I usually reserve my political anger for Twitter. But this isn’t political any more. Or at least it shouldn’t be. It’s much bigger than that. And I believe that every single family has many stories that will blow Cummings’ lame and privileged excuses out the water.
I am writing about just one family. My family. A family that has argued about the rules. A family that has differing political and lockdown views. A family that has experienced loss and health scares and loneliness and illness. A family like so many others.
And a family that has, nonetheless, stuck to the rules. Like most of us have.
While Cummings and his family are sharing multiple justifications (read excuses) as to the reason he travelled across the country – from the UK’s hot spot for Coronavirus to the North East where it was announced in late April was home to the highest rate of Coronavirus cases – everybody else has just as many stories to tell. Stories that didn’t cause them to break the rules.
Take my family. Just one family. My mum lives alone. My sister, who also lives alone, has been unwell with painful stomach problems that often flare up following surgery she had as a teenager years ago. My great Aunt passed away alone in hospital from an unrelated illness. My grandma, her sister, who also lives alone, was told by phone of the passing of her only sister. My mum didn’t visit her. My step-son, just 21, had another health scare resulting in scans and blood tests to rule out lymphoma. The closest we got to him was letting him into the back garden to tell us what the doctor said while we stood back, unable to hug and reassure him. And his mum has been in and out of hospital with various serious and chronic health problems during lockdown and he hasn’t been able to see her.
None of us broke the rules.
My parental instinct would have been to invite my boy in for a cuppa and a hug when he was so worried after his doctor’s trip. Instinct hasn’t over-ruled the rules. Because we are doing this for the health of the wider country. Most of us are doing this – whether we like it or not – because these are, simply and very clearly, the rules. Because there’s every chance that, if we were to visit relatives, especially older or vulnerable relatives, that we might be carrying the virus and could pass it on. That we might be spreading it. That we might be responsible for causing somebody to become unwell. To die.
And on the off chance that we might have the virus and are asymptomatic we do not take these risks.
Dominic Cummings and his wife KNEW they had the virus. And did it anyway. Privilege at the expense of the health of the country.
In the words of Babes in Toyland from the first line of their VERY apt song, Bluebell – ‘flies through the air with the greatest disease….’
He has to go.