Here’s why I’m mad about this man’s recklessness. A list:
1. Discounting the largely symbolic power of the monarchy, he’s the most powerful and influential unelected person in the country right now.
2. As someone who taught in the Sixth Form/FE sector when Cummings and Michael Gove were carrying out their ideological, American-flavoured education ‘reforms’ (the left has to reclaim that term from the one-step-forward-two-steps-back thing it has come to mean to the right) that saw my place of work’s workforce decimated due to budget cuts/re-diversion of funds to their pet projects and in part led to me leaving the country for four years to teach abroad, I’ve already had a taste of this man’s arrogance and disregard as a blunt instrument directing public policy.
3. I’m not a massive Brexit person: I would have preferred to stay in, we voted to leave and that’s that. However, this man was a key part of a campaign that was I think best described as ‘shady’. I will give him credit as a campaign organiser-and for the 2019 election that played on the ‘Get Brexit Done’ theme-he’s clearly very good at generating slogans, but that’s about all I would give him credit for.
4. Cummings and his wife were ill around late March/early April. At exactly the same time, firstly my wife and daughter, and then myself, succumbed to illness. We weren’t tested (lack of availability/not important enough), but it led to us observing the government guidelines, self-isolating at home and generally feeling wretched, with various symptoms of Covid-19 (don’t know if it was Corona-but if it wasn’t then I would hate to get it!) and still managing to look after a three-year old (who was less ill than either of us). Not once did we drive the two-and-a-half-hours to my in-laws or the 45 minutes to my parents. I’ve only seen my folks once since the lockdown began-after the restriction on seeing them was lifted, to pick up some belongings from my parents’ house that were otherwise getting discarded-I didn’t even go inside the building. Not once has my daughter seen either set of grandparents during this period.
5. He clearly broke the rules. Even though he sat in on SAGE meetings and was part of the policy-making process with the PM.
6. He originally was an advocate for the ‘herd immunity’ plan which led to a classic British fudge at the start of the lockdown-and which definitely caused a lot of harm.
7. Imagine if we had all done what he did?
8. He thinks the rules don’t apply to him.
9. He’s not ‘just’ some press officer or glorified coat-carrier-he’s the power behind the throne.
10. In an attempt to deflect from this, the government are hammering hard again for a premature reopening of schools, just as it looked like they might be listening (not saying they were, but push-back was having an effect which they seem to be set on overriding now).