ALASDAIR Fyfe (Letters, May 27) somewhat sanctimoniously states that those who wish to see the back of Dominic Cummings are "bullying and baying for blood". Exactly what does he expect us to do? To meekly accept that a man, known for his arrogance and who, despite being elected by no-one, enjoys an unprecedented level of power at the centre of government, can blithely choose to flout rules he helped impose on the rest of us?

Mr Fyfe writes that we do not know all of the facts. Well there is one fact that has still to emerge which, to my astonishment, the journalists who questioned Mr Cummings in the rose garden failed to ask – doesn't your wife drive? That question (and also whether a government car could not have been provided) was at last put by Mishal Husain to Robert Jenrick MP in this morning's Today programme, only for Mr Jenrick to bluster a non-answer, which speaks volumes.

Otherwise, we do indeed have the "facts", as provided in Mr Cummings' own carefully worded statement. He has not denied that he went back to Downing Street, despite believing his wife may have the virus (which is in breach of the rules), he chose to drive 260 miles without making any attempt to see if there were any childcare arrangements in London, and that he took a round trip of 60 miles to test his eyesight (in consequent breach of the Highway Code and putting his family and other road users at risk). Observers are entitled to weigh up the strength of his testimony and also take account of his body language. He was at pains to suggest that the ultimate destination of his jaunt was unplanned ("we started driving east, no south") so we are to accept that he took this extraordinary risk with his family on a day which it so happened was his wife's birthday, that they ended up fortuitously at a beauty spot, and that he suddenly felt a bit unwell, necessitating going out for a walk and a seat in the sun. And on the way back, he skated over his justification for being seen walking in the woods, initially justified as a stop to let his wife take their son for a toilet break.

Mr Cummings has therefore been given the chance to state his version of the facts and the public is clearly entitled to pronounce on this. And it is no surprise that most people find his justifications risible. That being so, being a hypocrite and a liar can be added to the indictment.

Dr Gerald Edwards states that Cummings has been "accused of making a mistake but at no actual cost to society". Well, I would suggest that creating enormous anger amongst the many in the population who at great sacrifice to themselves have followed the rules to the letter, deepening the sense of an elite which is above the rules which are only for the little people, and making future adherence to the guidelines by the populace more problematic, is in fact quite a big cost for society to pay.

Robert Murray, Glasgow G41.

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I HAVE real sympathy for Dominic Cummings despite his reputation and general demeanour. The ongoing brouhaha over his travels and travails highlight to me just how short our memories are in this age of social media, and where other media make the story and don't just report it.

When Mr Cummings made his trip we were in the eye of a storm as a Government adviser (Professor Neil Ferguson) had recently modelled up to 500,000 deaths and the news every night was replete with tales of outwardly healthy people unable to get up and down stairs, others dying suddenly or quickly. In case I found myself infected and incapacitated, I resorted to keeping an old mobile phone by my bed, fully charged, in case I needed to contact a family member for some help. I tend to look at Mr Cummings's action and concern for his child through this lens: death was on the horizon for a great many of us and a large number have, sadly, passed away.

How quickly we forget yesterday's news and move on to tomorrow's. I fully concur with Alasdair HB Fyfe's letter on the most unseemly nature of this baying for Mr Cumming's blood. If anything, for the safety of his wider family, this highlights why Mr Cummings felt it wise not to advertise his actions and location.

Kenneth Reid, Edinburgh EH4.

WHILE I agree in principle with Dr Gerald Edwards (Letters, May 27) comparing the absolute gravity of Dominic Cummings’s recent antics with perceived Scottish care home mistakes possibly leading to unnecessary deaths, he seems to miss the point of Mr Cummings’s behaviour in breaking then-current lockdown rules, which essentially required (implicitly backed-up by police intervention) no long-distance travel by anyone especially if they thought that they were possibly experiencing coronavirus symptoms.

Thus, if the public perception is not to be that "we are not all in this together", with the high echelons of the Government doing whatever they like while demanding that "the common 5/8th" stick to the rules which have been dictated to them, Mr Cummings has to resign or be sacked.

Even if we accept that Mr Cummings thought that he was doing his best as a parent in taking that long-distance drive to seek the alternative care that he thought might be required for his child, he should have at the same time alerted the Prime Minister that because of his actions, and given lockdown stipulations at the time, he would resign immediately.

And speaking of the Prime Minister, the debacle of his trying to defend Mr Cummings has just lost the Conservatives the next General Election.

Boris Johnson had it all to play for with a stomping 80 majority in the House of Commons; now, with one stupid and arrogant move (in effect, telling the electorate that he knows better than them regarding the Cummings affair) he has thrown it all away and will shortly follow Mr Cummings in getting his cards.

Philip Adams, Crosslee.

I REALISE that you are receiving a large amount of correspondence on the subject of Dominic Cummings, so my concern is to ensure the pressure is maintained on the issue of his role as a Special Advisor and its position in the hierarchy of government that enables him to claim he is an "essential worker".

In today's Herald Brian Beacom claimed hypocrisy on the part of Nicola Sturgeon for her condemnation of Mr Cummings while having initially supported her Chief Medical Officer following Dr Calderwood's failure to follow her own instructions ("Sins of omission are catching up with all our leaders", The Herald, May 27).

Ms Sturgeon attempted to retain the services of her medical advisor during the early stages of a major health pandemic. Within 24 hours she recognised the error of her decision and rectified it thereby losing the advice of a medical professional.

Dominic Cummings is not a medical advisor, he is a political advisor and his contribution to the current situation and his place on SAGE is to ensure the "science" is translated through the prism of political expediency reflecting his, Boris Johnson and the current UK Cabinet's particular world view.

That his role is considered indispensable given what everyone across the country is dealing with is a deeply depressing reflection of the priorities of the current UK Government. Bearing in mind that he is integral to formulating the UK's position in regard to Brexit, the time is now to ensure that this serial prevaricator is consigned to the dustbin of history.

Bill Mitchell, Kyle of Lochalsh.

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WHATEVER Dominic Cummings did or did not do against lockdown rules cannot be compared with the culpability of the top brass of NHS England and Public Health England, and the devolved counterparts, for their:

(a) lack of planning for such a pandemic, despite the evidence of the past few decades, Bill Gates’s prophetic warning in 2015, and the Cygnus Plan in 2016 which exposed several failings but was then shelved;

(b) failure to stockpile ample PPE (much of which, intended for an influenza outbreak, is suitable for Covid-19) from trusted sources, ideally UK or EU;

(c) initial insistence that only their own test labs must be used, excluding the extra capacity offered by academic and private labs until far too late; and

(d) transfer of numerous patients from hospitals to care homes without being tested.

These failures have led to thousands of actual deaths “before their time”, unlike Mr Cummings’ behaviour. Who will be pilloried for them, and when?

It is too easy always to blame “the government”, but NHS and PHE bureaucracies were set up to plan and run our health services, clinically and managerially. The inevitable claims of lack of funding imply they are bottomless pits, and ignore that from mid-2018 massive extra funds were scheduled.

As for those supposedly-educated individuals proclaiming “well, if Cummings can do that, so will we” but with no mitigating circumstances remotely similar to his situation, how small-minded and selfish can they get?

John Birkett, St Andrews.

IF any good is to come out of the whole miserable Covid-19 pandemic, it must be that we, at long last, give proper recognition (financial and otherwise) to care workers.

Unusually, help towards this has come from the Conservative Government. The Home Secretary’s proposed rules for immigration (which I condemn) at least show that they believe that the minimum salary for a skilled worker is £25,600. Allowing six weeks of holidays (including public holidays) and a 35-hour week, that gives an hourly rate of just under £16.

Shamefully, care workers have far too often not been regarded as being skilled, but this is far from the case. At very least, they undoubtedly need many practical skills when carrying out their jobs. And, far more importantly, they need a skill most of us (myself included) do not have. That is the skill to maintain, throughout long shifts, endless patience and empathy for the people they care for. That is a real skill which should never be undervalued.

There is a danger that, when/if the Covid-19 threat is over, the public’s current admiration for care workers and the NHS will fade away. That is why all political parties should now make a pledge to set a minimum hourly rate for all care workers of £16. This will come at a considerable cost, and we will probably all have to pay a share of it through our taxes, but we cannot let the current gross underpayment of care workers continue.

Alistair Easton, Edinburgh EH12.

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