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COVID-19 and the state of politics (Read 30355 times)

TobyD

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And Cummings now caught breaking (quite clearly) the travel / isolation rules six weeks ago to his parents in Durham... possibly whilst symptomatic - and with one of his kids...

Reported and spoken to by the police at the time.

In normal times - with a normal government heíd be walking the plank right now. My money is on nothing happening....

Of course he won't go, and probably won't comment or apologize.
Some, are apparently more equal than others in the new levelling up utopia


Oldmanmatt

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Offwidth

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I find it extremely difficult to believe that anti vaxers are really so isolated from reason. It's not as though the benefits of vaccination aren't known widely, massively publicised and repeated endlessly.
There are valid reasons for making decisions or holding views many might disagree with, but crap like vaccine scepticism and the 5G /CV19 conspiracy is utterly idiotic. I really don't think there's much excuse for it.

It's not that simple. The biggest issue in the UK was a doctor linking the triple vaccine with autism.

We have all sorts of growing popularist beliefs that at face value look idiotic but I think must be due to clever propaganda and a decline in public trust for the most reliable news sources. It was scary enough when I was a young man and the Scum Excess and Fail were the biggest selling UK papers.

I'll give another unrelated example. There was a news story in the winter about a kid being left on the floor in Leeds A& E. Soon after lots of social media posts called it out as a scam. The evidence showed it was true and that was made clear on mainstream news. That day one of my father in law's carers commented on this. I laughed and said it turned out when the BBC journalists talked to hospital staff it was that the scam posts were the scam. The next day she "proved' it was a scam and her co worker agreed. After the long weekend it was clear all 6 carers were convinced it was still a scam. Wider conversations over the years repeated similar problems from bullshit Brexit memes to vaccine concerns. These were all  kind, able, hard working, busy, normal people with highly complex lives that but for Neil's stroke I would never have had a chance to talk to. I now feel a bit ashamed using labels about the popularist views of such people. They are not idiots, just misinformed. I've met enough genuine idiots  (including well educated ones) and racists and cunts to know what is going on with popularism is bigger and more insidious.

mrjonathanr

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Where you get your news from is the biggest thing. I would not be surprised if  Facebook was their source.
Targeting confirmation bias is an art. Digital tools make it powerful. Just ask VoteLeave/CambAnalytica/Cummings/Thiel/Palantir/Putin and so on. Should Ben Warner be in that list? :-\

Offwidth

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The carers mostly got theirs from shared social media and in the background from bland BBC TV news. I think this is a serious problem for the future of the UK  (and even more so for the US).

petejh

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Iím not sure whatís worse about this - the fact he quite clearly wonít resign (despite Ferguson having to do so for a much lesser infringement), or that the BBCís political editor is on Twitter directly defending him quoting an Ďunnamed sourceí again. If ever there was any doubt about her independence. The whole thing fucking stinks.

See Toby's link:

''the guidelines are helpfully unspecific and vague on this issue. They are clear in that people who have symptoms should self-isolate: you are not breaking the rules if you travel to provide care for someone else, but you are breaking the rules if you travel to receive it. (Had his parents travelled to him they would have been within the rules Ė travelling to them is a different matter.''
But there is an (unhelpfully vague) get out clause in the governmentís guidelines for people with children. The guidance states:
ďIf you are living with children. Keep following this advice to the best of your ability, however, we are aware that not all these measures will be possible. What we have seen so far is that children with coronavirus (COVID-19) appear to be less severely affected. It is nevertheless important to do your best to follow this guidance.Ē
)


Neil Ferguson - clearly breaking lockdown twice, for a shag with his lover.
Cummins family - possibly breaking lockdown, to have their kids looked after by the grandparents while they self-isolated with symptoms.

I couldn't give a shit either way. But on the face of it and if you're able to drop politics and instead look at the two examples impartially, the first example is a far more trivial, self-indulgent reason to break lockdown than the second.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2020, 12:00:23 pm by petejh »

tomtom

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A. Fergusson. Advisor on government panel of 20+ scientists. After self isolation over visits lover twice - nearby.

B. Cummings. Closest advisor to the PM. Whilst He and his wife are symptomatic drives 260 miles with their 5 year old child - to visit his elderly parents and family for childcare whilst they are ill.

Two wrongs donít make a right etc... and Cummings behaviour - and how the Tory wagons have circled to protect him will stick in the craw of many who have followed guidelines to the letter.

I wonder if the #10 Ďcover upí will end up being worse than whatever Cummings did.

petejh

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You can frame each case in the way that most fits your outlook TT.
For e.g. you can emphasise Fergusson being 'nearby' if you want, while emphasising that Cummins 'drove 260 miles'.
Or, you can emphasise 'driving 260 miles is irrelevant if you're in a metal bubble and aren't stopping' - as other intelligent people have done in the various climbing threads - while emphasising that 'nearby' is worse if you're contacting other people.

I honestly couldn't give a shit. All I'm interested in is a bit of objectivity. Just going on the surface of what's known about the two cases, to say that twice breaking lockdown to go out and shag your married lover is 'a much lesser infringement' than taking your kids to be looked after whilst both parents are self-isolating with covid, is clearly false. If more facts emerge I'd changed my view.

mrjonathanr

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Scientist, apolitical. Not infected. Liaison at home.

 Political appointee resident in number 10. Travels to a distant region whilst infected with Covid.

If you look at this impartially, there is no comparison. When you are involved in formulating rules for UK you have to follow them.


petejh

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Whichever way you spin it 'Liaison at home' is the same as 'self-isolating at home' - both cases involved people from outside the household visiting somebody else's household. This should be obvious.

From a transmission point of view the distance is irrelevant if you're not using public transport or stopping. Without more details it's pretty hard to make more of a case than that. Details such as did the Cummins have contact with the grandparents or did they self-isolate in a separate part of the house? Were the kids tested and came back negative? Without knowing, hard to judge.

The difference between them are the motivation for breaking the rules. In one case it was self-indulgent: for a shag (twice), in the other case it was for childcare. The guidance gives leeway for travelling for childcare issues (see the caveat wording), it doesn't give leeway for breaking lockdown (twice) to shag your married lover.

I'd imagine there may be more sympathy for the childcare excuse but maybe I'm wrong. I wouldn't be surprised to see him have to go, nor would I be surprised if he doesn't. Couldn't really give a shit either way - I'm more interested in my ancap levels being a bit rubbish at the moment.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2020, 01:33:21 pm by petejh »

mrjonathanr

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The difference between them are the motivation for breaking the rules.

This is nonsense. The virus doesn't care about your motivations. The rules are to protect the public in a pandemic, behaviour is the issue. Morality and motive are irrelevant.

Ferguson's behaviour meant he had to go. He was involved in the process whereby rules were formulated but didn't follow them.

With Cummings there is a major difference- he has a role central to formulation of policy, making him unfit for it. Whilst infected (!) he went to another part of the country in defiance of the lockdown. Distance is important in a pandemic because of seeding infection. It's why we have not been allowed to drive; the guidance explicitly prohibited it.

You can contort as much as you like, but Cummings' behaviour, in view of the standards by which others have been judged, means he has to go. Whether he will is down to politics.

petejh

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Motivation clearly isnít nonsense in the theatre of public opinion - which is the context for whether or not he goes (and is the currency in which people deal on this thread - not objective facts).

I agree motivation is irrelevant to how a virus behaves. If only we were all as objective as covid19.

And youíre still not acknowledging that one case clearly broke the rules (twice), while the other case - based on whatís known so far - possibly involves bending the rules as per the caveat published in the guidance. Very different.
Whether you or I think they (the family) were wrong to do so is the realms of public opinion. But the fact is that according to the guidance it looks like they may have operated within it.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2020, 02:14:42 pm by petejh »

teestub

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Somehow it would seem fitting for Cummings to go, despite not having actually 'broken the rules'. It would form a fitting coda for how he's spent his time in politics: doing things within the law but outside of the spirit of the insitiutions.

TobyD

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I have absolutely no liking for Dominic Cummings but I entirely agree with Pete. That's why I posted the link. Stephen Bush is hardly a government supporter.  Laura Kuenesberg was only making the same point, although I've not looked at her twitter feed. Cummings will obviously get away with it, it is less frivolous than either of the other figures who have resigned, although he won't care anyway.
A certain body of opinion might suggest that actually neither him nor his wife, a Spectator editor, actually had it. After all if you had symptoms could you drive 260 miles? Or if you thought everyone in Whitehall had it might you just get the f*ck out of there to save your own skin? They're both obviously pretty wealthy. Getting a nanny for childcare would have been the work of a moment. I'd be surprised if they didn't already have one as they both work full time. Total speculation and not that it matters.

Offwidth, I understand your point, I think there might be a difference to how we are thinking the word idiot labels someone. I'm not saying there's any malign intent, but I'd contend that if you get your news on Facebook, you're an idiot, though not necessarily s bad person, and none of your opinions will be well formed.


ali k

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I honestly couldn't give a shit. All I'm interested in is a bit of objectivity.
It’s funny how often your attempts to defend this govt are accompanied by this same caveat Pete.

Quote
Just going on the surface of what's known about the two cases, to say that twice breaking lockdown to go out and shag your married lover is 'a much lesser infringement' than taking your kids to be looked after whilst both parents are self-isolating with covid, is clearly false.
Ferguson didn’t go out though, did he?

As for Cummings, if he was acting within the guidelines and just “taking care of his wife and young child” (as several members of the cabinet have now said) then why did No 10 refuse to say at the time where he was when he was self-isolating, despite being asked numerous times? If he was doing nothing wrong there was no need to be so cagey was there? In fact, knowing that hundreds or thousands of families across the country might be in a similar situation and facing the same choice the govt could have taken it as an opportunity to use his example to clarify what the rules were so those families could also “do the right thing” (Cummings’ words) and make sure their children were looked after properly. But the govt didn’t, did they? They just covered it up, hoped it would go unnoticed, falsely denied the family had been spoken to by the police, and are now trying to brazen it out.

What he did originally, and whether it was or wasn’t an infringement of the govt’s own lockdown rules is fairly trivial compared with the fact that No 10 knew about this at the time and rather than being honest with the public they chose to cover it up. But that’s basically the modus operandi of this govt, isn’t it?

Edit: Forgot to mention the article his wife wrote for The Spectator about their experience self-isolating which conveniently made no mention of them being in Durham but does say that his son brought Cummings Ribena in bed when he was ill, which somewhat goes against the claim that him and his wife lived completely separately from the rest of the family during their time there.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2020, 04:37:59 pm by ali k »

Oldmanmatt

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Motivation clearly isnít nonsense in the theatre of public opinion - which is the context for whether or not he goes (and is the currency in which people deal on this thread - not objective facts).

I agree motivation is irrelevant to how a virus behaves. If only we were all as objective as covid19.

And youíre still not acknowledging that one case clearly broke the rules (twice), while the other case - based on whatís known so far - possibly involves bending the rules as per the caveat published in the guidance. Very different.
Whether you or I think they (the family) were wrong to do so is the realms of public opinion. But the fact is that according to the guidance it looks like they may have operated within it.

If (if) people keep coming forward, stating that he has been seen left, right and Chelsea and this Guardian article is only half true and (if) we assume the official police statement isnít, as the government insist, a lie (sorry, they said confusion, my bad. Sounded like they meant ďlieĒ though, didnít it?), then heís guilty.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/may/23/new-witnesses-cast-doubt-on-dominic-cummingss-lockdown-claims?CMP=fb_gu&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook#Echobox=1590259080

petejh

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I honestly couldn't give a shit. All I'm interested in is a bit of objectivity.
Itís funny how often your attempts to defend this govt are accompanied by this same caveat Pete.


Ali, I'm not interested in defending any government tory or labour. I'm interested in what's true and what's bullshit, and you're talking bullshit because you're biased. That to me is the bigger crime because it means what you say can't be taken at face value, which I think is a pretty sad state. You were talking shit because, from the facts you were aware of, you were incorrect to say that a person who twice broke lockdown to fuck his lover was a lesser infringement than someone who was acting within the caveats published in the covid guidance.
If, as Matt points out from an article published at 7.30pm this evening, more facts emerge that Cummins is talking shit then you'd end up being correct, but you'd have arrived at that point not by basing your opinion on facts.

ali k

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Pete - have you read the article his wife wrote in The Spectator magazine many weeks ago? Either she was lying in that, or the statement put out by No 10 earlier today (and associated quotes from Ďa source close to Cummingsí last night) was a pack of lies. Someone is lying, and that was clear long before these new witnesses came forward tonight. Thatís how I Ďarrived at that pointí - basing my opinion on the statements of two of the people involved in the story (facts, you could call them), statements which were contradictory.

JohnM

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I get the feeling that most people who voted for the Tories and/or Brexit are pretty ambivalent towards Dominic Cummings and don't really care what he does (or even know who he is) but on the other side they shout and get worked up about everything he does but this doesn't really penetrate the bubble of people who don't care. If that makes sense!

tomtom

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I wonder how many other ministers, MPís (both sides) and others are now worried... More will emerge Iím sure.

Cummings canít have done this without it being sanctioned or people knowing. Heíll have a security detail of some sort I would have thought...

mrjonathanr

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Don't stay at home; Don't protect the NHS; Don't save lives.

That was the slogan, wasn't it?

TobyD

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Pete - have you read the article his wife wrote in The Spectator magazine many weeks ago? Either she was lying in that, or the statement put out by No 10 earlier today (and associated quotes from Ďa source close to Cummingsí last night) was a pack of lies.

The Spectator article is clearly all made up anyway since she talked about being in London at the end of their isolation.

I really dislike Cummings, I voted remain, and for the Green party, but Pete is right here. You can just about get away with what Cummings did but not what Ferguson did. I thought Ferguson was a sad loss as an advisor. I'd like nothing better than to see the back of Cummings, but I'm going to have to suck that up, he's clearly not going anywhere, unless he turns out to have been murdering nurses and storing them in his cellar or something.

mrjonathanr

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You can just about get away with what Cummings did

I think that may depend on who ďyouĒ are. If you are one of the little people, maybe not.

Susan Michie (quote from the guardian:
Quote
University College London professor Susan Michie, a member of Sage, told Sky News there was no question that what Cummings had done broke the guidance. ďIt appears that three rules have been broken. One is leaving the house when youíre symptomatic, another is travelling far distances and staying overnight elsewhere, and the third is having a person Ė in this case a child Ė go from one household to another household. The problem about having different rules for different people is that it breaks the trust of the people in those who are issuing the guidelines.Ē


The point about not moving about when you suspect you may be infectious is a serious one. If you infect others, downstream, people are going to die. Thatís a serious as it gets.

Cummings behaviour is far worse than Fergusonís (and that was bad) because he recklessly travelled  when he and his wife had cause to suspect they were infectious. The idea that no one in London could have done for them what they claim they needed his parents to do is spurious. Top govt adviser canít get home help in the capital? Not credible.

You questioned whether he could really be ill if they could drive to Durham, Toby. It isnít relevant. Infections caught from asymptomatic carriers can kill too.

The hypocrisy makes his position in any normal sense untenable. Whether he goes depends on public opinion.

Itís a bit more serious than just basic ethics though. Many people have suffered because they have applied the lockdownís strictures to themselves for the greater good. People have gone without seeing family, when Cummings didnít. People have kept away from support, when Cummings didnít. People have left isolated family members alone; refrained from visiting elderly parents in care homes, including when they knew they were dying; left family to die alone hospital, exercising enormous discipline and restraint. When Cummings didnít.

Collectively, we saved lives by denying ourselves basic liberties. When Cummings didnít.

Itís not just that people will be angry. Itís that for the virus to be controlled we have to have discipline. When someone  as high profile as he is breaks the rules, a lot of other people will too.

Thatís why Calderwood and Ferguson had to go. That is why Cummings has to go too.


Edit: blooming autocorrect, misspelling basic words
« Last Edit: May 23, 2020, 11:41:22 pm by mrjonathanr »

seankenny

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The day Dad died we said our last words to him through a doctorís phone covered in plastic.

At his funeral I saw my auntieís eyes full of pain as Dadís coffin rolled to the flames, but I couldnít hug her.

All immensely painful, and all the right thing to do.

What Cummings has done is a gross, gross insult to those of us whoíve lost loved ones in this. If he turned up at my house Iíd break his fucking nose and happily go to court for it.

 

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