Tories Lee Cain and Dominic Cummings (on the left) at Downing Street (Picture: Flickr/Downing Street)
Those are just some of the conclusions from a week of evidence to the UK Covid Inquiry from the elite of Downing Street.
Dominic Cummings, former prime minister Boris Johnson’
s top aide, was accused of “aggressive, foul-mouthed and misogynistic” abuse after WhatsApp messages were shown to the inquiry.
The messages between him and the prime minister showed Cummings
tried to sack senior civil servant Helen MacNamara.
MacNamara is herself guilty. She played a central role in a drunken lockdown-busting party. She brought along a karaoke machine to liven things up.
But she upset Cummings after she commissioned a report that highlighted misogynistic behaviour. Cummings said No 10 was “dodging stilettos from that cunt”.
In a bid to save their reputations, Johnson’s top team turned their fire on their boss.
Cummings—an utterly untrustworthy right winger, guilty of the Tories’ Covid crimes—is driven by revenge and self-promotion after Johnson sacked him in 2020.
He and Lee Cain, the former No 10 director of communications, questioned Johnson’s suitability for leading the country during the pandemic. They painted a picture of chaos at the heart of government.
But it was always more than Johnson’s personal failings that meant that Britain had one of the highest Covid deaths rates of all major economies.
The inquiry heard that Johnson told senior advisers the Covid virus was “just nature’s way of dealing with old people”.
Unmoved by pictures of devastated doctors and nurses working on Covid wards, Johnson said he was “no longer buying” the fact the NHS
The former chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, in his diaries described a “bonkers set of exchanges” with Johnson.
He appeared “obsessed with older people accepting their fate” and letting young people get on with their lives, he said.
As the inquiry heard of mounting failings, Cummings also turned his guns on cabinet ministers.
He said they—and secretary of state for health Matt Hancock
—were “largely irrelevant” to Covid policy in 2020.
More than that, he said in his messages, they were “useless fuck pigs”, “morons” and “cunts”.
“Hancock is unfit for this job,” he wrote. “The incompetence, the constant lies, the obsession with media bullshit. Still no fucking serious testing in care homes his uselessness is still killing god knows how many.”
Despite the language, that is a description of Hancock that a great many people will agree with.
The former head of NHS England said Hancock wanted to “ultimately decide who should live and who should die” if hospitals were overwhelmed.
And it was Hancock that ordered hospitals to discharge thousands of untested patients from hospitals into care homes. This ensured the epidemic would lay waste to thousands of vulnerable people.
In his final WhatsApp message to Cummings, Johnson described the infighting in Downing Street as a “disgusting orgy of narcissism”.
Cummings spit back, telling the inquiry of how the “dysfunctional system” in Downing Street during a “meltdown of the British state” had failed to deal with the crisis.
In truth, the state did what it always does—it looked commerce, capital and the ruling class.
The government was outlining a host of reactionary measures in the King’s Speech as Socialist Worker went to press on Tuesday.
In an archaic ritual, King Charles
read out the Tories’ plans for new laws to be passed in the coming year.
Among headline grabbing nonsense about a phased smoking ban and a motorists’ charter, the speech was expected to contain serious attacks on workers.
Crime and sentencing
The hated home secretary Suella Braverman wants new laws to limit the use of tents by homeless people, saying many see it as a “lifestyle choice”.
And the government wants to introduce mandatory jail terms for certain offences, including shoplifting.
Nearly half of all women sent to prison currently are sentenced for theft—mostly from shops.
Some people are doing time for stealing bread and nappies. And many who are sent to jail for shoplifting are homeless.
Another law the Tories want passed is the Economic Activity of Public Bodies bill.
It is designed to make it illegal for public bodies, such as councils and universities, to boycott Israel.
But the Tories are split on the bill, with some saying it could hamper their campaigns to boycott China.
Oil and gas licensing
The Tories want a law that forces future governments to run an oil and gas field licensing round every year.
The move is part of ministers’ plans to double down on fossil fuels and ditch even many of the weakest green commitments. The oil and gas
rounds are yearly now, but the Tories want to force Labour to keep them.
In a betrayal of the planet, Keir Starmer has already said he would keep to new licences that have been agreed.
Claimants under surveillance
Benefits claimants could have their bank accounts checked every month to make sure they are not “lying about their income and savings”. There are no plans to do the same to chief executives.
Plans to outlaw so-called “conversion therapy” to forcibly change sexual and gender orientation have been promised since 2018. But the Tories seem to have U-turned on that and taken no action.