Wednesday 27 May 2020

Cummingsgate: seeing the point of the eye test

'I had to break the lock-down to drive my wife to a local beauty spot on her birthday in order to test my eyes' has rightly been seized on as the funniest part of Dominic Cummings' full-of-holes attempt at justifying his lockdown busting, and it has inspired many good jokes, but perhaps we're missing the point of it.

And of Cummings' attempts to fake an article he claimed to have written last year predicting coronavirus. It was apparently a fabrication so crude that any data scientist could detect it in their sleep. 

Remember when Russian agents tried to murder Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury in 2018? They later appeared on Russian television delivering excuses so implausible that, in any other context, they would have been comic, claiming they came to England to see the 'wonderful town' of Salisbury with its 'famous cathedral.'

But we weren't meant to believe them. The excuses were intended to be risible to illustrate the Russians' contempt for us. The message was: 'we're lying. You know we're lying. We know you know we're lying, but we don't care. Because we're more powerful than you, and there's nothing you can do about it, so we're not even going to bother making up a credible story.'

The message from Cummings' implausible account is the same: 'I know you don't believe this, but you're not even worth lying to properly. I'm the elite, and you're the plebs. You do as I tell you. I do as I like.'

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