill-informed about the MHRA 'Yellow Card' statistics but not surprised, because despite 'talkRADIO's more sceptical 'common sense' approach, it is fully in keeping with the MSM's failure to publicise this issue. Your last contributor was right to point out that over 1000 deaths and 800,000 serious adverse effects have been attributed to these 'vaccines' so far. They are in fact not vaccines but novel, experimental, gene altering creations of the pharmaceutical industry. He was also right to point out that by the MHRA's own assessment, these figures are an underestimate by a factor of up to ten. This would mean that perhaps a third of all subjects have experienced significant adverse effects, across a wide spectrum of symptoms, up to and including death! Can you imagine any other consumer product being allowed to continue with this track record? This is NOT an insignificant problem, though you would think it was from the attention it has been given by government (for obvious reasons) and media alike. Nor am I persuaded the toll is acceptable by virtue of the emergency and "the millions of lives saved". This is contentious nonsense as the overwhelming majority, have never been at serious risk of dying from the disease. The fact that the procedure is now being pushed to lower age groups including children, is both reckless and unconscionable. Of course the figures do not even encompass the potential long-term adverse effects, of meddling with the body's natural and sophisticated immune processes. In fact, this has the potential to be the biggest scandal - already stuffed with them - in this torrid affair. Hopefully talkRADIO will update its stance when it next deals with the subject. See: https://coronavirus-yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyPjAfNNA-U