The Covid inquiry has hosted a parade of men who assure us they’re experts in everything – except their own incompetence
Tuesday at the Covid inquiry was men-who-think-about-the-Roman-empire day. Dominic Cummings presents as a man who thinks of the Roman empire so often that a big part of him believes he actually came up with the Roman empire. In the end, though, he couldn’t save Rome from itself because everyone else in it were either “useless fuckpigs”, “morons”, or “cunts”. He and former Downing Street comms chief Lee “Caino” Cain did their best to hold off the dark ages, but ultimately were vanquished by the hordes of barbarians/decided to leave and start a boutique corporate PR consultancy. Sic transit gloria mundi, as Boris Johnson might say, because he knows Latin.
The only thing this cavalcade of know-alls didn’t seem to know is the first thing about themselves. Turns out Boris Johnson accused Cummings of being part of an “orgy of narcissism”, so the former PM can add irony to his tally of pandemic kills. Speaking of which, we learned from the diary of the government’s former chief scientist, Patrick Vallance, that Johnson came to believe that Covid was “nature’s way of dealing with old people”. Yes, if you were one of the many, many old people who voted for Boris Johnson in 2019, this week was the moment it formally emerged that he was extremely relaxed about you moving on to the great suckers convention in the sky. But could the former PM settle an argument – by extension, was it “nature’s way” that Johnson himself came so close to death, before nature pulled out of the move and allowed him to nature’s-way tens of thousands more people unnecessarily because he was too morally and intellectually weak to take a decision? If so, think of this theory as survival of the shittest.
Marina Hyde is a Guardian columnist
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