Letters: He is in public office and needs to be held to account

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Dominic Cummings - REUTERS:Hannah McKay
Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts to the media as he arrives at his home in London. Image: REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Dear editor,

A week on and the dust has settled on a story that has distracted at a time we needed no confusion or distraction. The bare facts are Dominic Cummings panicked.

Like millions of people in this country. However, where some people stock piled pasta and toilet roll, he decided the best place for him and his family was a run down cottage on his parents’ farm.

Both are guilty, both have the right to be pointed and questioned about their actions. Dare I say even mocked for doing so.

My politics do not align with DC, I have to make that very clear. I live in fear that he has as much power and control as he does, given his grip on the zeitgeist and way at times he has manipulated the population.

With that form when he sat down at his garden fete table, (a table that looked like it has held many a community fair attraction in the past), I was wary of how he would play the accusations. I wrote down the options before to form a form of DC bingo.

He’ll play the caring husband/father card ✔️
That he is pivotal to the success of this epidemic ✔️
Make the media the real enemy ✔️
He is sorry for the distress it has caused…

Ah well nearly a full house. Making him seem human and a key part to current situation was the only way he could ride the wave.

He certainly played it with contrition but probably over reached in terms of his knowledge of pandemics when he edited his blog after the fact.

The key thing he had to deliver was he did what he did because of the media. They ran him out of his home and he feared for the safety of his family.

By dropping this in he has lit a well worn fuse of the merciless media. Invading his (social distance) space has been a meme that spread via some far right groups and bots. Wonder where that originated?

The fact is if the media didn’t ask the questions he wouldn’t have given the answers. He is in public office and needs to be held to account.

Batting it away saying ‘some of the accusations are false’ without saying which ones (if any), was a clever way to add more credence to the ‘fake news’ media.

History tells us when governments question the motives of media they are doing so to their own gain. Just google ‘Lügenpresse’ to understand that.

Just because you don’t like what’s being reported doesn’t make it fake – Trump please take note!

There is a difference between journalists asking probing questions in a press conference and hacks camping outside homes in the hope of getting an image of someone emptying their bins in a dressing gown. The latter of which was absent during lockdown.

It is always important to #BeKind and respect individuals, to not demonise, harass and threat. Any public outcry and anger is perfectly understandable but when it turns to threats this is the line that must be drawn.

DC failed to answer questions early on. One of the few regrets he has actually admitted is he didn’t get ahead of it straight away.

This led to the snowball from reasonable debate for tittle tattle tabloid – even the Daily Star who once boasted to never mention Brexit got in on this.

Owning the issue, admitting failings or justifying his actions early on would have actually worked against him. The current situation suits him and feeds the narrative that ‘the media made me do it’.

It seems a very strange card to play considering his wife is employed as a writer for The Spectator (I recommend her latest article about living in London whilst in Lockdown) and one of her former editors is now Dominic Cummings’ boss (Boris Johnson). Oh and DC himself had ‘overall responsibility’ for the website.

Ultimately, this is politics. The set of activities associated with the governance of the country. How can the government continue to handle this situation in the best way they see fit? With who they believe are the best people to handle it.

They have chosen to make it that way by standing by their ‘man’. Any objection of how they are handling the situation is seen as political. Not so much as point scoring but questioning their handling of the situation. It should be allowed to be questioned.

There are few smart people in government these days. So much so they have to hold on to the best people whatever the circumstances. No matter the long term damage, they need to ride this unprecedented time to the very best of their ability.

The one thing remains given the opportunity would I have done the same? More than likely. Does it make it right? No but I’d be very sorry, only drive when I was 100% able to and it wouldn’t be up to me to decide when it’s time to move on.

Many thanks,

Steve Gallagher
Greenkeepers Road
Great Denham

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