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Dominic Cummings

Who’s to blame? The media or Dominic Cummings?

Jonathan Eida
May 27, 2020

According to this account of events, Cummings had not endangered the public and his son was better off as a result, argues Jonathan Eida

Last night the Cummings trial reached its pinnacle. Cummings was sent out to face the wrath of a population led to believe that there was one rule for the elite and another for them. After Cummings set out why he had taken the measures he took, the media lined up it seemed, to shout insults at him, accusing him of thinking that he was more important than everyone else, rather than asking any serious questions. His rebuttal clearly expressed the logical reasoning behind every decision he made which, in my mind, shooed away all claims of Cummings believing he was immune from the law.

However, the real scandal in all of this fiasco has been the role of the media in deliberately misguiding the public, producing stories aimed to bring down the credibility of the Prime Minister and his office. It also seems, with many outlets, that they had some personal vendetta against Cummings, who himself has been hostile to them in the past. In their haste to tarnish the Prime Minister, they seemingly had forgotten to corroborate evidence and went ahead with publishing their stories anyway, without much thought for the consequences. This, quite frankly, amounts to abrogating their responsibility.

For me, the case rested on two key questions: Did Cummings put others in harm's way with his decision? And was his son safer as a result of his actions?

The whole purpose of the lockdown was to ensure that the disease didn't spread. Any action that would compromise this has the right to be scrutinised. Had Dom risked people's health, there would be legitimate questions to answer. Secondly, there had to be a reason for his trip, otherwise he would have been illegitimately flouting the lockdown regulations.

The first media reports suggested that that Dom had failed these two tests. Going TWICE to visit his parents was the original line parroted by the media. There was some vague reference to his son's welfare as an excuse for the first trip, but a second trip for leisure was inexcusable. This was especially infuriating considering so many of us have avoided meeting family because of the lockdown.

Then the media either failed to mention the conditions of his stay at his parents, or at least tucked it away somewhere in the last paragraph so that no-one would see it. Certainly when I was viewing the news, I had been under the impression he had gone to his parents' house, handed over a presumed carrier of the virus and then gone to a room upstairs to isolate. This would have risked the life of his parents and anyone they came into contact with. This was strange at the time, because it seemed Cummings was risking his parents' life by doing this, which would have been a bizarre decision to make.

According to these reports, Cummings would have failed the acid test set above. His son's health was not an issue, because it would have been a recreational trip and he had put others at risk by doing so.

As it turns out, the media had printed legitimately false information about his trip and the conditions he was under when he arrived.

For one thing, there was only one journey to the North. The original story that had been released about Cummings going twice was premised on one woman's claim that she had seen a Cummings lookalike walking around. Vague evidence is an understatement. Cummings said that there would be CCTV evidence to prove he was in London at the time the claim was made. A blatant lie by the press, then!

It also transpired that when the media had said "parents' house", what they actually meant was a massive farm with three separate cottages, half a mile away from any neighbours. Cummings and his family spent their time completely isolated from the rest of his extended family, with food being delivered to their doorstep. There was social distancing at all times, which was not clear from the original reporting.

Cummings clarified that the purpose for his trip was an insurance policy, that if anything had gone wrong for his wife or himself, both of whom had symptoms, then someone would be able to look after his four year old son, an option not available in London. This insurance policy was not needed in the end, but it was understandable why the decision was taken.

There are those who claim that Cummings still should have stayed at home. But imagine the worst case scenario. Dominic and his wife both bed-ridden, perhaps without the ability to move or worse, and a four-year-old child running around unsupervised without anyone to care for his needs. His would have potentially endangered the life of his child. When looking at the situation in this scenario, his choice seems a lot more reasonable.

According to this account of events, Cummings had not endangered the public and his son was better off as a result.

This changed the game. All the outrage from the public, who had been led to believe Cummings thought himself above the law, evidently wasn't true. People's heart-breaking stories about missing funerals and not being there when loved ones died were beside the point. Cummings himself said that he had missed his uncle's funeral due to his adherence to the law.

When the media tried to attack him by asking what new Tory voters in northern seats would think, who now reportedly wanted him to go, Cummings gave the correct response that they 'should not believe everything they read in the newspapers or hear on the TV'. He also said: 'There is understandably anger, but a lot of that anger is based on reports in the media that have not been true. People have shouted at me in the street, "Why did you go back to your parents?", but I didn't do that.'

Amen to that. After the deliberate libels pushed by the media a response like that is entirely becoming. They give as good as they get!

The media have realised their error and are now bending over backwards to nail Cummings for something or other. The Evening Standard have released a piece claiming Cummings may have broken the highway code by driving while his vision was slightly impaired! This reeks of desperation from a media whose reputation has been severely damaged.

Some real introspection is needed in media circles to analyse their own actions, because this is nothing short of a disgrace. However, the self-righteous media are unlikely to do this, and instead, will continue their crusade to destroy those with whom they disagree.

Jonathan is a political commentator. He is also a senior contributor for Turning Point UK and writes articles for Wolves of Westminster. His interests include philosophy and sociology.
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