In yesterday’s debate in the HoC Remain MPs – Tories as well as opposition ones – repeatedly showed their hatred for Johnson’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings. This was expertly fuelled by MSM interviews of ‘concerned’ women politicians who kept telling us that Cummings had a female Special Adviser (SpAd) ‘frogmarched out of No 10’, even ‘with a gun at her head’.
In these days of universal presence of smartphones, a photo of that poor thing, frogmarched with gun at her head, would surely have been splashed all over the the place by now. Can we therefore say “photo or it didn’t happen” in this way? In any case, both the DT and the Times went to town on Dominic Cummings, and as both articles are paywalled, we’ll take a closer look at both.
The DT’s headline is a shocker: “Dominic Cummings personally sabotaged Tory rebels’ compromise plan in foul-mouthed phone call” (paywalled link). Oh dear! And what do we read? He used the now ubiquitous but nevertheless deplorable ‘f-word’! Excuse me, but nowadays, when this seems to be the most frequently used word in the English language, that surely cannot shock our hard-boiled reporters, never mind MPs? According to ‘sources’, which are, surprise surprise, disgruntled MPs, this is what happened:
“Dominic Cummings personally sabotaged a compromise plan put forward by the Conservative MPs who went on to rebel against the Government, the Telegraph has learnt.
The Prime Minister’s chief adviser launched a foul-mouth tirade against former business secretary Greg Clark after he proposed the government set aside a day after the October European summit for MPs to vote on a no-deal Brexit.
The proposal would have meant MPs would have been able to see the shape of Boris Johnson’s negotiation plan before voting on whether a further extension to the negotiations was necessary.
The Telegraph understands Mr Clark made the suggestion during the rebels’ meeting with Mr Johnson on Tuesday, and it was enthusiastically received by his colleagues.
The Prime Minister told Mr Clark someone from his team would be in contact to discuss the idea further, and later that afternoon he received a call from Mr Cummings.
According to a source in the rebel group, Mr Cummings said: “You Tory MPs need to get it through your f—ing heads that we are leaving the EU on Oct 31.” (paywalled link)
Notice how these MPs are now trying to get their excuses in, to show that they are innocent, that they only wanted to help and surely, in order to prevent Brexit it’s fine to stab the government in the back? The chief whip had written a letter to all MPs telling them that voting on what is now called the Benn Bill would be a vote against explicit government policy and sanctioned with the withdrawal of the whip and all that entails. Apparently they regarded themselves as sacrosanct – one was, after all, the grandson of Churchill, and the other a former Chancellor of the Exchequer! There’s more, and it goes to the real reason this piece was written:
“The Telegraph has been told by two sources in the rebel group that relations between Mr Johnson and Mr Cummings are becoming strained thanks to the behaviour of his chief adviser.
One of the 21 rebels said they are hearing of “huge tensions in Downing street” following Tuesday’s defeat.“This was not supposed to be the way it worked,” the MP said. “He could well find himself in a situation where this bill has passed and he cannot get his election, so he is trapped.Frustration at the conduct of the Downing Street official, who acted as campaign chief for Vote Leave in the 2016 EU referendum, spilled onto the airwaves on Wednesday. The veteran Conservative MP for North Thanet, Sir Roger Gale, took to the television to dub him a “foul-mouthed oaf [who is] throwing his weight around”, (paywalled link)
This article, with its veiled hints that Cummings ought to be sacked because he created this mess, was published at 8.13pm on Wednesday, the 4th of September. It provided the background for the article in the Times which was published at 12.01 am on the 5th of September, with the more innocuous itile: “Rein in right-hand man Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson is told” (link, paywalled). The following txt gives the game away – the Brexit wreckers want him gone, or at least de-fanged and de-clawed:
“The former campaign director of Vote Leave has been credited with being the architect of the prime minister’s decision to remove the whip from Tory rebels this week. It is only the latest accusation of heavy-handed tactics hurled at him.
The prime minister was told yesterday to rein in his right-hand man, according to MPs present at a meeting of the 1922 Committee. Mr Cummings was accused of viewing parliamentarians as a problem rather than part of the solution in delivering Brexit. His name was also repeatedly invoked in the Commons, as MPs painted a picture of him as the puppet master inside No 10. Margot James, a former minister and one of the 21 parliamentarians who lost the whip on Tuesday night, recalled a remark made by Margaret Thatcher and said: “The Great Lady . . . once said ‘Advisers advise, ministers decide’. Can I ask the prime minister to bear that statement closely in mind in relation to his own chief adviser Dominic Cummings.” Her remark won applause, which is banned in the chamber under parliamentary rules.” (link, paywalled)
Under the current Speaker, applause is now routine … and attacks on a chief adviser – well, it’s novel, isn’t it! Can anyone remember such attacks on Messrs Campbell and Mandelson during Mr Blair’s Premiership? Or on Ms May’s chief adviser, now in the HoL, Mr Barwell?
The point is that they rightly regard Dominic Cummings as ‘the Enemy’, winning Brexit (with some help from others whom we won’t mention …) with the Leave campaign he ran – forget all the other Leave campaigners, they are not chief advisers. This next quote shows why he is deemed to be so sinister:
“An avid student of military history and an admirer of the ancient Chinese general Sun Tzu, Mr Cummings is thought to take inspiration from war theory for his unorthodox approach to political strategy.” (link, paywalled)
Oh dear! That’s bad, isn’t it! He reads books! I wonder if it has occurred to those MPs and reporters to go and read that book themselves? It’s not long. The next quote shows why this whole thing is being played up now, and never mind that it’s all based on the gossiping of a couple of disgruntled Tory MPs:
“There is said to be a split in Downing Street, with Mr Cummings and his former Vote Leave colleagues on one side and on the other a City Hall faction led by Ed Lister, the chief of staff who worked with Mr Johnson when he was London mayor. One Tory MP told The Times: “The Vote Leave operation in Downing Street is way too aggressive. Whereas Ed Lister and his team are less brash and more professional, business-like. They’re also experienced in more than politics — business, culture, the arts. That was one of Boris’s strengths in City Hall — he kept a very diverse group around him.” Friends of Mr Cummings said he was sanguine about the media attention, believing that stories about him have little impact outside Westminster.” (link, paywalled)
There it is – the aim of the Brexit wreckers working en coulisse: get rid of Cummings and we can stop Brexit. Looking into my crystal ball, I can see their next target: Jacob Rees-Mogg … and then surely Johnson will fall, and with him, Brexit.