Thanks for reading carefully, SD3. The apology originally referred back to what I considered possibly for some readers an over-severe statement of Johnson’s shortcomings. An earlier draft placed a period after “uncharitable.”—Heaven knows how this whole tragedy of the current government is going to pan out in the UK. Something like a hard Brexit with as much collateral damage along the way as conceivably possible, not least to the EU, is, I believe, Cummings’s destructive vision.
The enormity of successive ministers supporting, shamelessly, like a dumb, organized syndicate, Cummings’s actions comes out most effectively for me in a juxtaposition of theirs tweets with Twitter responses from members of the rule-abiding public who made real sacrifices:
After the health secretary, Matt Hancock, tweeted that it was “entirely right” for Cummings to drive from London to his parents’ house in Durham, Jenny Dee, the director of the Chipping Norton literary festival, wrote in response: “My mum and I accepted that we couldn’t have a funeral for my dad, we accepted that at 86 and newly widowed she must spend months alone – we followed your rules, we were entirely right. Cummings’s actions and your defence of them is entirely wrong.”
The minister for the Cabinet Office, Michael Gove, tweeted a message in support of Cummings which read: “Caring for your wife and child is not a crime.”
It received 20,000 replies, one from Helen Goodman, the former Labour MP for Bishop Auckland. “Michael, I cared for my dad,” she wrote, “but I wasn’t allowed to see him before he died in a Durham care home.”
The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, tweeted: “Taking care of your wife and young child is justifiable and reasonable, trying to score political points over it isn’t.”
Underneath there was a reply from Lesley Hogg of Dunfermline. “Meanwhile in the real world,” she wrote, “I wasn’t officially permitted to be with my dying father as I didn’t live in the same household, my mum was meant to cope with this alone and there could only be 10 (socially distanced) mourners at his funeral. My heart will never, ever mend.”
Many other Twitter users referenced the death of Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab from Brixton. The 13-year-old died in King’s College hospital after testing positive for coronavirus. His family were not allowed to visit him and were also unable to attend his funeral because of self-isolation rules.—A Twitter user called Michelle wrote of the Cummings episode: “This is so wrong on so many levels & the support he’s getting is disgusting! Have they forgotten Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab who was laid to rest without his family because of these rules that everyone else has to follow?”
Unbelievable if it weren’t true.