There may be occasions when mild hypocrisy is cloaked up in nice words or even sweet lies to make it acceptable or tolerable to the recipient. Any discerning recipient may not be elated by it, but he may tolerate it giving the benefit of doubt or by the generosity of his amiable mind.
But then there are occasions when rank hypocrisy is dished out totally arrogantly or combatively with no intention of making it amicable or acceptable. This is one of those moments with regard to Dominic Cummings action in going all the way from Downing Street, London to an isolated firm in County Durham on the totally unfounded presumption that his wife may be ill with coronavirus or he may be ill with coronavirus or his four-year old child may be ill. Nobody had been ill with anything; Cummings’ ‘may be ill’ are all made up and this narrative makes a good alibi.
It should be realised that he is not the only parent in the whole country with a child. There are millions of parents with children at various ages in much more difficult situations. There are families in financial hardship, close family members hospitalised or passed away etc – and they all needed to go to some other place. But they adhered to the exhortations of the government to “stay at home, save NHS, save life”! If they would have realised that government advice was just a good counsel with lots of allowable exceptions, getaways, loopholes, ifs and buts etc, then people would have acted entirely differently.
Cummings then said that he made a detour of over 30 miles ‘to test if his eyesight is OK!’ to drive to London. The question is, couldn’t his wife drive if he had lost his sight entirely in that fictitious illness? Why does he need to drive 30 miles to a beauty spot on the other side of his route to London? His eyesight was obviously alright to allow him to drive to London. Now, how often does he take such ‘eye-tests’ each day during the lockdown period while living in London to allow him to work?
But the most telling and provocative mind-set came out when he said, “I don’t care what people think” about this action (of going to Durham during the lockdown period). This is the height of arrogance, revolting arrogance. People have made enormous sacrifices, endured tremendous hardships all in the good faith of ‘we are all in it together’. But then this guy, who created the slogans of ‘stay at home, save NHS, save life’, is showing two fingers to the common people, went off to have a good break in the seclusion of a farm house, all on the false pretence of ‘may be ill’.
It is the most arrogant way of saying, there is one rule for the powerful and another rule for the vassals and plebs. The powerful effectively is saying, “Do what I say, not what I do”. This is perfect recipe for social breakdown.
If Cummings’ action is justified, as Johnson is saying, that Cummings acted for the best interests of his child giving him safety and security (which the child did not need as after 14 days holiday, they all came back to London refreshed), then if a man loses his job, would he be justified to rob a bank as he needs to give his child food and shelter? Would a man be justified to snatch medicines from a pharmacy to give to his sick children or parents? Anarchy is the recipe the present prime minister is advocating.
Boris Johnson justified Cummings’ action, which is not surprising. It may be called ‘criminal fraternity’. Boris Johnson justified his own actions of lies and deceits in the EU referendum to snatch his victory. He and his advisor, Dominic Cummings, had always had very lose connection with truth, honesty, decency and fairness. In fact, they have no connections at all. This is going to cause enormous long-lasting damage to the very fabric of this society, which had inculcated these virtues over the centuries.
Dr A Rahman is an author and a columnist.