Stephen Daisley

Boris Johnson’s support for Cummings is really a defence of the elite

Boris Johnson's support for Cummings is really a defence of the elite
Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
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It’s not often a politician calls a press conference to sneer openly at the voters but Boris Johnson has always done things his own way. The Prime Minister’s performance this afternoon was a careful, considered declaration of contempt at all those chumps stupid enough to obey the rules he laid down for them. They thought those regulations applied to everyone, regardless of position or connections? What rubes.

Addressing Dominic Cummings’ freewheeling interpretation of lockdown guidelines, the Prime Minister said: ’I believe that in every respect he has acted responsibly, legally and with integrity, and with the overriding aim to stopping the spread of the virus and saving lives.’

I don’t think for a minute that Johnson believes his adviser was trying to halt the spread of Covid-19, but nor I do think he was lying. A lie is an attempt to deceive and the Prime Minister doesn’t care enough to make the effort. He has decided that he needs the man who devised his Brexit strategy and election campaign and who is now virtually co-Prime Minister. It doesn’t matter whether the punters reckon Dom did the right thing or the wrong thing (they very much think the latter) because what they reckon doesn’t come into it.

This is how elites operate. Rules are for the ruled, not the rulers. The little people have to stay at home, keep their kids away from granny, and see their small businesses tank. Not the clique, though. They are clever enough to slip and slither between the terms and conditions that bind everyone else and valuable enough that, even if they do get caught, they will be shielded from the consequences.

Think I’m being unfair? Confident Boris would view similar actions in a similar light if taken by an ordinary punter? Fair enough. I’m not one to counsel law-breaking but if the Prime Minister says it’s okay to disregard lockdown as long as you believe your reason is really good, then go ahead and disregard lockdown. You may not face the same scenario that Cummings faced but you judge what’s best for you and your family, just like he did. Go down the pub, take the kids to the seaside, or drive to your parents’ house. Don’t worry if you or someone else in your household is symptomatic. Follow your ‘instincts’, not the rules. And if the police hand you a fine, forward it to Downing Street. Boris will sort it for you.