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Boris Johnson’s and Dominic Cummings’ very public fallout

Written By: - Date published: 10:54 am, April 27th, 2021 - 17 comments
Categories: boris johnson, uk politics - Tags:

Over in the UK Boris Johnson and his former chief advisor Dominic Cummings have had a very public fallout.  And ever since it happened there have been very public leaks of damaging information which incredibly have not as yet damaged the Conservative Party’s standing.

The allegations include some doozies.  Like the claim that Johnson said just before the second Covid lockdown that they should just let the bodies pile high.  Reflecting the nature of the Conservative Party there was an intense debate at the time about whether business interests should outweigh public health interests.

The Guardian provides this detail:

… Johnson’s alleged comments were supposedly made after he felt corralled into agreeing to a four-week lockdown in November, months after it was recommended by Sage scientists to curb soaring coronavirus cases. He apparently warned he would never again back another national lockdown.

There have been the usual denials from Downing Street but one gets the very strong impression that something not dissimiliar may have been said.

Another damaging leak involves the release of texts between Johnson and billionaire James Dyson who had been privately lobbying Johnson for beneficial tax changes so that Dyson’s companies could mass produce intubators.  Johnson apparently told Dyson that he would sort it so that Dyson employees who travelled to the UK as part of the plan would not have to pay extra tax.  Cummings has denied responsibility for the leak.  There has been an unholy briefing and counter briefing campaign ever since.

A third embarrassing revelation involved a claim that tory donors were paying for a refurbishment of the living quarters at 10 Downing Street.  Again from the Guardian:

Cummings said he had warned Johnson about renovations to his Downing Street flat costing a reported £58,000, for which the prime minister had allegedly sought outside funding from Conservative supporters.

He wrote: “I told him I thought his plans to have donors secretly pay for the renovation were unethical, foolish, possibly illegal and almost certainly broke the rules on proper disclosure of political donations if conducted in the way he intended… I refused to help him organise these payments.”

Cummings said Johnson had stopped speaking to him about the issue in 2020 after he said this, adding: “I would be happy to tell the cabinet secretary or Electoral Commission what I know concerning this matter.”

Cummings has his own issues to deal with.  Including a claim that he ensured that a lucrative research contract was awarded to associates of his.

He has responded by posting this post on his blog and by offering to appear as a witness in Parliament.  Describing the Prime Minister’s behaviour in relation to the lockdown as “mad and totally unethical” is more than a little unusual.

Meanwhile the Conservatives are still riding high in the polls with the latest Opinium poll suggesting a 44 – 33 lead over Labour.  But four out of 10 voters think that Boris Johnson and the Conservative party are corrupt.  It is not easy to reconcile these findings.

This is going to spiral out of control for a while.  But the United Kingdom’s recent success at suppressing Covid and rolling out the vaccines may save them.  At least for now.

17 comments on “Boris Johnson’s and Dominic Cummings’ very public fallout ”

  1. Sabine 1

    is that like the super league? Another storm in a teapot to not talk about real issues in England err UK.

  2. Ad 2

    I am particularly impressed with the lack of on-ground support the UK is showing India right now.

    The interesting moral mountain to climb is in a successful vaccine rollout nation like the UK in questions of stockpiling and resource hoarding, while India's death toll heads for 665,000 by August unless transmission decreases and hospitals get resourced.

    http://www.healthdata.org/sites/default/files/files/Projects/COVID/2021/163_briefing_India_8.pdf

    It's like a time-compressed animation of capitalist 1%-er hoarding versus 99%-er scrabbling.

    Boris can rightly claim local victory, but may well be saddled with global defeat.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.1

      India has its own large scale vaccine production ( it does a lot of western pharma now), could be above 2.5 mill per day

      Top Indian Covid vaccine makers

      • SII Covishield, Novavax
      • Bharat Biotech Covaxin, CoraVax
      • Biological E Johnson & Johnson
      • Zydus Cadila ZyCoV-D
      • Hetero Biopharma Sputnik V
      • Dr Reddy's Lab Sputnik V
      • Sabine 2.1.1

        and it has been calling on the US to stop hoarding hte raw materials that are needed to make the vaccines.

        but the US is the 'most affected country by covid' :

        It is in the world's interest that Americans are vaccinated and the US has to first to take care of the requirements of its own people, State Department spokesperson Ned Price has said about Washington's restrictions on exporting raw materials for making the Covid-19 vaccines.

        Asked at his briefing on Thursday if President Joe Biden's administration had made a decision on the requests made from India to lift the ban on the export of vaccine raw materials to India, Price said bluntly, "We have a special responsibility to the American people."

        i guess someone told that idiot that hte US ain't save in a world that is overrun with various types of covid mutations inclusive the one from India.

        New York, April 26

        In a break from the America First policy, President Joe Biden's administration is "working round the clock" to immediately send India raw material needed for making Covishield and other products needed in the fight against the COVID-19 surge overtaking the nation, according to National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

        Recalling the assistance sent by India to the US in the early phase of the pandemic last year, he told India's National Security Adviser Ajit Doval in a phone call on Sunday that "the United States is working around the clock to deploy available resources and supplie", Sullivan's Spokesperson Emily Horne said.

        yep, that 'America first ' did not go down well it seems cause yesterday – and please realise that the Us is again the last to do the right thing.

        https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/25/us-to-give-india-raw-materials-for-vaccines-medical-supplies-to-fight-covid.html

        The announcement comes on the heels of a Sunday call between Biden National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Sullivan “affirmed America’s solidarity with India, the two countries with the greatest number of Covid-19 cases in the world,” according to a readout of the call.

        The U.S. response comes after Britain, France and Germany pledged aid to India over the weekend.

        So all the factories and companies won't do you any good if you don't have the raw materials, or the right to use the patent without paying. Never mind tha tfor example the Pfizer vaccine is coming from a german team that developped that vaccine with an injection of 450 million by the German government. https://fortune.com/2020/11/09/pfizer-vaccine-funding-warp-speed-germany/

        But then we can't release the patent cause how would Pfizer and hte others make money? right

        https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00863-w

        so yeah, its just that India can't or won't? I let you decide.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 2.1.1.1

          India is producing 7 different vaccines already, according to BBC

          Do you think Pfizers vaccine which requires -70C storage is a good extra option for India ?

          • Ad 2.1.1.1.1

            Yes. They need more.

            • ghostwhowalksnz 2.1.1.1.1.1

              They should have had a second lockdown too …but didnt.

              The 1st was 21 days back in late March. Like Trump and Johnson, they gambled and lost as its 'too late' now

              • Ad

                Blame as you describe is the very darkest instinct in human nature to avoid assisting people in desperate need, and in no way releases rich nations like the UK from assisting India in this crisis.

                • ghostwhowalksnz

                  Yet you are happy to play the blame game above where it suits you.

                  India has a very advanced pharmaceutical industry and has developed its own vaccine Covaxin in which the patent is held by the government and licensed to more than one manufacturer.

                  Maybe some people have visions of a place the visited in the 80s which doesnt exist like that anymore

                  • ghostwhowalksnz

                    I see that India has administered 138 million vaccine doses way up there with the biggest western countries, but their need is so huge and situation so dire that increasing the numbers vaccinated is a challenge when nurses are needed in hospitals etc.

                    No doubt a few will just wave their hand to make it go away

          • Sabine 2.1.1.1.2

            no I am saying that the Pfizer vaccine was paid for by Germany and thus not be considered 'property' of the US.

            Also i would assume that the indians are asking for raw materials that also can be used in other vaccines.

            But then hey, lets blame India, cause surely we are all safer when individual countries fuck up, and in this case it was not even the people that fucked up, it was their grand Poopah Modi with his 'no restrictions rallies' and his ok'ing a festival that would bring millions from all over. So yeah, India, needs any option, and if you think that Indias pharmaceutical producing companies don't have the cooling rooms / fridges required, then i must beleive that you are a bit behind to the country India is today. Modern, busy and quite capable.

            Also, a lot of our services come from India, so just don't call call centres. You might not get your call answered.

            • Incognito 2.1.1.1.2.1

              no I am saying that the Pfizer vaccine was paid for by Germany and thus not be considered ‘property’ of the US.

              You’re correct that US Government did not fund the Pfizer vaccine. However, other than that, your assertion is grossly misleading.

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    The Brits do love their tories…Boris included it seems, would a proportional voting system of some kind sort that out? There was certainly a huge wasted vote under FPTP in 2019.

    At risk of too much information, those interested might wrap your heads around this from the Electoral Reform Society (there are succinct summaries to go with the figures).
    https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/latest-news-and-research/publications/the-2019-general-election-voters-left-voiceless/#sub-section-42

    One problem as I see it is that regardless of STV/FPTP, UK Labour is loaded to the gunwales with right opportunist monetarists of all stripes. There was a membership surge for a while under Jeremy Corbyn but these parties, as is NZ Labour, are electoral machines and Parliamentary creatures foremost, not the class left activist organisations the working class could do with in these times.

    • McFlock 3.1

      The English will go proportional over the Conservatives' dead body.

      At a broad philosophical level, democracy is the antithesis of plutocracy. The party of the ruling class does not want more representation for poor people, be they Greens, socialists, or even the handy footsoldiers of the poor right (one might want them in the streets breaking strikes, but they should never be able to force their way to a seat at the table).

      On the UK level, the tories and Labour will lose a bit of ground to smaller parties who can push the monolith parties in their desired direction. And if the monolith parties don't adapt to the changing times, they'll lose a lot of ground to the smaller parties eager to take their place.

    • Sanctuary 3.2

      England has the worst media, especially the print media, of any developed country and at times they resemble the state media of a tinpot dictatorship. With 90% of it is owned by three reactionary and rapacious billionaires, the English popular press is a triumph of capitalism's race to the bottom.

      The "high brow" publications and the free to air TV stations are dominated by elite university graduates and have writers who typically are intertwined with an almost incestuous web of social connections across the political divide, they a London centric and saturated by the professional middle class.

      Which is all to say that what is fuelling a lot of this carry on is a bun fight between rival newspaper sources. Cummings is leaking to one lot, Boris Johnson to another lot and they in a vicious cat fight over who has the more reliable sources. That makes this factional fight rather damaging for the Tories, at least in the short term because they can usually rely on 90% of print media to support them all the time and a huge chunk of other media almost all of the time.

  4. ghostwhowalksnz 4

    The living quarters were at 11 Downing street (previously for Chancellor) , not 10. Its a bigger flat on upper floors.

    Number 12 was supposed to be residence of Chief Whip but now used as 'Number 10' media office. They are all interconnected now

    This what it looked like with Cameron, but seems to not be posh enough

  5. Chris 5

    "Meanwhile the Conservatives are still riding high in the polls with the latest Opinium poll suggesting a 44 – 33 lead over Labour. But four out of 10 voters think that Boris Johnson and the Conservative party are corrupt. It is not easy to reconcile these findings."

    It's very easy to reconsile these findings. Many conservatives value having a conservative government over a non-corrupt government. There'd also be some that like corrupt convervative governments because they further their interests.

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