So now he tells us! The £350m claim about the EU and the NHS on the side of the big, red Brexit bus? Wasn’t actually, you know, the whole truth – and Dominic Cummimgs knew it full well. Turkey about to join the EU? Never said that, but did allow impression to form, yes.
On and on it went. Boris Johnson possesses the leadership skills of a broken shopping trolley? He’s so bad we wanted to oust him within days of the 2019 general election? Sure, but look at Jeremy Corbyn too. Our party system is broken, always said that. The Tory party is full of duffers? Yes, haven’t you noticed? Carrie Symonds wanted to "pull the strings"? Afraid so. Leave MPs are morons? Of course. Johnson wanted to ignore Chris Whitty, and just let the old die to save the economy? That’s what he thought.
Cummings confessed all to a sometimes startled, but obviously grateful, Laura Kuenssberg. I’m not sure what penance Cummings should have to pay for his role in public life, or what God makes of him. But then again Cummings probably thinks God is a bit of a duffer too. It’ll take more than a few words to gain forgiveness from some of us.
Having conceived, orchestrated, strategically directed and managed two of the biggest disasters to hit Britain, Brexit and the premiership of Boris Johnson, Cummings now tells us, with a sinister grin playing about those thin lips of his, that it was all about annoying his opponents, quite deliberately misleading the public, and generally getting his way, no matter who was paying any kind of cost. “That’s politics!” is his answer to everything.
Cummings, with his self-conscious arrogant smartness, is like an odd cross between the Mekon and Hannibal Lector, with Laura playing a role akin to Agent Clarice Starling.
We now discover that Cummings isn’t all that certain how Brexit will turn out, but he is supremely confident that Johnson was – and is – supremely unfit to be prime minister. The best that we can say about Cummings’s activities in the last few years was that he sought to save the life of Queen Elizabeth II, which, to be fair, is some service to the country. Apparently – there may be other versions of events, as they say – some time in the spring of 2020, just as Covid-19 was starting to attack the elderly – Johnson had put a freshly crumpled suit on, tugged his tie askew, ruffled his hair and scuffed his shoes and was all set to go the Palace to visit the sovereign when Cummings asked him what on earth he was doing. The prime minister’s opinion was apparently that he always went to have an audience on a Wednesday afternoon and the fact there was a bit of bug going around No 10 wasn’t going to change that: “Sod it, I’m going,” the PM said, claims Cummings. By the sounds of it, Cummings then virtually wrestled him to the ground before Johnson had the chance to “put a protective arm around” the then-94-year-old. The clincher was when Cummings asked Johnson how he thought it might play out in the media.
I suppose everyone knows Johnson’s shortcomings by now, because we see them virtually every day. What Cummings labelled a strange sense of self awareness – that means he can never take himself seriously as prime minister, the lack of any plan for anything, the panicky changes of mind and U-turns, the carelessness and the callousness, the whole experience of Britain being run by a jumped-up former newspaper columnist.
The fact is, though, that Cummings would still be perfectly content to be in No 10 and trying to steer the wobbly shopping trolley if only – as he portrays it – Carrie, now Mrs Shopping Trolley, hadn’t got involved. It was always a bit of a gamble, however: “I thought Boris Johnson would be so useless as prime minister, I thought he’d listen to some people who knew what they were talking about”. But he didn’t, doesn’t and never will. Superforecaster Dominic wasn't smart enough to see what was coming.
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