Will the Prime Minister’s handler be saved by his rambling account of his family’s misdemeanours? Probably. The Tories need him too much.
Cummings is an ad-man. He knows the power of a pithy punchline. It is he who put the untruthful Brexit message on that side of that bus. It is he who invented Take Back Control. It is he who coined Get Brexit Done. Why then, did the master of pithiness go for an over-extended account of his moment-by-moment experience of being an ordinary person? Even I stopped listening after 25 minutes as it went on and on to explain, as if reasonable, driving 30 miles to a beauty spot on his wife’s birthday to see if his eyes were working, and then the surprising coincidence of coming down with coronavirus as soon as he arrived at his parental estates in anticipation of him and his wife getting it. What timing! Hang on, didn’t she say in her touching piece for the Today programme that she did have it already? And didn’t she say they woke up to London in lockdown? Hmm…
Why should we not trust his distended self-justifications in the Rose Garden? For me, it’s because he has a track record. He’s bluffer with a disregard for the constraints of democracy. For example, he refused to attend the Brexit Select Committee to answer for his bendy behaviour during the Brexit campaign. He was pivotal in the campaign which saw Cambridge Analytica raid our personal data to send targeted messages that won the day.
He’s an anti-democrat, a true son of the ruling class elite and a product of the Oxbridge set. He’s not even a brilliant maverick, just a political careerist giving us his ‘humble man’ act. Johnson should call his bluff, not cultivate it.
Sue Hackman worked with Dominic Cummings at the DfE where she was Chief Adviser on School Standards.