Grant Shapps, the Transport Minister was talking the meeting. My goodness the press were all like piranhas. The reason? Dominic Cummings and his visit to Durham. I was watching the news before the briefing started and the presenters were discussing what public reaction was going to be. I really feel that Boris Johnson should have led today's briefing, he is the one who is in charge and really should have been there to try and dodge the bullets. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Grant Shapps returned to his office. Did anyone else watch it?
Yes, I watched it and the one the day before with Priti Patel. I am becoming more and more disillusioned with every one I watch. At first, I used to think the journalists were giving the politicians/scientists a hard time unnecessarily at a time when the country needed to pull together to fight this pandemic. I am now sick of watching the politicians dodge every question that's posed to them by avoiding the actual thing they're being asked and coming out with rhetoric. I confess that I don't like DC - he thrives on being a controversial figure so I think he'd be quite happy to hear me say that. If his side of the story can be be believed, then I am prepared to cut him some slack and say that he made the wrong decision for the right reasons (of course a parent should consider the welfare of their young child) - but it was him who came up with the Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives slogan, however he thinks he is above having to stick to it himself. He has made a rod for his own back which the press and opposition are going to eagerly grasp and hit him with and his arrogance and not giving a monkeys about what anyone thinks is not going to make that stop.
For a start, it's unlikely that they're going to have been able to drive all that way without stopping for a loo break at least - so they risked spreading the virus to anyone else they came into contact with - if the car had broken down or they'd been in an accident then again that would've been risking spread (driving long distance while you are ill is foolish!) - if they'd ended up having to go into hospital while in Durham then they would've been taking up valuable resources in an area which has fewer critical care beds than London, there's so many reasons why what they did was inappropriate. Having said that, he's a slippery sucker and I don't think Boris is strong enough to get rid of him (in fact Boris is conspicuous by his absence - so perhaps his health isn't too great even now).
Another thing about the press conferences is that the split between the science fraternity and the political agenda is becoming evident to see - questions posed to the Minister being thrown over to the scientist to answer, who bats it back because it's something that's actually a policy issue and not a scientific one (eg a question about gatherings the other day, Priti Patel passed it over to Sir Patrick Vallance who pointed out that science proves the more people you mix with, the more likely the spread, but that he couldn't give a definitive number because it's up to the politicians to decide how many people they may be prepared to allow to gather when considering easing the terms of lockdown - the question was not answered but Ms Patel did not give the member of the public who asked it the chance to come back & rapidly moved on to the next journalist's question).
The only other thought I have about this debacle is that Cummings attended SAGE meetings so presumably has a far better knowledge of the facts as they are known about the virus, so do his actions mean that actually telling us all to stay home was known not to be as crucial as we were being told, hence he didn't bother applying the guideline to himself, or because the majority of the public were following what we were told it was ok for the privileged few not to. Seeing someone with such an integral role in managing the pandemic go against their own rules is bound to make more people think it's ok to pick & choose what they want to comply with - time will tell!
This afternoon I think i may give the press conference a miss - sitting in the sunshine will be much better for my health & wellbeing
On dear. Boris has given DC his blessing to travel the length of the country. This is on the strength that his wife had suspected corona virus and they needed child care. It seems that they stayed in a cottage on his family's estate and food was brought to them. Their four year old stayed with them. Other mere mortals have adhered to government rules and stayed at home relying on the kindness of volunteers. Now apparently the rules were only suggestions, not really rules. The mind boggles. Wasn't it DC who came up with the slogan about staying home and saving the NHS. What about all the people who have lost close relatives, elderly parents and children. Not being with them at the end of their lives also not being able to pay proper respects at their funerals. I have heard reports of visits to a bluebell wood also other local areas. I also understand that this visit coincided with his mums birthday. DC has started categorically that he will not resign and Boris is not willing to sack him. This has opened the biggest can of worms. Will this open the floodgates? Our beach was busy yesterday, today it will be heaving. The public toilets are still closed, it doesn't bear thinking about. What a mess the whole situation is a mess.
Sadly the way this guy's actions have been excused will ultimately affect the way other people in the country choose to interpret whatever lockdown measures are in place (now and in the future) and sadly - without trying to sound over-dramatic - lives will be lost as a result.
I am sick of hearing people saying 'common sense' has to come into play - the problem with that is that we all have different views on what's right and what isn't if we use our 'common sense'. For example, if we had something in our fridge which said 'use by' (not best before!) yesterday's date, I wouldn't use it. My 'common sense' tells me that the manufacturer will have done extensive testing to determine how long it was safe to be eaten and if it was going to be ok for days after that 'use by date' then they'd say so, because the supermarkets would want to sell as many of them as possible without having to throw them away. My OH on the other hand would say that it was only a day or so after that date, so if it looks & smells ok, then it's ok to eat it (how he knows what bacteria smells like, I don't know!). In this simple example, we are both using our 'common sense' and coming up with completely different conclusions on what is right .... I'm sure you'll probably have your own view on what you'd do in this situation. In reality, the compromise would probably be he'd eat it, and I wouldn't - he'd be absolutely fine but I wouldn't regret not eating it.
We are all prepared to take different levels of risk, our 'common sense' tells us different things, so in a national emergency we need to have simple rules which everyone needs to abide by, not make it up to suit their own circumstances.
I fear this will rumble on for a while, but Cummings does not have the decency to do the right thing and apologise for an error of judgement (because he is determined he is not in the wrong) or resign and Boris doesn't have the guts to sack him (maybe he knows where the bodies are buried )
It’s an awful situation. I can understand why he did what he did but he still shouldn’t have. I could have gone to see my dad on Monday. My son said he’d come with me and drive but he would have had to stop for petrol. Then there’s the likelihood we would have had to go into my dads house for the loo. He’s on his own and hasn’t seen anybody for weeks. I phone every day and he sometimes chats to his neighbours. He could be in a much worse position so in the end I decided not to take the chance. Hubs and I are really high risk.
Having seen all the pictures of crowded beaches and other beauty spots I can see there being a second wave of covid in a week or so.
My cousins husband collapsed a few weeks ago and had to be rushed to hospital. He’s had a few blackouts before but they’ve never found a cause. It turned out he needed a pacemaker so they fitted one and sent him home the next day. They took him to a hospital quite far from their house so my cousin had to pick him up. They’re both 75 so not young. After he got home the hospital phoned and told them he’d tested positive for covid. Why they tested him and then let him go I’ll never know. Those wards are pretty empty so it’s not as if they needed the bed. Being the sort of person he is he immediately developed an “overwhelming fatigue”. My cousin ended up going for a test. She went to a testing station manned by servicemen and they passed the kit through a crack in the car window and gave instructions by phone. It came back negative. If it’s so contagious then why?? She was in the car with him for about an hour. I’m convinced that this could only be because his was a false positive but it might not have been.
The problem with politicians is that they’re all people who want to be politicians. It doesn’t seem like they’re in it because they want to help people or serve their country. It seems like they’re all in it just for themselves and the prestige it gives them.
I watched an interview with Elon Musk a while ago and when he asked what he would change if he could he said that he wished the people in power understood more about science. He’s not wrong.
Maggzz, you and your hubs need to stay safe. Have you managed to get a supermarket delivery? I understand that you are worried about your dad, but there is no way that you could isolate from your hubs if you tested positive. Does your dad understanding the seriousness of this virus? I agree, it's lonely living on your own. Some nights I watch the clock and have to decide whether it's too early to go to bed. I'm so sorry to hear about your cousin's husband, I hope that he is recovering. Also I hope his wife is ok. I don't think that the Dominic Cummings saga is anywhere near finished. People are angry because they have obeyed the rules (that are really only guidelines) and not continued with their daily lives. Some people have been told to stay in their own area, some have been given a fine. I haven't seen our little granddaughter since this thing started, same as you with your dad. Maggzz everyone is within ?6 feet of a rat. Apparently the land that our bungalow was built on used to be a pig farm. We have wireworm so growing anything like carrots, parsnips and potatoes in the soil is out of the question. I grow most things in pots. I have my potatoes in bags and keep topping them up with compost when the shoots start to show. Grow bags are invaluable.
Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly.
I managed to get a home delivery this week and next Friday I’ve got a click and collect. The only shopping I’ve done is in the village. I hate supermarkets at the best of times and this is definitely not the best of times. I still can’t get flour though. I have one pack left so that means 4 lots of scones and a scone based pizza.
Tomorrow a local resident is doing a concert in his garden for the neighbours. He’s done one before and he was pretty good. It’s a father and son both take turns to sing. They set up big speakers in the garden and all the neighbours come out. I think he must be some sort of professional and the son has reached this years finals of The Voice. I assume the live finals are not going ahead though.
We are doing everything possible to stay safe thanks. We’re both very high risk. I hope everyone else is keeping safe too.