Dominic Cummings, the latest self-appointed genius to run 10 Downing Street, is the most deluded of them all

What is the Conservative Party for, after all, what is Conservatism, if it’s not to smash everything to bits and rebuild it in accordance with the blog posts of some wide-eyed zealot?

Tom Peck
Political Sketch Writer
Thursday 08 August 2019 08:57 BST
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Dominic Cummings says he 'doesn't know very much about very much'

Into the dawn light, the great man strode, ready to do great things. Dominic Cummings, vanguard and as yet sole member of the gilet noir movement, emerging into his new life, where the TV news cameras wait outside his house every morning.

Cummings stomped up his own exterior steps as if they were the establishment he is about to crush. Well, some of the establishment, anyway. Not all the establishment. Not, say, his father-in-law, the baronet Sir Humphry Wakefield, nor any of the extended family, including, to take a randomised sample, the 1st Viscount De L’Isle, the 1st Baron Howick of Glendale or the 5th Earl Grey, from whom the family pile, Chillingham Castle, was acquired. The castle is also, we understand, fine for now.

It’s the rest of the establishment that needs to worry. Politicians, the civil service, the media, all the broken things that were doing such a terrible job of running the country before Cummings came along in 2016 and incinerated them with his big flamethrower of lies. They’re the ones who need to panic.

But first, there’s the small matter of the imminent constitutional crisis to get through. Stepping into his government car, Cummings answered two questions, put to him by Sky News, directly. On the first, relating to the subject of his own arrogance, Cummings informed: “I don’t think I’m arrogant. I don’t know very much.”

And with his next breath we would learn that, on the subject of his imminent row-cum-constitutional crisis with former attorney general Dominic Grieve QC, “Mr Grieve will see what he’s right about.”

If anything, it was lazy writing. “I’m not arrogant, course I’m not, but the former attorney general is about to get taught a harsh lesson in constitutional law, by me.” Not since Homer Simpson sat on a sofa trying to get to grips with the mystery of his own obesity while simultaneously eating donuts, can any TV viewing audience have had irony spoonfed to them with such generous ease.

It is important, at this stage, to remember that Dominic Cummings is a genius. Indeed, to get to the seventh paragraph of an article about Dominic Cummings and to not have already mentioned his unarguable genius may be a world record. This is the genius, don’t forget, who, three years ago, threatened to sue ITV for inviting Nigel Farage on to its Brexit debate show.

And who, more recently, told all the government’s special advisors that if they leaked anything to the newspapers, he would personally intervene to find out who they are and then sack them. So terrified were they of this news, delivered by the terrifying Dominic Cummings, that it was itself leaked within about 10 minutes. No one has yet been sacked.

Cummings is merely the latest in a long line of geniuses to run things for the Conservatives in 10 Downing Street. First there was Andy Coulson, whose genius took him to prison. Then there was Steve Hilton, whose genius took him to a life of Donald Trump fanboyism on Fox News. Then there was Craig Oliver, whose genius took him to losing the referendum campaign. Then there was Nick Timothy, whose genius took him to tirelessly writing self-exculpating columns for the crime of accidentally detonating the full holy trinity: his career, his prime minister and his country.

But the latest genius is of a different order. Part Lenin, Part Prospero, part basement-dwelling keyboard warrior, Cummings has big ideas for rebuilding everything, drawn, and this definitely shouldn’t worry you at all, primarily from reading lots and lots and lots of books about Otto von Bismarck.

Because human history is in absolutely no way littered with self-appointed geniuses, with their big ideas on how to solve the world’s ills, who are so very obviously right that it doesn’t matter what they have to break to get there. In the end, they always take you to the promised land, these people, so there’s definitely no reason to panic.

What is the Conservative Party for, after all, what is Conservatism, if it’s not to smash everything to bits and rebuild it in accordance with the 25,000 word blog posts of some wide-eyed zealot?

Still, at least some of the establishment will be spared. It will be up to them to sort out the mess once this latest genius is done, which might just be around about the end of October.

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