One Rule for Them…

…and another rule for us.

Arguably the most divisive of discourses, and indeed it is by definition. It’s why Cummings is still wriggling to get out from under a steaming pile. Yet, one essential factor in the rule of law entitles everybody to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

Everybody.

So, did Big Dom break the rules’? Well, that could be ascertained only if his reasonable excuse were found to be not reasonable by a court or accepted by the alleged transgressor. Even a police officer’s opinion would not cut it.

And none of that has happened. The responsibility for that assessment certainly does not sit with either the public, or any other kangaroo court, or growingly infuriated guerrilla Twitter thread. Any sound journalist would be saying words to the effect of ‘the public is angry because they believe he broke the rules, which DC himself denies.’

In this case though, they went straight to the guilty verdict, and that was long before the man had even offered the first line of his account when the UK’s media were parking their tanks on the lawns of No.10.

I mean, this is an unelected official deemed to wield power and influence. A man made for the symbol of them, unaccountable to the suffering us. And to boot, he symbolises Brexit. They were always going to go for him.

Were a jury to return its verdict before any evidence were heard in a case, that would constitute an immediate miscarriage of justice. But no judge would allow that. Process and principles of fairness prevent it. But many of these hacks who slip effortlessly into the prosecutor’s role for a trial by media have campaigned ferociously against procedural injustice for a lot less.

One rule for them…

We can only hope that the morally indignant who are railing against Cummings for his alleged disregard for the law indeed reflect on their own. But don’t hold your breath.

One rule for them…

And since the Q&A news conference, they’ve returned to the intimidatory tactic of crowd-doorstepping the Cummings family home and asking precisely the same limp questions as the lawn kings did while failing to respect any form of social distancing at all.

One rule for them…

Hilariously, one prominent newscaster announced that he would mete out the almost unimaginable punishment of blocking from his timeline anybody using the tag #scummedia.

I laughed so much, a little bit of wee came out.

They’ll brand one man a criminal but baulk at a hashtag referencing ‘scum‘. They’ll berate a man who answers questions openly for an hour and brand him a lawbreaker, yet they themselves will happily dodge questions at the Leveson Inquiry before a High Court Judge. They’ll threaten any person making unproven allegations of phone-hacking but brand Cummings a criminal and hypocrite on the basis of squat.

One rule for them…

And now an investigation by the police has concluded that ‘he might have committed a minor breach that would have warranted advice which, if accepted, would have led to no further action. Almost universally in the press, this finding was reported as, ‘he did break the rules’. The more cautious wrote, ‘he probably broke the rules’.

The findings were nothing of the sort. At best, he ‘possibly’ broke the rules.

And, let us not forget, that is only the opinion of the police who have not even interviewed him under caution. They of course know that the horses bolted through the stable doors and reached London way before the Machiavellian Mekon did. If the conclusions of an investigation like this carried any weight at all, we would dispense with courts altogether. Thankfully, they don’t.

Mr Cummings will not be facing any further action and in the eyes of the law, he is entirely innocent. Just like all the phone-hacking journalists who were never charged. That should be the end of the matter, but somehow, I doubt it will be.

Journalists in the UK no longer do facts, not that they every really did. Detailed investigations mean delayed stories and lost scoops. They still haven’t got their heads around the fact that public outrage in this particular affair was driven by the unsubstantiated claims that they themselves made.

They caused the furore, not some relatively anonymous bloke who went for a drive and who, if stopped, would have simply been turned round and told to go on his way.

They created the story and stuck the bellows under it.

They thereby sacrificed public safety in order to further their own agendas.

They diverted attention and resource away from where it was most needed.

And it is they who deserve our disapprobation.

Because it’s one rule for them…

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