With the current furore over Dominic Cummings and his trip ‘up North,’ the spotlight has gone off others who are deliberately bending the rules to their own advantage.
Take the case of Lord Fox for instance. This Liberal Democrat – that says it all really – peer runs a company of which he is the only employee. The company, which I believe is something to do with advertising has closed down for the duration of the Coronacrisis. All well and good but jolly old Foxy has put himself on the government furlough scheme so that up to eighty percent of his ‘wages’ are being paid for by us, the poor old tax paying public. At the same time, he claims his hundred and sixty two pounds per day for attending the House of Lords, even if he only attends via a video link.
Can this be even vaguely ethical?
Then you have the comedian Steve Coogan who used to delight in having his photograph taken with cabbage-grower Corbyn and lives in a four million pound home. He has put the nine members of his production company plus his gardener and housekeeper on furlough too.
And then of course there are the likes of Branson and other multi millionaires who are using government money to finance their various enterprises during the current crisis. How can this be allowed when so many of us are on the bones of our backsides and trying mainly to stay vaguely solvent?
Why can these people not dip into their own pockets for a while instead of sponging off the rest of us? Perhaps Dominic Cummings’ ‘crime’ is not so serious after all. It certainly is not worth the media time that is being spent on it.
I surely can’t be the only one worried about the health – both mental and physical – of our ‘revered leader.’ He has looked frail, befuddled, exhausted and watery-eyed in his recent appearances. Where has the barnstorming Brexit Bunter gone? I don’t know but we certainly are not seeing him at the moment. Instead we have the nappy-changing, NHS-clapping, overweight and obviously flustered Covid Boris. It’s neither a pretty nor a reassuring sight.
In the Commons, Johnson does not just collapse intellectually under Keir Starmer’s interrogations, he reveals, blustering back, the emotional void that accompanies his incompetence. Has anyone ever paid so many magnificent tributes to the British people, their grit and guts, fortitude and sacrifice, while caring so little about them?
Let’s face it, this Government has a large enough majority for the prime minister to lead decisively. Instead he blows about in the winds of public opinion and media pressure, facing first this way and then that, his pronouncements as chaotic as his general appearance.
The daily press briefings are becoming superfluous too, the graphs predictable and the message reduced to an ad man’s jingle. If I am told one more time that we are currently on alert level four but that because we have all been such good children and so damned well-behaved, we will soon move to level three, I shall be inclined to resort to an outburst of profanity. Let’s save the hearty self congratulations till this epidemic is behind us damnit.
Meanwhile, the Government has so thoroughly succeeded in scaring people that many are too afraid to go to work or send their children to school. No wonder. Standing in front of the flag and intoning a daily death rate, ministers have created panic among the impressionable.
Suppose they did that for winter flu or some other disease that hits us regularly? Life would be just one long panic. None of us expect the government to perform miracles so why on earth do they keep on with these ridiculous briefings? This is a new pandemic and some mistakes were made and still will be made, but I think we all expect firm leadership from the prime minister. That is something we are not getting.
At the moment, Bunter is still standing by Dominic Cummings and insisting that the man acted legally and ‘with integrity.’ However, given BJ’s record of consistency, I reckon Mr Cummings should start clearing his desk.