Australia Britain Ethics Health Justice Scotland

Letter from Australia 44 – Cummings, Compassion, and a Chilling Video

Letter from Australia 44 – Cummings, Compassion, and a Chilling Video

 Dear brothers and sisters,

There are times when you are asked a question that is really just an accusation. “Why are you commenting on the UK? You don’t live here anymore…you ran away”.   There is no point to responding personally to such an accusation – the person concerned has no real interest in the answer to that question – because they already think they know it.   Sadly much of ‘dialogue’ on social media is of that type. It’s so depressing to see – even more so when Christians join in with the same level of vitriol – and even worse for me when I fall into that particular trap – even when I don’t mean it. Apologies to any of you who read this – if I have ever behaved in that way to you.

The answer to that particular question is that I write because I still care for my home country – I hope to return some day (DV) and I pray for its leaders and people every day.   I still listen to the BBC; read the Guardian, the Courier, the Telegraph and the Spectator; and follow a number of commentators, journalists and politicians. I have to admit a particular thankfulness for the few, like Iain Macwhirter, who, even though I don’t always agree with them, provide information, incisive comment and thoughtful analysis.

But there is something about watching from afar and seeing not only how your new country is reported in your old (the reports about Australia are often way off beam). But also how the old is reported in the new.   Watching the current state of the UK and Scotland from here is profoundly distressing. Sometimes it lays a real heaviness on my heart – to the extent that I switch off in order to protect my blood pressure!

Should He Stay or Should He Go?

Take for example the current Dominic Cummings saga.   Yesterday I put on the BBC news and expected to hear about Covid 19 deaths (thankfully on the way down), the troubles in Hong Kong, the threats of famine in Africa, the corruption in Brazil, or the US Presidential elections.   With all that going on in the world – what was the number one issue?   The fuss about a government advisor driving from London to Durham to give his child to his parents whilst he and his wife self-isolated in a cottage there besides themI That was incredible. But it was the social media that stunned me. The abuse, hatred, vitriol and anger from the likes of Alastair Campbell (a government advisor whose lies sent us to war and helped create ISIS), Piers Morgan and numerous of the Twitterati was stunning.   Lots of people, from Tory MP’s, Labour opponents and the SNP Westminster leader Iain Blackford saw their opportunity to get revenge on a man they hate. And the press sense blood  They set in place a full-scale lynch mob – and its not just online. Going by this we are not that far away from a public lynching.

 

But it’s not just the Twitterati. My social media feed was depressingly filled with Christians and others joining in the mob rant. There was as much point in trying to question their absolute certainty, as there would be in standing in front of a mob of rioters in the 19th Century.   The rage of the mob is not open to rational or calm thought.   Immediately you say anything that dares to question their absolute certainty they cry out “but he broke the law….. he’s killing people….its one rule for the rich…etc.”.  (I can understand why people have instant ‘outraged’ opinions, based upon the little information we have – and it may even be right that he should resign…but that’s not my concern.  My concern is the hysteria, hatred, trial by social media and the absolute fundamentalist certainty that everyone on Twitter has – where even to question the narrative results in you being compared to Hitler!).

There have been two other advisors who were compelled to resign.   I felt sorry for the Scottish Chief Medical officer and don’t think she should have lost her job.   The difference however between her, Neil Ferguson, the UK government’s main scientific advisor and Cummings was that whilst she was visiting a holiday home and he was visiting his married mistress, Cummings was taking his child to be cared for by his parents – because he feared he and his wife had Covid 19. Whether it was wise or not to do so is not the question. Did he break the law is the question?  Given that he has not been questioned or charged then it would appear he has not.

A Lawless Society?

In a civilized society where the rule of law prevails – when a law is broken, the police are involved and charges are brought and then processed through the legal system.   Someone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. But in todays UK as we move away from our Christian foundations we are becoming a society where the law is determined by the mob – where opinionated, self-righteous, self appointed guardians of morality like Piers Morgan, set themselves up as judge, jury and executioners.   Who needs the law? Who needs due process? We have Twitter, the Guardian, the Daily Mail and Facebook.   I have no candle to hold for Dominic Cummings but I am just sickened to see what is happening in my country.   I am glad to be away from such a cesspit of moralistic self-righteousness and hypocritical grandstanding. The UK has become a country where neighbour spies on neighbour – in a manner the Stasi would be proud of me – and journalists think a man visiting his parents is a more important story than thousands dying.

Who Cares?

What also stuns me is the lack of compassion and common sense.   In the same circumstances, I am sure I would have done the same to protect my children.     It seems to me that we have become a bureaucratic, legalistic, moralistic, anti-humanitarian society where basic Christian/human virtues like compassion and common sense are removed. This is not just about Cummings. If I lived in Scotland – I would have no qualms about visiting my elderly parents if they needed me. Not permitting people to attend funerals (appropriately distanced) was cruel. As is leaving people to die alone. Why?

A Chilling Video

Nicola Sturgeon, who has been impressive in her communication, if not always in her policies, said that she wanted to treat us like adults. But of course that has not happened – we are now being treated like children. And children are being enrolled as propaganda tools. I was sent a video this morning that was so ridiculous that I thought it was clearly fake. But it turns out to be real. STV actually tweeted out this video…before withdrawing it.

The children of Scotland would like to say thank you to Nicola, our First Minister of Scotland. We are so grateful, thank you for always keeping us safe, working so hard, for being strong for us. Thank you for… caring for every individual life and for always thinking about the children of Scotland. Thank you, Nicola.

St Nicola – the Saviour of Scotland. That chilled me to my bones. It just so ….creepy. Not just that the video was made….but that STV thought fit to broadcast it. Can you imagine the outrage if a similar video had been made by the BBC about Boris?

Who is the King of Glory?

But there are other things that send a shiver down my spine in a good way. The Lord still has in people in the middle of Babylon. There are those who have now bowed the knee to the idols of the culture.   There are still good churches in Scotland which are seeking to bring the real Saviour to the children and adults of Scotland.   Last night we listened to the St Peter’s service. Apart from an outstanding sermon – it was so good to hear Ps 24 to St Georges Edinburgh. We had some very special times of public worship in St Peters and apart from family I miss that more than anything.   There is such a contrast between the beauty of the Lord in his holy temple and the ugliness of the mob in a society that has lost its way.  (If you don’t have time to watch the video at least have a look at the singing from 52 min –  We will feast in the house of Zion, and Ps 24)…

May God grant renewal, revival, mercy and grace upon Scotland and the whole UK. O Lord, do not leave us to our own devices – in wrath remember mercy…Maranatha – come Lord Jesus. Save us before we destroy ourselves.

See you next week,

David

Note: since I write this Mr Cummings has issued a statement the full text of which is here. I would suggest that it changes the narrative. It shows the abuse and hounding he has had before this, the fact his child was in hospital and that his parents were never endangered. If you can read this and carry on waving your pitchfork then there is nothing more I can add. https://www.scotsman.com/health/coronavirus/dominic-cummings-statement-full-what-did-boris-johnsons-chief-adviser-say-lockdown-row-2864248

PPS.   I had written above that Cummings child was autistic.  Someone tweeted that this was in fact false and retweeted a tweet which said so as evidence.  I removed my remark because I trusted my correspondent.  It turns out apparently that the ‘retweet’ was itself fake.   This is how social media works – either we place too much trust in what we hear, or we believe nothing – unless it happens to suit what we are trying to say.   It’s not a major issue whether his child is or is not autistic.  It is a major issue that this four year old boy was so sick that he was in hospital in Durham.  The lack of compassion and concern from the ‘outraged’ is chilling.

Letter from Australia 43 – Count Your Blessings….

44 comments

  1. Thank you for a wise, astute and gracious assessment of the events surrounding the rabid Dominic Cummings pile on and the sickening trend of previously reasonable UK citizens (and previously reasonable professing Christians!) self-righteously judging, confronting and even grassing on complete strangers and even their neighbours for going for walks, for sitting in a park or for visiting their parents! 😔

    This article was a voice of reason in an increasingly reasonless, harsh and unforgiving society. Keep being the salt and light dear brother. And keep assessing and commenting on events in the UK.
    👍 ❤➕🙏✌

    Every blessing

    Alasdair

  2. Sad times in Scotland David. For those of us who live here and who are not snp supporters, times have changed so much. The majority of snp supporters scare me personally, by the verbal abuse I have received because I am a Unionist. I was raised in small village in the north west highlands, so by definition of birth I should be an snp supporter! (or so they think) My late father in law grew up in Natzi Germany along with Hitler youth but came to Scotland as a young man after the war,and to his dying day, 2 years ago, he opposed nationalism vehemently as he witnessed the damage it caused. Sad, troubling times we live in, in modern Scotland. God protect us from the evil that is nationalism.

    1. Sorry, Myra,
      you’ve just blamed an abstract concept – Nationalism – of having material qualities. Nationalism is no more an active cause of the misbehaviour of cybernat trolls than is Unionism an active cause for whatever acts and attitudes you think to be right because you are a Unionist. If an historian were to confuse Nationalists with Nazis because they used the same label, she would be charged with the reification fallacy and – conveniently – so would be the case if someone should say that Socialism and National Socialism were the same thing.
      Similarly, it isn’t ‘Christianity’ that is an active source of righteousness, sanctification and redemption for believers even although anything that has a right to be called Christianity has a great deal to say about all of these. No, the active source for both the learned saint and the least instructed new convert, is Christ himself, the Spirit of Wisdom in every believer. [1 Cor. 1:30f.; cf. Isaiah 11:2]
      The question for us all if we would be wise is: ‘How should we then tweet?’ Etc.
      Yours,
      John/.

  3. Your passionate post is interesting David.

    I too awoke today to find comments about Dominic Cummings as you mention “driving from London to Durham to give his child to his parents whilst he and his wife self-isolated in a cottage there besides them.” And here’s a problem I have – I can’t tell if he did break lock-down rules in doing so or not and I would be grateful if anyone could enlighten me about this. Boris’ defence of course is that he did what a fathers instinct would do.

    Also – I wonder if you saw footage of the public allegedly breaking lock-down rules in Scotland at Protobello Beach? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjD_6msGyUg

    So I guess you could say it’s not just a government minister that has allegedly broken rules of lock-down, but members of the public as well.

    You say “In the same circumstances, I am sure I would have done the same to protect my children.” So in that case it seems you may be advocating breaking rules about lockdown in some circumstances. And I form what I can gather from living in Scotland, this is not dissimilar to the mood of the country. If say, people can sunbathe and not observe social distancing on a warm sunny day on Portobello beach, what’s to stop someone thinking they can visit an elderly relative whether that be in keeping with the lock down “rules” or not?

    I agree that we have been treated like children. What I hear from politicians, and media stars like Piers Morgan is not infrequently and insult to my intelligence. What it also does is make for “good TV”.

    But then what difference is in principle that to biblical times with those motivated by being seated in high places, being greeted in the market place and esteemed with being called “teacher”. And others like Simon, one of Jesus’ disciples who was a zealot – a freedom fighter to some and a terrorist to others.

    So there is mistrust of politicians and there is a sense of well “if he can do x than I can do y” toward others which is hanging around like a dark cloud at the moment. It’s tangible in day to day conversations.

    But all this is, is it not, a symptom of a fallen world? Perhaps there has been a need for something like Covid-19 to be sent like the plagues on Egypt for humanity to stop and listen for a while to avoid going on a destructive path.

    It will be interesting to see what the “new normal” will be.

  4. There are a couple of pointers that need highlighting in response to this.

    Firstly, the police have said they spoke to and advised Mr Cummings. This is how Durham Constabulary deal with the breaking of lockdown restrictions in the first instance rather than with fines and charges, and so this would seem to suggest, contrary to what you have said, that he did indeed break those restrictions. The restrictions on how to behave when you or someone in your house has Covid symptoms have been crystal clear, are clearly set out in writing and are not consistent with Mr Cummings’ actions as they have been confirmed thus far. If it turns out that some of the further claims are true, yet to be confirmed, his breaking of them would be far worse. There is now likely to be a police investigation into the matter of subsequent breakings of the lockdown. Furthermore, there is much debate over whether childcare really was the reason for his trip to Durham. Mr Cummings has family in London who could have helped, did he really need to take the disease to another part of the country and to his aged (and thus vulnerable under UK guidelines) parents? And yet it now transpires that his family did not provide childcare, and so what is the purpose of the visit?

    It must also be highlighted that someone who made the rules should be stringent in his following of them. Did he break them? It looks like it, but even if he didn’t the appearance of having done so is, for someone in his position, questionable. There is also a question of putting others at risk – I’ve highlighted his parents, but surely he didn’t drive all that distance without stopping for a break. His wife was displaying symptoms, he was likely infected, did he give thought to others with whom he came into contact?

    You must understand the sacrifices the people of the UK have made in recent months. The lockdown has been hard, my own parents will not meet their first grandchild for some weeks, people have died alone, not been able to attend funerals, and, indeed, have looked after their children in a way that Mr Cummings apparently could not. There is a reason that there is so much palpable anger at this; there really is now a sense of “us and them” and it’s been created by Mr Cummings’ actions.

    Finally, the massive problem here is the lack of repentance. Mr Cummings has done wrong, there is much evidence to support this, has been at best thoughtless and has possibly (probably?) broken the law. As Christians we believe there is a way back from this, but, as the book of Jeremiah makes clear time after time after time after time, repentence is key. Yet there is no apology from Mr Cummings; not for giving the wrong impression about his actions, not for a lack of wisdom, not even a hint of recognition of the problems caused, no admission that he might have made a mistake. No; indeed, the government appears willing to undermine it’s own public health messages in his defence. This is what is most problematic. Even some of the biggest Boris Johnson apologists I know are astounded by his defence of him.

    1. I understood that the police spoke to his father – who had contacted them – and they advised him about security issues. Unless you know otherwise there was no warning issued. No law was broken and no charges were made. There will now almost certainly be a police investigation – because the Chief Constable under political and media pressure will feel he has to do so – just so he doesn’t become the next target of the mob.

      Did Cummings make the rules? What is your evidence for that? If you read his statement you will see that he had no contact with anyone on his journey or indeed with his parents. Sometimes its better to get the facts before you rush to judge and condemn.

      Yes there is a reason for the palpable anger – there always is for mob anger. But its not reasonable. Its just stirring up ignorance and prejudice – which is remarkably easy to do in this social media age.

      You are asking and demanding that someone repent for doing something that he does not believe to be wrong – and that the law says was not illegal. When did you get the right to appoint yourself as the arbiter of what is sin and what is not.? It’s also not good to bear false witness as a Christian – ‘not even a hint of recognition of the problems caused’? Did you actually read or see his statement? There were admissions of wrong. Why do you feel the need to join in the mob?

      1. David, you asked ‘Did Cummings make the rules? What is your evidence for that?’ The evidence is his own statement, last sentence. I don’t think Matthew is talking about ‘sin’, so he really doesn’t deserve the ‘appoint…arbiter’ remark. He seems to be talking about the lack of acknowledgement of an unwise decision.

      2. Thanks Bruce. Thats the evidence I was looking for. Appreciated. On the other hand I thought Matthew was talking about sin – unless there is some kind of wrong doing which isn’t sin!

      3. I’m not, with respect David, sure it’s wise to dismiss “palpable anger” as “mob anger” or pastorally sensitive on this occasion.

        On reading this and felling this way myself knowing I am surrounded by others that think and feel similarly, I am offended by your remark. Isn’t there something in scripture about not doing something to cause your brother distress, because this is not done out of love?

        On the other had you could of course come back to me and claim the offence I feel is the “offence of the gospel” and in essence this by my sin that I need to repent of to be appropriately “in Christ”.

        The truth will out.

        Distance may bring you objectivity and an ability to see more clearly than those of us in the midst of the situation here in the UK. But with respect can I also ask that you consider that your distance may on the other hand make you insensitive to the need and your comment, well intentioned as no doubt it is, possibly being off track on this occasion?

        With respect.

      4. All mob anger is palpable! Not all palpable anger is mob.

        You don’t need to say ‘with respect’ – I assume that! As regards distance – the world is a small place – and I get no less information about the UK here than I did in Dundee! Maybe its best for you not to judge others people’s sensitivity or not on the Internet? You really don’t have a clue what I go through…and I would suggest its best not to judge on that basis.

        If you wish to contradict what I say then provide some evidence….not just how people feel. On the Internet somewhere every second there is someone being offended because someone somewhere wrote something that was ‘insensitive to their need’.

  5. Thanks you for this article! It was a relief to read as I sometimes think I am the only person shocked by the control the media have over us! I feel so sad that some feel they can judge someone else and be so vicious in there manner! It’s a sad place we find ourselves in!
    I just watched the lunch time news very briefly as can’t face more than a few minutes these days. I was shocked that the press were basically climbing over each other to get photos of Cummings. I ask myself where is the social distancing!!
    At least we can Be sure that our Father in Heaven is in control – the only sure thing these days!

  6. Vitriol and trial by Face Book was probably the main reason for me shutting down my FB. There was always some drama going on. Instagram is my only social media these days, it’s always a lot quieter and no drama. St Nicola saving children? That’s rich. When the whole abortion debate was going on here in Ulster she was inviting the women of Ulster to use Scottish abortion clinics. If she had her way there might be a lot less children to thank her. I can’t think of a reason anyone would want to thank St Nicola, especially the children who never had a chance to live their lives.

  7. Two parents, both with high-powered 24/7 on-call jobs and a disabled child, expect us to believe that after four years they did not have regular standby childcare, backup AND backup to the backup that didn’t involve a 250 mile drive while dangerously, and increasingly, incapacitated? Are those using the same facilities (and you’ve had children – do you think nobody needed to stop for a wee?) not entitled to know if they were recklessly exposed?

    As with other similar issues, it’s not the rulebreaking that has got everyone’s backs up – especially those with similar or worse challenges to deal with, but who have struggled to “stay at home” in the face of them – but the cover-up, and the “Yeah I/he did it, so what” attitude that treats the public as impudent for even asking questions. And doesn’t even consider it a matter for reflection what consequences others may experience as a result of their behaviour, however “legal” (and who has so assiduously blurred the lines between legislation and “guidance” all these weeks, apart from our Archbishop?). It’s the same “it’s legal, we’re entitled” that justifies elaborate tax avoidance schemes that openly mock the law they seek to hide behind.

    It’s very much like the televangelist scandals – except it’s (thankfully) not the Lord’s instructions he’s broadcast with his mouth while breaking with his hands, but his own. Again, any parent knows better than to impose rules they aren’t prepared to keep themselves, or suddenly find loopholes that are only there when *they* find the original version irksome. It’s the reason previous culprits lost their jobs – not just breaking any old rules, but ones they themselves helped set and were responsible for upholding.

    When we see a more effective protective “ring” pulled round one man than was set about all the country’s care homes, it is not exactly a huge temptation to ask “why is he and his child more important to the Government than mine, or its Grandma?” It’s quite an achievement to unite the otherwise left/right polarised British Press in a chorus of identical outrage – perhaps the man should go into history for that, if nothing else.

    Meanwhile my local beach will be standing room only, and the motto from now on is “save yourselves, and good luck” as the nation at large declares “why should we lock down, when they won’t?”

    1. There was no cover up – although there were lies (like Cummings having gone twice to Durham). Your narrative takes no account of his statement – which I assume you have read – after all why would you condemn someone without hearing their point of view? You also seem to assume a level of stupidity in the British public – who apparently are docile and obedient until the hear of a senior government advisor going to self isolate at his parents.

      1. This statement is the first mention by anyone, least of all him, of Cummings ever having had any “usual arrangements” in place which had fallen down. It wouldn’t have killed him to say so, like anybody else would do, instead of snarling “Who cares about good looks?” when asked a question. The public are, however indirectly, his employers and have to suffer the consequences of his decisions: nobody, as he points out himself, takes a kind view of those imposing trouble on others giving themselves a free pass. He could well claim the right not to give chapter and verse about his childminders or their whereabouts apart from the generic “London”: but the basic fact is not unreasonable to give, or impertinent to ask. Could not the designated relatives have travelled the other way? I think the rules permitted emergency caregivers to travel for that purpose, and the ordeal and danger alike of sick people travelling could have been avoided.

        As to the other issues: if he couldn’t ask Johnson for domestic-emergency or later, sick leave, I understand the next “manager” in line was his namesake, Mr Raab. A lot of the trouble we have had is down to nobody having the clear authority to deputise for Johnson when he was incapacitated – and the statement “Every day I have to exercise my judgement about things like this and decide what to discuss with him”, while factually correct, does suggest Cummings, unelected as he is, is effectively that deputy. Who, to all appearances at the time, had simply vanished. That’s of constitutional importance, not just prurient curiosity.

        If his home was being threatened, the police should have been notified: they might also have been able to advise on the best place and way to go elsewhere, with an escort if necessary, if they thought it appropriate. Anybody being harassed had, and has, the same right – victims of domestic abuse are explicitly excepted from the lockdown laws and I’d be surprised if provision for victims of a crime (which threatening behaviour is) weren’t similarly protected.

        Leaving on one side for the moment the exact itinerary and whether anyone else was endangered (and surely local people have a right to be frightened and demand to know, given both his and his wife’s harrowing description of the family’s symptoms?): if he wanted to test his eyesight, the basic roadside test prescribed in the Road Traffic Act (reading a numberplate at five cars’ length, if I remember correctly) can be carried out safely while still standing on the pavement. If he was staying on a private estate, he could drive round that, at least to start with. What you do NOT do, if you think you may not be fully fit to drive and stay that way, is pile everyone into the motor for a day trip, risking their lives and those of anybody who might get in the way. I nearly lost my adult son last year to the person who was driving him being suddenly taken ill at the wheel: thanks be to God my son’s presence of mind and sensible action averted a catastrophe, though sadly the driver later died. When I hear of somebody deliberately taking passengers when they know they may not be fully and legally fit to drive, with the further chance of involving others in a crash, this girl whose first job included copying out insurance claims is not impressed – and nor would the traffic police have been. And for someone with that level of judgement to effectively have all our lives in his hands is not reassuring.

      2. Karen – just some simple answers.

        1) Given that they could isolate on his parents farm does it not make more sense for them to go there. Instead you are asking an elderly couple to travel to London, find accommodation etc.

        2) ‘If’ his home had been threatened? I assume you have been watching the news – and the mob egged on by the likes of Emily Thornberry throwing eggs at his door – yelling at him as he walks home – death threats et.

        3) The eyesight thing is ridiculous. He was wrong on that – but its hardly a resigning offence.

      3. Let’s take your paragraphs one by one.

        1) I wasn’t referring to the grandparents, but the two young adult nieces, available, known to the child, and near at hand, who had already agreed to provide care. He seems to have disdained their services in order to keep himself close to the seat of power.

        He claims to have had access to a test (something not open to ordinary citizens even now unless they’re already sick) and thought that he could go back to work if it was negative, despite recent severe exposure that could at any moment negate that result. One presumes he did not avail of it, given that the symptoms supposedly took him by surprise. Further to my previous comments, it’s of constitutional concern that he apparently thought his presence so essential that any breaches necessary to get him back into work were justified.

        (A common delusion – one hopes, given his unelected role – that has temporarily emptied many a normal office in happier times.)

        2) What the “mob” are doing now, in the light of the last few days, is not what they may or may not have been doing then. Standing outside the house with placards and shouting has been the experience of public figures pretty much since Pitt: the threshold for actual “threatening behaviour” is of long standing. Many a victim of (for instance) racial abuse knows to take pictures and gather evidence – lots of it! – if they want to be believed, let alone gain sympathy.

        3) It is against the law to knowingly risk, let alone indulge in, impaired driving. That is a known offence, no matter how many Government Ministers claim to do it and how often. Civil Servants (and the definition of “servant” in this case seems to be more that of the Dirk Bogarde role than anything from Upstairs, Downstairs) are not supposed to get themselves convicted of offences and there are rules for which convictions do and don’t automatically cost one’s job. You did think that he might have ended up, had an accident occured, on a charge of manslaughter?

        It is not going unnoticed, either, that the Prime Minister who disappeared for weeks while the crisis was emerging; avoided five COBRA meetings; stated as an irresistible and helpless fate that “Many more families are going to lose their loved ones before their time.” and then let the care homes and the frontline NHS be decimated, has poured every resource of trust and political capital he has into protecting one man and one man’s family.

        The rule of favourites never ended well when we had a politically active monarchy: I don’t, thankfully, expect assassination as a solution in these civilised days, but now we se the Government doubling down by refusing to remit the penalties of others fined for the exact same breach (for childcare) this is, again, not going to end well.

      4. Likewise – paragraph 1 by 1 –

        1) I’m not quite sure why you want to expose two young women to Covid when the parents were then well enough to look after their own child.

        2) No standing outside private houses and attacking families is not normal practice. THe hounding of people on social media has morphed into hounding in real life. In this instance he was receiving abuse and death threats beforehand based on false reports (lies) that he was against lockdown and was prepared to let old people die to save the economy. d

        3) Thats correct – I once drove with a migraine. Should I resign my job? You are aware that he was not convicted of an offence – nor charged? So why proclaim that he is guilty? Do the courts and the law not matter any more?

      5. 1) It was wrong to expose two young and healthy women – the age group supposedly least likely to succumb to infection at all, let alone complications – but fine to travel and expose the older grandparents, aunts etc? And anybody else exposed through their unnecessary journey, when we were all being told to refrain from even driving a mile or two up the road, “healthy” or not, to vary the scene for our “permitted exercise” so as not to risk a collision and soak up emergency service resources?

        2) As I said: if he felt he was in danger, the police were the correct and legal recourse – not a moonlight flit. We are not in a Hollywood movie where the police are part of the conspiracy – this looks more like that good old chestnut “it’s easier to obtain forgiveness than permission”. Which is indeed proving once more to be the truth.

        3) Were you part of a team proclaiming from the pulpit for several previous weeks that good Christians should be law abiding citizens in the strictest interpretation at all times, absent some appalling demand such as denying the faith or grassing up Jews to the Gestapo?

        (Not such a fantastic suggestion: exactly such teaching, when I was first recognising God’s call for myself as a young teenager, made a deep impression on me even before my career choice instilled in me in a sense of responsibility to the law.)

        Was it something you would have been comfortable to tell your congregation at the time you’d done? Did they look up to you enough to think you were tacitly endorsing them in doing the same thing?

        Do you think the fact you got away with taking the risk, and that God spared you the worst consequences that could have taken place, made it all right to risk (as I understand you to be saying – not every migraineur has that particular symptom) driving potentially blind? And one doesn’t always know straight away when the sight is going, even when it’s reasonably foreseeable – otherwise we wouldn’t need driving eye tests for the over-70s!

        Was your “reasonable excuse” one capable of being justified not merely to your own conscience – that notoriously generous judge, in everyone’s own case – but to the Constabulary, if the worst had happened? Or, more solemn and terrible still – the grieving relatives?

        Are you content to stand to it – knowing, as I cannot, all the circumstances – before the last and most all-seeing Judge of all?

        Surely the test of “should I resign for doing this?” should be a bit higher than “did I get away with it?”

        Perhaps you have been strong minded enough not to take that one time as making it all right to do it – or something else similarly risky – again. Others, finding they can take chances and nothing bad immediately happens, take a different view and maybe the next time stretch their luck a little further.

        (I wonder if Adam and Eve sometimes doubted they would really “die” physically as well as spiritually, until one of them did?)

        I’m not sure this conversation is worth pursuing further – not least because the husband and wife concerned have given such inconsistent accounts, both of them “on the record”, that it would take the wisdom and all-seeing eye of God to disentangle which of them is telling the truth – and I don’t think it’s accidental. It’s the same technique I’ve seen dodgy accountants use to render a set of figures so difficult to parse accurately that the case is dropped as “too resource intensive”. The on-repeat catchphrase now is “move on” – something more usually said to the clumsily discarded wife or girlfriend, but one has learned not to expect anything better.

        As a footnote: THIS is how a Conservative Prime Minister *can* tackle the care home crisis in his manor, if he has the mind to it. The Army and prosecutions – still late in the day, but better than the murderous muddle here in the UK.

        https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-military-ltc-report-1.5585131

  8. Dont know why you have linked the video of the children with Nicola Sturgeon as it is not an official Scottish Government or SNP video.
    It has been made by two families with poor quality video.
    For the record as an SNP member I find the video distasteful.

      1. Its creepy because Nicola described herself as the ‘Chief Mammy’ of Scotland and her Government introduced the Named Person Scheme, the information sharing aspects of which the UK Supreme Court found to be illegal and to breach of the right to private and family life. The Court chose to mention the fact that:

        “The first thing that a totalitarian regime tries to do is to get at the children, to distance them from the subversive, varied influences of their families, and indoctrinate them in their rulers’ view of the world.

        Sadly that is precisely what the Scottish Government’s approach to Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood education does.

  9. The problem is when people do as they are told and then see this.

    People not visiting the dying
    People not visiting the ill
    People not seeing new babies
    People not going to funerals

    Just one rule for your favoured elite. And a different rule for the people at the bottom.

    You worry about mob rule but there have never been a time where the elite are free from charges of hypocrisy from those they rule. Instead of coffee house pamphlets and rants on a soap box, the people can see the hypocrisy of the unelected rulers like Cummings and respond much more quickly.

    He was in the wrong and should have resigned.

    1. The irony of course with your statement is that it is the elites who are the ones leading the mob. They want rid of Cummings….wonderful how you just know that he was in the wrong.

      1. Your continued defense of un-elected rulers and elites is interesting. If the woman on the radio yesterday in tears because she missed a dear friends funeral due to not travelling makes her elite then you and I have very different interpretations of that word. Cummings = elite. Woman with no power, no ability to influence change, follow rules = not elite. Do we agree with that?

        Also did you see your favourite Spiked writer tweet that the Scottish medical advisor should resign and then tweet that Cummings shouldnt. More hypocrisy from your favoured writers. And I do hope you will be as distraught in your next letter for the Christian bishops subjected to death threats for highlighting the hypocrisy of Cummings et al.

      2. I get that humanists struggle with the concept of truth but even by your standards this is quite special..

        1) If you are referring to Brendan O’Neill he actually argued that neither Calderwood, Cummings or Ferguson should have resigned.

        2) I’m not defending unelected rulers and elites.

        3) What a cheap and nasty trick to use the of one woman to makes your cheap political point. Its also illogical. Cummings did not travel to a funeral. In fact he missed his uncles funeral. Your comparison of the two is cheap, nastry and irrational.

        4) Likewise your concern for the ‘Christian’ bishops subject to death threats. Any evidence that this is serious (even yours truly regularly gets such threats through the Internet)? You know like police protection, investigation etc? The threats to Cummings are real – as witnessed by the mob outside his house and the police speaking to him about protection…

        If you had a more real relationship with truth you would make a better case for your cause. But the lies and irrationality do you no favours.

    2. You have made a poor comparison.

      You have cited well people mixing with others, some who have COVID. Others who would be mixing closely. It’s not a like for like comparison.

      Cummings did not go to see family. He went to be near those who could care for his child should he and his wife have symptoms that rendered them unable.

      The media suggestion he should have stayed put and ask neighbours to care for a 4 year old is absurd.

      The venom directed at Cummings is nothing to do with the trip. Rather an excuse to try to oust him because he is not subject to pandering of public opinion. He keeps himself out of the public, doesn’t make statements, but because the PM trusts him, certain polititions and the media don’t like the fact they can’t influence him the sane way.

  10. I am reading the last few pages of Hilary Mantel’s epic tome on Thomas Cromwell (and enjoying it despite its length). He is now in the Tower and awaiting the final judgement from Henry VIII (I think I know what it is). What has struck me is how contemporary it all is.

    Cromwell came from nowhere to become Henry’s senior adviser, and was the architect of much of the King’s reign. Virtually all that happened in England, including the early stages of the reformation, were due to Cromwell’s influence.

    He was clearly a very clever man, a consummate politician, and very Machiavellian. He was ruthless in removing anyone who opposed him, and put the interests of the monarchy ahead of all else. In the course of this he made many, many enemies, especially among the old nobility who regarded him as an upstart. He only survived as long as Henry regarded him as essential to the furtherance of his own wishes.

    In the end Henry withdrew his support, and Cromwell’s enemies pounced with the inevitable outcome.

    Dom Cummings survives because King Boris needs him. But the wolves are circling, and once Boris sees him as more a liability than an asset, then he will be off to the Tower.

    Mark my words.

  11. Hello David, I have been living abroad as a missionary for 10 years and love Scotland and the UK, but am also saddened by the state of affairs here. It seems there are certain things that we are not allowed to disagree on and so I have still not understood how to contend with others on certain taboo subjects. I keep praying for change and transformation in the hearts and minds of people. Although you are able to still follow the media, I have pretty much switched off from all of it, I can’t trust the sources.

  12. Thank you for writing this. Sometimes it’s difficult to know if it’s the world that’s gone crazy or me when everyone seems to be piling in on one side of the debate.

  13. Remarkable, what is remarkable in this Cummings farrago is the lack of self reflection of the self righteous, ” weeping and wailing and mashing of teeth,” which is but a reflection of living in “outer darkness”, Hell itself.
    From one section representing the Church of England, and speaking with such unknowing, presumed certitude, from their respective localised IVU’s, Intensive Vascilation Units, are the Bishop’s riding on their donkeys to the the rescue of…? As they call crucify him. How apt, as they pontificate , what is truth, and pre – judge before he, Cummings, has uttered a word.
    Such leadership, when they don’t repent and acknowledge the gospel of Jesus, in public, in many cases, it being a private matter nor do they abide by the laws and rules of scripture, all being a matter of interpretation, personal choice
    Yuck.

  14. PS,
    Evidently there has been an “outcry”over the movie, “Paddington 2” on BBC 1 TV, being displaced by the live broadcast of Cummings explanation of events.

  15. 23Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You pay tithes of mint, dill, and cumin. But you have disregarded the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
    Matt 23.

    I don’t see the personal gain for Cummings in this incident. Instead, the mass media and certain politicians straining a nat, and using the public confusion they themselves have created, as justification. It’s hypocrisy. They swallow the moral camel.

    It’s detestable. Jesus exposed it.

    It (such motives) was never interested in justice, fairness, or righteousness.
    That some of the public are now thinking this is one rule for him and another for them, is based on the commentary and opinions of polititions and media with their own motives to oust someone they have formed a perception about.
    Pharisees were followers of the law.
    Their targets were, tax collectors (cheats) and prostitues (questionable morals), but their motives where wicked and self centred.
    It was nauseating then, it’s morally nauseating today.

    You are right to highlight David.

  16. I too witnessed Christians posting post after post mocking the man. I wanted to comment and to ridicule them for doing so however I managed to restrain myself. I find once I enter the arena for trolls I’ve already lost.

    In complete agreement with you on this David.

  17. The people of Greece were protected by an early lockdown, so that a death toll of 172, for a population of eleven million, is being reported. The people of the UK have shown incredible restraint, against a background of an incompetent PM failing to protect them-Appeasement.org

    The careless contempt for human life shown by Boris Johnson is not new. This is the PM, whose administration worked covertly, to fix a radically liberal abortion regime, on the people of Northern Ireland. A coach and horses were run through the devolved settlement. A region with a high percentage of evangelical and Catholic Christians is the victim of a new eugenics experiment.

    Contempt for human life has allowed people in care homes to die, and NHS or care staff to have to work without PPE. Could it be that the days of Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson (in positions of power) are being numbered? Would it be unwise, to not consider the possibility of a Belshazzar’s moment unfolding before our very eyes?

    1. I hold no truck for Boris Johnson – his careless contempt for human life is shown by his attitude towards abortion and the imposition of it on Northern Ireland. But you seem to have forgotten about Nicola Sturgeon – who sent so many to care homes and cost so many lives – 60% of those who died in Scotland have been in carehomes. I assume you would place her under the same charge and demand that her days be numbered?

      1. I totally agree with this post. No one is doing anything about it I’s been swept under the carpet, because the Scottish media are all, but one, pro snp. No word also about Ian Blackford snp, travelling to Skye from London after lockdown. Not only that but he posted a picture of the scenery in Skye.

  18. My view is that it is erroneous to take the reaction from any social media platform as a nationally representative sample for measuring the mood or reaction to news. Social media users as an audience is very niche and inherently biased.
    Look how Labour tripped over themselves in the 2019 election on the basis of the traction they were getting from social media! Social media appeals to a particular group of people – but they often don’t represent broader & more diverse opinion…
    Social media only has an elevated status amongst, ironically, those that use social media.
    It’s reaction as a measure or litmus test for anything in the news is clearly somewhat limited…

  19. I never had a lot of time for Nicola Sturgeon in the past, but her communication style is good and she gauges the public mood well. The care home deaths might be connected to the catastrophic delay in UK national lock down timing. The virus is not especially infectious or virulent . There is a mixture of moral and natural evil here. If Westminster had locked down earlier, then the pressure to discharge Covid virus clients to nursing homes might have been a great deal less. The Conservative Party’s contempt for the life of the unborn, and for the lives of care home residents, has been laid bare for the nation to see.

    1. It doesn’t work like that. The Scottish government had the power to shut down earlier – the fact they chose not to do so means they are as culpable as the Tory government. It was the Scottish government who sent hundreds in Scotland into carehomes without testing – not the Conservative party. Nicola is a great communicator – she is also a largely incompetent leader.

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