In conducting his lockdown tour of London and the North East , Dominic Cummings has confirmed himself the central figure of British politics. He is the Bismarck to Johnson’s Kaiser and the most effective British political operator of the past 10 years.
Cummings’ refusal to admit to having done anything wrong and his sneering at the left-wing press have endeared him to at least 52% of the country,
Cummings has become the focus for the frustration of many but his defiance is absolute
— Oigetit Health (@Oigetit_Health) May 24, 2020
I have three observations to make
- We all love a baddie
- We want the baddie on our side
- Cummings is the person we don’t dare to be
We all love a baddie
Cummings has all the attributes of a political baddie. He’s unelected, arrogant and secretive. He has absolutely no interest in pleasing anyone and he’s quite ruthless.
He is not a pantomime villain, a Dick Dastardly, he is a very real baddie
We want the baddie on our side
If you had to pick your political football team, you’d want Cummings in charge of the defence. For everything that his behaviour tells us about the abuse of power, we want Cummings in charge – even if he picks up a few cards along the way
Cummings is the person we don’t dare to be
Forget all the minutia, Cummings is the husband and Dad, as well as the Bismarck to Boris’ Kaiser.If he survives (and I think he will), he will be the most notorious adviser in Downing Street for decades.
Though he focusses all our discontent, he thrives on the opprobrium heaped upon him. And his stature is the greater for him driving a reasonably sized family car into which he piles his family and all that goes with them.
He is what we want to be and that is hugely frustrating.
Is Dominic Cummings running Britain?
The answer quite clearly is yes. Have we the power to sack him – we will see, but I suspect the answer is “no”. Will he diminish those around him- undoubtedly he will, Johnson already looks a second order Kaiser beside this Bismarck.
Does it matter if he does?
It’s worth noting, that Britain is not only in the grip of the pandemic, but it is in the midst of a political change. Both are likely to be momentous and both are being managed by Cummings.
We have to look at the alternatives to the Cummings way, the problems we had moving forward under May and Cameron, the ineptitude of most of the current Cabinet and utter irrelevance of the opposition (though this may change).
Cummings is where he is for a good reason. He is filling a vacuum. If we find a way of ridding ourselves of him, we will have to find an alternative. Where is that alternative?
I am encouraged in this view by this blog by Simon Carne. He argues that whatever we think of Cummings’ behaviour, the press are not the judge and the jury.