time to move on

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Deep down I think I quite like Dominic Cummings and in the past I have certainly enjoyed several of his more caustic quips where he has undeniably spoken truth to power. A longstanding purveyor of the political dark arts, he didn’t beat around the bush when calling David Davis “thick as mince” and as “lazy as a toad”. To my mind, he kinda hit Jacob Rees Mogg and the ERG squarely on the proverbial bonce by simply stating they were “useful idiots” to his Vote Leave cause. Labelling many of the coalition’s policies as being “dreamed up on the back of a fag packet” told us what we always suspected but needed to hear. Nice. However, in a quote borrowed from Doris Karloff of Michael Howard, and further enhanced by Benedict Cumberbatch’s intense portrayal, there is also ‘something of the night’ about him.

It starts to go a little awry for me when we scratch beneath his self-appointed status of election whisperer, a man with his finger on the pulse of the common man. Notwithstanding the obvious success of his ‘Take Back Control’ and ‘Get Brexit Done’ slogans, he came a bit of a cropper with the £350m/week for the NHS battle-bus claim and the recent blatant flaunting of his own lockdown rules don’t paint him in too good a light. When 78% of Daily Mail readers don’t believe a word of his Barnard Castle fairy tale and over 60% think Cameron’s ‘career psychopath’ should be sacked, then something’s gone wrong for the man with the Midas touch.

For an individual who has made his name calling-out hypocritical Westminster elitism I was genuinely surprised to find out Dominic was privately educated, attended Oxford, is the nephew of the Lord Justice of Appeal, Sir John Laws, and son-in-law to the 2nd Baronet of Chillingham Castle, Sir Humphrey Wakefield, and 1st Baron Howick of Glendale, Evelyn Baring. No harm in that as you can’t choose your family but it transpires he’s also a gentrified farmer who received £235,000 in EU farming subsidies having previously described them as being handed out to “very rich landowners to do stupid things with”. And in terms of living within that infamous Westminster ‘bubble’ he’s been there pretty much full-time since 1999 when his one commercial venture, to set-up a Russian airline, failed to take-off. If you can’t beat ‘em, Dom…

Irrespective of this, and ignoring the fact that in 2017 Cummings had argued that “Tory MPs largely do not care about poorer people. They don’t care about the NHS”, I do agree with Boris Johnson that it’s time to move on. In fact, it’s been his mantra all his life. Trash a restaurant as a student – leggit, move on. Make a career of disputable journalism – bank the cash, move on. Cheat on your wives – pah, prove it, move on. Worst foreign secretary in living memory – tell a joke in Latin, move on. Toss a coin, campaign for Brexit – tell lots more lies, move on.

Those calling for the head of Dominic Cummings need to be careful for what they wish. Bumble has no great vision for either a post-Covid or post-Brexit Britain. He has no grasp of detail and has shown himself to be woefully out of his depth time and time again. Dom is the man with a plan and our government today, from its leader down, is wholly dependent upon this gentleman’s ideas, ideologies, whims and perceptions. The next general election remains four years away and, I can’t quite believe what I’m saying here, but we cast him aside at our peril. Allegedly, a No 10 insider joked after last year’s reshuffle that “it was bl**dy decent of Dom to keep Boris on as Deputy Prime Minister”. Many a true word spoken in jest.