THE Prime Minister wants everyone to move on from the Dominic Cummings scandal. The public shows absolutely no inclination to do any such thing. What Cummings did and the pathetically unbelievable lies that have been confected in order to explain it away are not merely just more lies from the bunch of habitual liars who comprise the British Government. They are lies that make a mockery of the sacrifices and losses that millions of ordinary people have endured for the greater good over the past few months.

Last week, the part-time Prime Minister attempted to shut down questions about Cummings by interposing himself between journalists and his scientific advisers at the daily coronavirus press briefing. Johnson insisted that those who continue to question what Cummings did are politicking and it was not appropriate to drag the scientists into it.

He said he was protecting them, but the only person he was really protecting was himself. The Johnson administration has proven the truth behind the feminist and civil rights mantra – the personal is political.

The Cummings scandal has shown us that the political is also deeply personal. His actions mock the very personal sacrifices so many people have made, not being there at the bedside of a dying relative, not being able to hug a grandchild, not attending the funeral of a loved one, not being able to lie in a lover’s arms. It tells us that those sacrifices that people made for the greater good were unnecessary, that if only we’d been clever enough then we, too, could have found a loophole.

The National:

It tells us that we’re fools. That we’re patsies. It tells us in the most cruel way possible that we’re not in this together. The smirk on Cummings’s face as he left 10 Downing Street’s rose garden after his press conference was a stab of contempt in the back of everyone who has suffered and lost. It tells us that in the eyes of this Government we have not made a noble effort, we’re just suckers.

A willingness to co-operate for the greater good has been replaced by a keenly felt sense of injustice. When Matt Hancock told the public we have a “duty” to self-isolate

if contacted by the track-and-trace team the first thought in the minds of most is what happened to the British Government’s sense of duty?

That’s why this isn’t going to go away, why this is not just another lie from a bunch of lying liars. This is a government that has become defined by a smirk. If, in some parallel universe where the British Government had behaved in an exemplary manner and the UK was dealing with the epidemic far better than most other states around the world, then perhaps Cummings might have got away with his jolly to Barnard Castle and his trip to his parents’ place. People would have been angry, but the entire matter would have quickly blown over.

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Instead, Cummings has become a lightning rod for all the built-up anger, resentment and contempt that the public have come to feel for a British Government which is failing dismally in its most basic duty, the duty to protect the public and keep its citizens safe.

The UK has the greatest death toll in Europe, and the second-highest per-capita death toll in the world, behind only Spain. However the UK figure is a combination of the statistics for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as England.

If we look at England alone, where the Conservatives of the British Government have sole responsibility for dealing with the epidemic, we find England has the highest per-capita death rate in the world. According to figures from EuroMoMo, the European Mortality Monitor, England has the highest z-score by far in Europe. The z-score is a statistical measure of the number of deaths in a population above the death rate which is typical for that area. At its peak in England, the z-score reached 44.1. Scotland’s peak was 17.25. Spain’s peaked at 34.74.

Realising just how deep the public revulsion for the British Government runs, British nationalists have now embarked upon a desperate campaign to discredit the Scottish Government’s handling of the crisis. They’ve looked around, seen that no-one has reduced their disgust level and moved on from wanting Dominic Cummings to be sacked.

They’ve seen the scientists and experts warning that the British Government is coming out of lockdown in a manner that’s as chaotic and mistimed as it went into it. In coming out of lockdown the UK has taken the lid off a boiling pot and is hoping that it won’t boil over. Figuring that they can’t put any lipstick on the pig of Westminster’s arrogant error-strewn disaster-fest, instead they seek to paint the Scottish Government as being just as bad. It’s all they’ve got left.

They are now in the ludicrous situation where the most fervent advocates of British nationalism in Scotland, those most passionate in their refusal to countenance independence, are reduced to criticising an SNP-led Scottish Government for not having diverged earlier, more rapidly and more decisively from Westminster’s policies. Thatessempee eh, it should have been more separatist.

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Of course, had Nicola Sturgeon done what Ian Murray and the Scottish Conservatives et al are now saying she should have done, they would have been the first to condemn her for breaking ranks with the rest of the UK and for using the crisis to further that separatist agenda that they now seem strangely keen on.

Had she closed the border with England to all but essential traffic, even if the Scottish Government had the power to do so – which is arguable – there would have been a torrent of rage from British nationalist parties and press about the destruction of the precious Union.

There will be a torrent of public rage once this crisis is over, but despite the best efforts of the British nationalists it won’t be directed at the Scottish Government. It will be directed at Westminster.

Anger and disgust at how the British Government has traduced the goodwill of British citizens and endangered us all will be the final nail in the coffin of any hopes that British nationalists have of persuading Scotland that we’re better together in the second independence referendum that they will be unable to avoid. The smirks of the Tories are the death knell of the UK.