“The saddest reason Dominic Cummings gave for his unwillingness to stay put in Islington was that he and his family are subjected to abuse in his own home and whenever they step outside the door.”
In 1980, my parents and I moved from West Yorkshire to Wimbledon in south-west London after they both obtained positions as qualified nurses in local health care sectors. We lived in a rented property on The Drive, an L-shaped leafy road at the top of Wimbledon Hill. There began the loneliest four years of my life. I was probably the only person under 10 in a three-quarter-mile radius. The neighbourhood was saturated with condescending toffs going by names such as Lt Col Arbuthnot Robathan and Tobias Boyce-Preston. Bouncing a football on The Drive alone of a Sunday afternoon would almost certainly entice a Hyacith Bucket-esque character to come to a front door to warn me the police would be called if I didn’t “refrain from such nefarious activities”. The only friend I made (briefly) in those four years was a lad in my primary school called Michael, who lived in Raynes Park – a ten-minute bike ride away. Michael, even at the age of nine, was a virtuoso on the violin and was encouraged by his parents to shun such working-class, northern oiks as yours truly. In fact one Friday, upon arrival at the school gates, I was confronted by Michael’s mother (who had learned of our budding friendship) warning me she didn’t want her son “associating with the likes of” me. It was to be June 1984 before salvation came in the form of a move to a much more working-class area of south-east London, where there were kids who actually played outdoors. Contrary to the nightmare I had endured in Wimbledon, my following nine years in Penge were some of the happiest of my entire life hitherto.
When I read Dominic Cummings’ account of his experiences in Islington, I am reminded of my formative years in SW20. The demographics, age profile and political inclinations of upper-class London suburbs may have changed these past 40 years, but the debilitating attitudes of aching intellectual and cultural superiority most certainly haven’t. Whereas back then they were expressed by septuagenarian patrician figures with handlebar moustaches, these days they are enunciated by much younger, upwardly-mobile people schooled in champagne socialism, niche minority causes, globalism and an unfathomable pro-EU fervour. Is it any wonder Cummings sought refuge in Barnard Castle. In such circumstances I would have even preferred refuge in Colditz Castle! To live in places like Wimbledon, Hampstead and Islington is to dwell in suburbia with all the community spirit you’d find in the Sea of Tranquility! How’s that for a damning verdict of your self-ordained meliority?!
I used to think this country was still dominated by principles we had taken from the Age of Enlightenment. Then we had the Brexit referendum, which was followed by 4 years of a political, parliamentary, media and cultural insurgency spearheaded by the metropolitan Gutmenschen. A classic example yesterday came when Adam Boulton of Sky News invited Tony Blair’s ‘fixer’ Alastair Campbell to come on air and give his verdict on the whole affair. Without any sense of irony or self-awareness, the husband of Anji Hunter (who worked for the Blair government machine) interviews her old boss just so he can wax lyrical on what constitutes lies and integrity!! Are you kidding me?! The man who helped orchestrate Blair’s monumental cock-ups in Iraq talking about integrity? Please pass me the sick bucket.
The hounding of Cummings has to be viewed in the light of a media vendetta against a figure they see as ‘Mr Brexit’. Don’t you get it? It wouldn’t have mattered if Cummings had self-isolated in Rickmansworth. Reaction from the press and the champagne-quaffing thuggerati who live adjacent would have been the same. The mainstream media see him as a principal mover and shaker behind a drive to steer this country in a direction most of them find antithetical to their world view. They are assailing a man who, at the end of the day, was simply trying to do the best in challenging circumstances to look after his 4-year-old son. Anyone who can’t see that is doing the dirty work of the enemies of our democracy for them!
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