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Cummings’ trips to Durham are nothing to be sneezed at

This article is over 3 years, 11 months old
Issue 2706
Cummings claimed to be testing his eyesight in Barnard Castle 

The Prime Minister defended Dominic Cummings after his top aid showed him the pictures of whatever it is that he has on Boris Johnson.

Cummings, Johnson’s adviser, has denied returning to Durham in April weeks after his initial time spent self-isolating in the region.

Minister Grant Shapps explained what happened. 

“You have to get ­yourself in lockdown and do that in the best and most practical way, that’s all that’s happened in this case,” he said.

And the best, most practical way was to drive to Durham twice (or three times). 

Since Shapps is transport minister it is fair enough he doesn’t know what travel is. And to be even fairer, he did spend a few years not ­knowing how many names he had.

Cummings grew up in Durham and went to the £16,000 a year Durham School. He is married to Mary Wakefield, a senior editor at The Spectator and daughter of baronet Sir Humphrey Wakefield. 

That lets him sit on a farm and read Bismark and ­fantasise about how eugenics could transform the NHS. 


It would be false to say he was staying at his father in law’s castle. He was in his father’s outhouse. 

And who doesn’t have a spare outhouse available?

Cummings rails against the tendency to select leaders from “a subset of Oxbridge egomaniacs with a ­humanities degree”. He studied ­history at Oxford. 

Michael Gove also lept to Cummings’ defence—Cummings twice came up with strategies to stop Gove having to resign. 

Once over expenses and once over losing a large number of schools down the back of the lamps he bought on expenses. 

So Gove tweeted, “Caring for your wife and child is not a crime.” 

Leaving your child stranded in a B&B while you go to a showbiz party to get wasted as Gove did isn’t a crime either.

Cummings once wrote contemptuously of how MPs lack experience “managing complex projects”. He can’t manage staying in a house.

He has claimed that ­eugenics means “we will soon be able to re-make human nature itself”.

And that sort of arrogance is not to be sneezed at.

Hydroxychloroquine, the anti‑malarial drug Donald Trump is taking to prevent Covid-19, has increased deaths in patients treated with it in hospitals around the world, a study has shown. The death rate among all groups taking the drugs was higher than among people who were not given them. One in six of those taking one of the drugs died. One in eleven who weren’t taking it died.

Minister for racist jokes…

Cabinet minister Anne‑Marie Trevelyan has circulated an anti-Chinese meme to Tory MPs

The International Development Secretary sent it to a WhatsApp group. 

The message shows a split fortune cookie with a message that reads, 

“You not have coronavirus.”

It is captioned, “Just received my Covid-19 rapid test kit from China. Soooooo relieved!”

She added, “Just for Bob”. 

That’s Bob Seely, the MP campaigning against Chinese tech giant Huawei supplying the 5G network kit. 

He replied with a love heart and smiley face.

…and a mayor for sick ones

A North Staffordshire mayor has been condemned after sharing a tweet which said she trusted serial killers and rapists more than Boris Johnson.

Amanda Cartwright, a Labour town councillor and the current Mayor of Kidsgrove, posted the meme on Twitter.

The image was headed “Things I trust more than Boris”, with the list including “an injection from Dr Harold Shipman”, “a taxi ride from John Worboys” and “The Covid-19 virus”.

She has apologised saying that posting the image was due to her being “severely sight impaired”.

Those tasked with raising cash for the Tory party are worried. Not because making a mess of the virus is killing people but because rich people aren’t getting what they bribed—sorry, donated—for. 

According to one, “Boris promised peerages to the likes of Peter Cruddas and Michael Spencer, yet there’s been no sign of them. There’s a bit of coolness towards him right now.”

Pigs on the internet 

More than 150 cops have been disciplined for social media abuse.

Since January 2016 at least 22 resigned or were dismissed.

A group of seven Suffolk officers received written warnings after setting up a WhatsApp group to send “inappropriate” messages about individuals.

A West Yorkshire officer sent racist images to a WhatsApp group—and another sent racist messages on duty.

A Norfolk cop used the force’s Twitter account to send “personal messages”. And an Avon and Somerset PC was fired and later jailed for sending naked snaps to a domestic abuse victim.

Toff of the Week

Princess Charlotte—Truant

  • Prince William and Kate Middleton are set to opt out of sending Princess Charlotte back to school 
  • Charlotte, five, is currently in reception year at Thomas’s school in Battersea, London
  • The £19,000-a-year school is expected to reopen from 1 June

Colleges cash in on rent arrears 

University students are being threatened with legal action from letting agents and private landlords unless they pay for accommodation they signed up to until the end of the academic year. 

Others have hit a brick wall in trying to get refunds for rent already paid on digs for the summer term—sums typically ranging from £1,000 to £3,000.

This is despite most students being urged by their universities to go home in late March and complete their studies remotely. 

Many have not put a foot inside since the final term started.

‘It’s a shit way to go for £9 an hour’

A family member of a worker at a Barnsley meat processing plant where three people have died of Covid-19  

‘We will never get out of this now. It will go on for ever. We will not be free people again’

Daily Mail’s Peter Hitchens isn’t coping very well with being inside a lot

‘We have to run as fast as possible before the disease disappears so we can demonstrate that the vaccine is effective’

Pascal Soriot, chief executive of drug maker AstraZeneca, is worried that coronavirus might not provide the opportunities that some shareholders were promised

‘Our warped liberal “morality” only puts migrants’ lives in even MORE danger’

Right wing newspaper columnist Dan Hodges says something must be done about immigration 

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