Unelected political aide takes top billing in Downing Street as PM closes ranks
Originally published by East Suffolk Liberal Democrats
A QUESTION OF TRUST AND CONFIDENCE IN PUBLIC HEALTH ADVICE
Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain?" Mr. Weasley to Ginney― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Monarchs, Presidents and Prime Ministers throughout the ages have always kept their trusted advisers close. Some rose to prominence, some plotted to usurp, but mostly they operated in the shadows. Citizens have always been aware of powerful forces 'behind the throne' ready to do their master's bidding or in more recent times 'spinning the message'. In recent times, few have stepped outside their designated role without risking their prestigious and privileged position or in earlier centuries losing their heads.
So what special qualities and talents has the current incumbent in the Downing Street back office exhibited to achieve his very own Press Conference in the PM's Rose Garden in the midst of the global pandemic and become the lead story.
It is clear that having achieved electoral success via the EU Referendum and General Election this individual has become indispensable to the PM. Johnson is going to do everything in his power to retain the services of a man who appealed for 'weirdos' and 'misfits with odd skills" to help bring new ideas to Britain's government, helped PM Johnson to rid himself of Chancellor Sajid Javid and allegedly supported 'herd immunity' as a response to Covid-19.
Today, PM Johnson attempted to close ranks as politicians across the divide condemned the actions of an individual who seemingly ignored his own government's lock down instructions to stay at home and save lives. In a desperate attempt to quell the growing unrest, Johnson mobilised the entire machinery of Downing Street to defend a unelected political adviser and all Ministers were asked to tweet support for the political aide today.
In a joint letter from six Opposition leaders, Ed Davey Acting Lib Dem Leader called for the PM's adviser to be relieved of his post without further delay. (Labour Leader, Sir Keir Starmer did not sign the letter)
In an earlier tweet Ed Davey called for Boris Johnson to sack Mr Cummings. He wrote, "When the PM's top adviser ignores the government's instruction to the public not to engage in non-essential travel he has to leave office. Immediately."
Sky News reported that Durham County Council's Liberal Democrat opposition leader Amanda Hopgood said thst she had written to Durham police's chief constable Jo Farrell asking for an investigation into Mr Cummings after "a number" of locals reported seeing him in the county. It is understood that the Durham Constabulary is now conducting an investigation into the events.
What is clear is that the nation was facing the biggest crisis since the last World War and a full lock down was in place across the country. The nation was facing a major health crisis of an order that few will have ever experienced. Thousands were to face the death of family members, front line staff were confronting a new virulent disease for which there is no cure, often without adequate protection. They and many other lowly paid key workers were to lose trusted colleagues and loved ones in the weeks to come. As fear and anxiety grew, families were experiencing the hardship of being separated from loved ones, workers were laid off, incomes depleted, businesses closed and normal activity suspended. The majority of the country, regardless of age, gender, class or status responded immediately to the call to protect the NHS and stay at home. Everyone that is except one highly privileged individual at the centre of government.
18 March: At his Downing Street briefing the PM said: "Children should not be left with older grandparents, or older relatives, who may be particularly vulnerable or fall into some of the vulnerable groups."
22 March: Government advice is that people must remain in their primary residence and not travel to their second homes: "Leaving your home - the place you live - to stay at another home is not allowed."
23 March: Strict lock down rules are imposed which mean people can only leave their houses for essential travel.
Set against these clear instructions, which he may well have had a part in drafting, this individual, apparently lacking any friends, family or support in London, chose to drive his sick wife and young son 260 miles to his parent's family home in Durham without stopping for petrol, food or toilet. Having remained in the area whilst sick he then decided to put his eye sight to the test by driving a further 30 miles to a local beauty spot.
As so often happens in the UK with such cases we may never know the full truth. With the country soon to face the loss of 50,000th life from Covid-19, ( according to ONS figures) many businesses tettering on the brink of extinction with the consequent loss of employment for many, the highly questionable actions of this one individual to defy the lock down has taken centre stage by design or default. The Prime Minister with numerous highly questionable actions to his name too, rather quickly added his fullsome defence without recourse to an independent enquiry and has pulled the shutters down on any further questioning. Teflon-coated he may be, we are still to learn just how indespensable the aide is to Johnson's own survival.