Saturday, May 30, 2020

"Consequences matter"

(The world doesn't really need someone else sounding off about the issue, but still... I've been absolutely incandescent for the last week and need to get this off my chest for my own sanity.)

The thing that infuriated me most about the Dominic Cummings affair wasn't that he flagrantly flouted the lockdown rules - rules that he himself helped to set.

It wasn't even that he then stubbornly refused to do the only decent thing: apologise and resign.

It was the barrage of nonsense, obfuscation and literally incredible lies that he deployed in brazenly insisting that he didn't in fact break the rules, thereby gaslighting the public to add gross insult to injury - and then it was the way that Boris Johnson and Tory ministers parroted his bullshit, claimed he'd satisfactorily explained his actions and urged us all to move on.

Let's be clear: this is about much more than just Cummings, a shadowy unelected puppet-master with a grotesque sense of personal privilege and entitlement. It's about how Johnson and his government have been prepared to trash scientific guidance and (without doubt) sacrifice lives just to save the skin of a single adviser. And, as James Butler has made clear in a searing piece for the Guardian, it's symptomatic of "the sheer openness of political cynicism" and of a system that seems to be corrupt to the core. How can we continue to have any faith in democracy when its representatives can act with impunity and spout blatant lie after blatant lie safe in the knowledge that they can get away with it?

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