FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
London is the most serious political crisis that has hit the government of Boris Johnson since he settled in Downing Street: and the storm shows no signs of being able to dissipate quickly.
Yesterday was another day of ordeal. The premier’s super-adviser, almighty Dominic Cummings, showed up in the garden of Downing Street for a press conference in which he clumsily attempted to defend himself against allegations of violating the quarantine. English newspapers on Saturday revealed that Cummings had gone to his parents’ home in Durham, 400 kilometers from London, in late March and early April, despite having him and his wife develop coronavirus symptoms.
Boris’s adviser explained that he had done so to bring his 4-year-old son safe from his grandparents, who otherwise risked finding himself at home with his sick parents: but failed to explain convincingly the reason for an out-of-town trip to a nearby tourist location (I wanted to have my eyesight checked before returning to London by car, he said, sparking the irony of the web).
Cummings claimed that he has no regrets for what he has done and that he has nothing to reproach himself: but if his desperate self-defense may seem understandable, what appears to be more amazing from now on Boris Johnson’s will to shield to his adviser.
On Sunday the Prime Minister had come by surprise to a press conference to dismiss the accusations against Cummings: and yesterday evening he did it again, regardless of the fire in line with the reporters’ questions. Not only for the press, including the friendly one, to press the government: yesterday more than twenty members of the conservative party had taken the field, together with a series of other public figures, to ask for the expulsion of Cummings. An event that Johnson continues to rule out.
The prime minister is agreeing to suffer immeasurable political damage while not letting go of his Rasputin: because Boris owes everything to Cummings, from Brexit to his election triumph. But there is also the suspicion that, without his super-adviser, the premier is aware of not being able to drive the government car: he is good at making a show, entertaining public opinion, but the details of the action daily leaves them to others. Now for the public he seems far from amused by the Cummings scandal, from which a double standard for the elite and for the common people shines through: a gamble that Boris could end up paying dearly for.
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