NOTCOMICS: A certain Dominic Cummings, special advisor to the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Boris Johnson MP, has been in the news of late. There had been a lot of frustration and hate directed his way. Some, is certainly partisan-based, those on the left of politics taking advantage of being able to give such a figure, so close to the Conservative Prime Minister, a right royal kicking and demanding a scalp. Some of it also from the opposite side, those from within the Conservative Party who see Dominic Cummings as an interloper, an influence on their party and party leader that they really would not want. Before recent events, he was noted for speaking out against the Conservative Party, labelling them as a party that does not care about the weak and the poor. Then there's the media, who gave often been the subject of Dominic Cummings' wrath and who doled our political participation with the media like gold stars in a school classroom. So when he put his rather sizeable head over the paparet, there were lots of people already willing to take aim and fire.
But these are not the groups who are making things unpalatable for Dominic Cummings and those around him to justify his position. It's the mass public, those who did make sacrifices during shutdown, as instructed to by government. Who didn't visit their dying relatives. Who have kept children from grandparents. Who have lived in misery for months and in some cases have paid the highest cost, for the greater good, who have now discovered that one of the architects of these plans breached than most flagrantly, using a loophole designed for family members at risk of abuse to escape their home, to justify driving 260 miles up the motorway, then driving another sixty miles to a beauty spot on his wife's birthday. No one is buying it. Also, remember as Neil Gaiman put it, in America a hundred years is a long time, in Britain a hundred miles is a long way.
Phil Hammond, writing as M.D. for Private Eye magazine has become essential reading in these times, reporting from the frontline of hospitals as he returned to help out, while also reporting from the administrative strata of the NHS. A number of his columns have been made available free on the Private Eye website, He has pinpointed what went wrong and what went right for the UK dealing with the coronavirus better than anyone. He also features heavily in the Private Eye podcast, Page 94, available free in the usual places. He makes one of the most incisive comments at this time. That in the NHS, from the get go, nurses and doctors are encouraged to own up to their mistakes. Accept that, as human beings, they are going to make them. That it is part and parcel for being a healthcare worker. What is important is to own up, make amends, and learn from the experience. That this is drilled into each and everyone working there, these days, that it is seen as part of the learning process and that a far greater misdemeanour is a cover up. He points out that is the exact opposite of what politicians are encouraged to do. Never apologise, never show weakness, bluster through and throw shade on anyone who contradict tweets you. But in this time when politicians are making medical decisions as never before, they are not behaving like doctors do. As a result, they are not learning from their mistakes, and there is no sense of closure over any mistake they make, just the hope that people will get tired of talking about it. Right now, regarding Dominic Cummings, they have not. If anything could change as a result of the current global pandemic, could it be this?