Voters are looking ahead to Freedom Day not back at last year’s mistakes

DOMINIC CUMMINGS simply couldn’t wait for next year’s official Covid inquiry, so he rushed his version out first, unedited and unchallenged.

Lip-smacking MPs from all parties gave him seven free hours of Parliamentary time to vent his spleen.

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They relished his blood-curdling attacks on the Government he helped lead until a few months ago — and the Prime Minister who made him the most powerful unelected official in the land.

He had no real power, he insisted. He had threatened repeatedly to resign and call a press conference to denounce Boris. But for some reason he stayed — until sacked by Carrie Symonds.

There were mock gasps as he shredded Health Secretary Matt Hancock, the man he branded a liar and a fool, and who was not present to defend himself.

It was Hancock, he insisted, who promised but failed to clear thousands of NHS Covid patients before dumping them in care homes where they spread the disease.

“I said, ‘Sack him, sack him’, almost every week, sometimes almost every day,” said Dom.

Disapproving clucks came from committee chairmen Greg Clark and Jeremy Hunt to curb Dom’s unparliamentary language. They were ignored.

In a proper public inquiry, no witness would be allowed to level such charges without legal challenge.

Yet Dom was handed a loaded gun and invited to open fire.

This is not to say he was telling porkies.

As one of his greatest allies tells me: “Dominic always tells the truth, but he tells the truth in his own particular way.”

So he was given free rein to deliver his electrifyingly one-sided account of the deadliest and most complex crisis to hit Britain in peacetime.

Everyone was to blame — even, Dom confessed, himself.

Stupid ministers lied. Tens of thousands needlessly died. Lions were led by donkeys. Only Dominic saw the true path.



Pants down

In truth, Covid caught the entire Western world on the hop.

Britain’s position as a global hub, with the fattest, most crowded population in Europe, made it especially vulnerable. Most who died were indeed in their 80s.

Latest official figures show the majority were already close to death, with or without Covid.

Planning failures were entrenched long before the Johnson government took office a few months earlier. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Even Dom admits the PM was right to worry about the economy and the wider impact of lockdown on the mental and physical health of non-Covid patients and a generation of schoolchildren.

Dom accused the PM and health chiefs of pursuing “herd immunity” — but so did America, Sweden and other countries.

Covid caught everyone with their pants down — except Dom, who had warned years earlier about the risk of a pandemic.

It is certainly true no plans had been prepared in Whitehall.

“We are absolutely f***ed,” one top official told them.

And Dom himself made mistakes. He should have blown the whistle earlier, but even as the PM’s effective deputy, he was “frightened” to do so.

In any case, it was “crackers” to give him the job in charge of the Downing Street machine.

“I am not smart,” he confessed. “There are many people who could have done the job better than me.”

All the same, even Microsoft genius Bill Gates and his team would have struggled.

Dom’s real mistake was not speaking out sooner. He apologised for this profusely. The British public deserved better.

He also “apologised profusely” for his lockdown dash to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight.

Why not say sorry at the time? His answer to this question — a security issue — does not add up.

Voters also got it wrong. It was “crackers” that Boris Johnson, the man Dom helped win the 2019 election, is now Prime Minister.

The only thing more “crackers” would be if Jeremy Corbyn had won. The electoral system should be changed.

Cummings reserves a special venom for the PM’s fiancée Carrie Symonds.

He claims the Covid crisis descended into farce when the PM and officials were discussing a top-secret request from US President Donald Trump to “bomb Iraq”.

Carrie interrupted the discussion, demanding action against The Times for a “trivial” story about their pet dog Dilyn. Boris, they said, wanted someone to shoot him for fouling the flat.

It is not known if the bombing ever took place. This barrage of accusations will be picked over for ever by those eager to see Boris Johnson damaged.

Reap rewards

They are likely to be disappointed.

Voters are too busy looking forward to Freedom Day on June 21 to look back at events in March and October last year.

Mistakes were certainly made, by almost everybody — here and in other countries.

But this government has come up with the right answer — vaccines that are halting Covid in its tracks.

As Boris promised, it is the cavalry that will rescue us from lockdown.

Next month he needs to deliver that promise in full — get rid of masks, let people travel freely and reap the rewards of 18 miserable months under house arrest.

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