People in West Cumbria depend on NHS hospitals in the North East for many specialist treatments.

On April 6, when London resident and Number 10 supremo Dominic Cummings was very ill with Covid-19 at his father’s property near Durham, I finally had an urgent cancer-related operation at the Freeman hospital in Newcastle. This was after two cancellations, one of which was because everything was being reorganised to stop the NHS being overwhelmed by Covid-19 patients.

I had been very upset. I live alone. I felt I was being forgotten about.

One of the things that enrages me most about Mr Cummings’ sense of entitlement, and Boris Johnson’s ‘whatever’ response, is the complete lack of thought Mr Cummings gave to the potential pressure taking a carload of coronavirus from London to Durham might put on health services en route and in the North of England. He and his wife, while both infectious, did in fact need to use the ambulance service and go to a Durham hospital because their child got ill.

Clearly, Mr Cummings thinks that the Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives slogans (that he no doubt signed off on) didn’t apply to him. He’s a special adviser who really does think he’s special.

The main treatment for the cancer I was diagnosed with last December still hasn’t happened. I am in my 11th week of self-isolating. Mr Cummings is now trying to get the Test, Track, Trace and Isolate scheme done. As we say in Cumbria, he needs to “git yam and stop theer”.



Step up to the plate

I EMAILED Mark Jenkinson MP:

I noted with disgust the actions of Mr Cummings who clearly flouted the rules concerning the lockdown on at least one occasion.

We have all had to make changes to our lives in order to stamp out this scourge on our planet.

I ask you to call upon this individual to do the honourable thing and resign! I understand you are a new and inexperienced MP but this is your opportunity to show what you are made of. I hope you step up to the plate.


By email

Does he think we’re idiots?

one can only come to the conclusion that either:

A) Mr Cummings is an idiot; or

B) Mr Cummings thinks we are idiots.

He left London because he could, and drove to Durham because he could. He didn’t consider for one moment that he was leaving an area that was Covid-19 rife.

His wife and son were the taken ill and went either by car or ambulance to a hospital in the Durham area and kept, as Mr Cummings stated, overnight. In doing this he must surely have known that there could have been a chance they had coronavirus and this would possibly bring extra pressure on an area of the UK where it wasn’t so prevalent.

He also stated that his eyesight had been affected and to test whether he could drive back to London he, his wife and young son went to Barnard Castle. Why on earth would he risk driving a vehicle on a public road if this was so? Why risk the health of his wife and son by taking them along? Could his wife not have driven?

It seems in solving his problem of childcare he has caused no end of problems AND put many others at risk.

What concerns me is this: who is running this country, Boris Johnson or Dominic Cummings? Workington ‘ Man ‘ voted Conservative. Did they really want this type of Conservative?



Riding roughshod

Below is a copy of a letter I have sent to Mark Jenkinson MP:

I concede Mr Cummings he did not legally break the rules but he certainly rode roughshod over the spirit in which they were intended.

More importantly his frank press conference revealed that he DID break the even more serious rules around isolation and quarantine. Having rushed home from Downing Street on that day to ascertain the extent of his wife’s illness he then RETURNED to work. By his own words he thought his wife had Covid-19. The government instructions at that time, in these circumstances, was for the ill person to isolate (at home) and the rest of the household to quarantine (at home) for 14 days. This was to be done immediately.

Instead Mr Cummings returned to work and was now, of course, a potential spreader of Covid-19.

As for the rest of his account none of it was the action of a reasonable person. What a reasonable person would have done (and in many, many, cases did do) was to hunker down and ride it out. As it happened, that is exactly what Mr Cummings ended up doing and so the 260-mile trip was completely redundant, not to say potentially dangerous.

Another of the very clear messages at the start of lockdown was not to make unnecessary journeys in case an accident/breakdown tied up key workers at a time when they were needed in hospitals.

Finally, two points to make: first, who on earth goes for a 30-minute (each way) drive to test their eyes? This risible explanation ranks alongside Prince Andrew’s “I don’t sweat” nonsense; secondly, at the time this drive was taken it would simply not have been permitted under the lockdown rules of the time – so Mr Cummings did break the lockdown rules after all.


Great Broughton

Cummings must be going

THIS is a letter I wrote to Mark Jenkinson MP:

I believe [Mr Cummings’] actions and behaviours and his subsequent arrogance in dismissing public anger of his actions is not becoming of the most senior Prime Ministerial adviser at a time when families have sacrificed so much to comply with Stay Home guidance.

My family and I have complied strictly with the guidelines at all times by staying home and not travelling to visit family in other parts of the UK. I am aware of families locally with young children where a parent has contracted coronavirus and they have stayed at home and self-isolated without support from their extended families as they wanted to Protect The NHS and Save Lives.

I find it shocking that an individual in a senior position of public power behaved in such a self-centred manner and undermined the measures he himself helped put in place to prevent avoidable deaths. By travelling 250 miles at this time he endangered himself, his wife and his child. If he had had an accident it would have taken up time of emergency services unnecessarily and diverted resources from the fight against Covid.

The Prime Minister’s response undermines the Government’s credibility.

If Mr Cummings remains in his post the public will follow his lead and “interpret” rules as their “instinct” suits.

Can you please advise Mr Johnson that in my view he needs to dismiss Mr Cummings from his post with immediate effect or the government will lose any moral legitimacy to govern.

May I suggest that you yourself make a public statement to your constituents via your website, local print media and social media to clarify your views as local MP on this vital national matter.



Them and us

Arrogance beyond belief: them and us

I wrote some weeks ago about the government’s shameful response to Covid-19. The faking of virus test statistics, the delayed response to lockdown processes, the failure to supply PPE, the failure to react to a 2016 report on pandemic risks and of course 10 years of austerity cuts to the NHS.

The latest embarrassment is that we have an unelected adviser to the PM, Dominic Cummings, blatantly breaking lockdown rules which he himself helped set up.

He could have spread coronavirus northwards from London wherever they stopped (with a four-year-old they must have stopped). This happened in late March. The government must have known that Boris Johnson’s closest adviser had broken lockdown, but kept quiet hoping no one would notice. Or more likely thought the rules were there for the masses, not the ‘elite’.

Cummings was one of those recommending that we do nothing when the disease struck, but rely instead on ‘herd immunity’: 250,000 of the oldest and weakest could die and then it would be fine for the rest (Guardian, April 29).

We will maintain the lockdown because we know it is working. The poisonous arrogance of Cummings’ behaviour defies belief. If two scientists (who were not infected with Covid) had to resign because they broke lockdown rules, why hasn’t Mr Johnson sacked Cummings?