Will Johnson's adviser bring about his downfall?
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is standing by his chief adviser Dominic Cummings, who is under fire for repeatedly violating the coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Cummings travelled across the country with his family during the lockdown. Many members of the British public are now accusing their government of double standards, but commentators are divided.
Rules only apply for the common folk
Postimees can well understand the Brits' anger at their prime minister and his adviser:
“In defending his adviser Dominic Cummings, who grossly violated the coronavirus restrictions, Boris Johnson is in effect showing contempt for the sacrifices made by the British people for over two months and gravely offending their sense of justice. The prime minister sent the message that rules only apply for the common folk. Since the second half of March, the British have been subject to extensive restrictions. Day after day they were told that they must stay at home, and by mid-May 14,000 had been fined for failing to comply. The restrictions were necessary, as the numbers show: so far roughly 261,000 have been infected and 37,000 have died of the virus. And those numbers could have been much worse. Neverthless, Cummings believed he had more rights than others.”
Elites deserve special rights
There are those who should have certain privileges, The Daily Telegraph, which is known for its undying support for the Conservatives, insists:
“In general, of course, the law should apply equally to all, and members of the ruling elite should avoid saying one thing and doing another. But there is also widespread agreement that our rulers, and by extension their closest advisers, are entitled to some special treatment. They are, after all, special people, even in democracies - perhaps especially in democracies - and have a very unusual and demanding job, which we want them to perform to the best of their abilities. ...So it's important that Mr Cummings stays.”
Johnson undermining his own authority
Johnson's defence of his controversial adviser will cost him dearly, The Irish Times is convinced:
“Johnson has backed Cummings's reasoning, insisting that the 'stay at home' rule everyone else believes to be inflexible is in fact open to interpretation. And yet this is not a court of law but of public opinion. ... The inescapable sense is of one law for the two-homed rich and Boris-connected, and another for the rest. Johnson's determination to stand by Cummings is not just a political mistake for which he is likely to pay electorally, but, more importantly, a blow to his authority in selling lockdown.”