The Dominic Cummings’ debacle could give the SNP’s labouring independence campaign a much needed boost with Nicola Sturgeon emerging from the coronavirus crisis as a cautious, considerate leader while Boris Johnson comes across as elitest and two-faced.
“A second set of rules for another party; his advisors and friends – ‘you drove sixty miles to test your eyesight? Doesn’t matter, don’t worry what people think, we’ll just move on.'”
Sturgeon’s press conference announcing that Scotland would move into phase one of relieving lockdown was done with humility and compassion thanking the Scottish public for their patience and understanding in following strict rules that have kept friends and families apart for almost three months. There was even a wry smile on the FM’s face when she said with relief in her voice that people who do not have gardens can now sunbathe in public places as the degrees C hits plus 20 this weekend. A nice humanist touch to the often dour and impenetrable demeanour of Scotland’s leader.
The ludicrous event of Dominic Cummings being made to sit in the Rose Garden and answer to a line of journalists all asking roughly the same thing – why did you break lockdown Dom? – was a PR disaster. Not only due to the fact Cummings behaved like some stubborn school boy being made to apologise to his teachers, but also because he did not apologise.
“Cummings behaved like some stubborn school boy being made to apologise to his teachers.”
The Conservative party’s insistence that Cummings didn’t break the rules, explained in different accounts about the Cummings’ story told by each minister marched in front of the media to tow the party line and protect the PM’s favourite, (you’d think the public school boys would have had the collective brains to get together and try make up the same story beforehand), and Johnson’s insistence on ‘moving on’ will all lead to further loss of faith in the Conservative Party in Scotland.
“Whether that leader will have any money of her own and in what currency she will carry said money is still up for debate.”
Sturgeon has been cautious and clear. Johnson on the other hand conducts about one in ten government briefings, led the rather vague instruction ‘stay alert – control the virus’ and now he has shown his true elitest nature by making a set of rules for one party; the people of the United Kingdom – ‘stay at home, save lives’, and a second set of rules for another party; his advisors and friends – ‘you drove sixty miles to test your eyesight? Doesn’t matter, don’t worry what people think, we’ll just move on.’
People will not move on but instead insist on wanting to know why Cummings is so special that he can break lockdown rules and get away with it. There is nothing more infuriating to the British public than being wronged. This is clear in the outpouring of rage reported in the media from people across the country, some in tears as they explained how they were made to stay away as their loved ones suffered and in some cases died, alone.
“You’d think the public school boys would have had the collective brains to get together and try make up the same story beforehand.”
With Brexit finally through parliament and various other factors such as the near collapse of the oil industry in Scotland and the independence debate sounding more like an incessant drone as we move further away from their 2014 referendum loss, because of Cummings things might have just changed again. Maybe Scotland will be better off with a leader that sticks by the rules and seems to remember those stuck in high-rises and whose livelihoods have all but disappeared. Whether that leader will have any money of her own and in what currency she will carry said money is still up for debate, but isn’t there a saying? ‘Better to be happy than rich.’