Thursday, 28th May, 2020

[Day 73]

This morning was fairly uneventful for Meg and I although we did have the opportunity for a brief chat with our Italian friend who lives down the road and then for a longer chat with two of our friends from church. One of their relatives had had an operation yesterday morning and we were all relieved that it seemed to have gone well so far. Another hot day which called out for a salad but we managed to rustle up quite a tasty collection of salad-type things even though we didn’t have what you might call any salad greens.

In the late morning, we got the news about Durham police’s view of the Dominic Cummings escapade. The whole wording seemed a little bizarre to us and designed to help the government get off the hook. For a start, the Durham police said that it was a minor breach (well a breach is either a breach or it isn’t a breach- the argument that it is minor because no social distancing was involved seems curious as surely if there had been a social distance issue this would have been two offences of leaving the house and breaking social distance rules). A lawyer has commented on the case as follows:

Raj Chada, head of the criminal defence department and a partner at firm Hodge Jones & Allen, told the PA news agency: “I interpret this statement as them saying that there is enough evidence to say that he breached the rules (but ultimately for a court to decide) but that it is not in the public interest to prosecute for the reasons that they say.

The fact that the initial journey from London to Durham was adjudged not to have broken regulations presumably drives a coach and horses through the advice? legal requirement? to ‘stay at home‘ and one wonders what will happen if some of those who have already been fined decide to appeal against their convictions. Finally, one has to say that a wording which says a ‘minor breach’ which ‘may’ have occurred seems to be bending over backwards not to offend Downing Street.

I had a frustrating session this afternoon. Part of ‘Mog’s Den‘ is an area in which I throw stones, bits of brick and other stuff retrieved whenever I go and dig in the garden. To tidy this up a little bit I thought I would put a bit of fencing (Poundland Special) and as I was doing this, I thought I would remove a protruding bit of stone from the route of the fence. Half an hour later and I was still struggling because as I excavated more and more of the ‘stone’ it became apparent that it must have been some kind of lintel, burried by the builders, as it was over 30″ long and about 6″ wide and 6″ deep. Having struggled to free this monster all without success, I reasoned to myself that even if I did free it would be too heavy to move anywhere and I would probably injure my back in making the effort. So I covered it all up again and made the best of a bad job.

Emily Maitless, the lead presenter on BBC Newsnight programme decided she would not appear the following evening after she had intimated that it was evident that Cummings had broken the law but the Government would not admit it. The BBC did not ‘discipline’ Maitless but felt they had to reissue guidance on political partiality but said they were not going to take any further action of a disciplinary nature. It should be very interesting to see what Newsnight says tonight, given that Cummings may have committed a breach of the regulations (subject to a court deciding the case – which of course it never will) The extremely partisan Attorney General has tweeted on Saturday in full support of Dominic Cummings and in which she quoted the full text of the No 10 statement on Boris Johnson’s chief aide in which the prime minister said he had behaved “responsibly and legally”. So the Attorney General’s role is compromised even before the Durham police statement earlier on today…