It would have been better to’ve let sleeping dogs lie …
There’s a veritable menagerie in No 10. From ‘chatty rats’ to ‘dead cats’, from hornet nests and sleeping dogs there’s everything to be found. No wonder ‘our MSM’ are having a field day this morning – and all because of Dominic Cummings. This is surely strange: weren’t SAGE going to publish their latest yesterday afternoon? Were there no other relevant news? Covid? Russia? China? No – not if you’re living in the navel-gazing Westminster bubble.
The battle lines have now been drawn between No 10’s ‘establishment’, the ‘court of Carrie’ and indeed the whole Westminster bubble – and their designated enemy, Dominic Cummings. Today is not just about ‘rats’ and ‘dead cats’ in No 10, it’s also about the disdain for us, the people, the despised peasants, which BJ was unable to hide as he’s fighting for his political life.
Some of you might have seen my comment post yesterday afternoon, posted under this article. As expected, ‘our MSM’ have gone full out in their attempts to justify their Cummings warfare, trying to retrieve some sort of dignity for themselves. In their mammoth article (link) the DM only quotes relevant passages from Cummings’ blog.
The broadsheets both quote the blog text in full (paywalled link, link paywalled), helpfully interspersed with their interpretations. As editor I was delighted to note the difference in the lay-outs: the DT has the Cummings text in bold, the Times has their ‘interpretation’ in bold. Both are trying desperately to guide us, to accept their interpretations while subtly denigrating Cummings.
However, I believe that you, dear friends, are eminently capable of thinking for yourselves, that you don’t need ‘guidance’ in how to read and interpret properly the Cummings text. I believe you might like to read the whole thing for yourselves, without ‘help’, and so here’s the link to Cumming’s blog.
Back to ‘our MSM’. I’ll start with the BJ reply, headlined in the DM but downplayed elsewhere. This is where BJ’s mask slipped:
“Boris Johnson last night said the British public ‘did not give a monkey’s’ about the Downing Street leak blame claims that have rocked Whitehall, as he denied attempting to block an official inquiry into the issue in order to protect his fiancee’s friend.” (link)
Sorry, BJ – you and your advisers, especially ‘her upstairs’, should’ve well let sleeping dogs lie and not poked this hornet’s nest by letting ‘a source’ tell the MSM that Cummings was that ‘chatty rat’, the systemic leaker. We the people give troops of monkeys about being lied to, about machinations in No 10, not least because the one man whose aim was to help reform the civil serpents was so ignominiously kicked out by you, Mr PM, last year.
I’ll just add the predictable reaction from ‘a No 10 spokesman’ which is so devoid of content that this person might as well have kept their mouth shut. The DT reports:
“Number 10 has hit back, denying that any rules had been broken or that Mr Johnson had intervened in the leak inquiry. A No 10 spokesman said: “This government is entirely focused on fighting coronavirus, delivering vaccines and building back better.” (paywalled link)
Strewth! Who knew! Does this mean BJ and his government isn’t ‘focussed’ on forcing us into economically devastating Green Cr*ppery? Who knew! Does this mean BJ is still going to keep his covid politburo going, with vaccine passports and more booster jabs and all that jazz?
Is this what he was trying to hide by employing that ‘dead cat’ strategy? It surely must now be obvious that the ‘spokespersons’, the ‘sources’ in No 10 and Whitehall together with ‘our MSM’ are complicit in hiding a whole lot of important issues from us peasants, not least because they assume wrongly that we either don’t give a monkey’s or that we’re too thick to understand.
Next, a summary of the various overt and covert ‘interpretations’ of the Cummings statement. There’s the headline blaring that ‘Cummings declares war on Johnson’ (paywalled link). There’s the description of the statement as being ‘rancorous’. Then there was a first desperate attempt at denigration: ‘He published a diatribe’! Well, ‘diatribe’ is “a forceful and bitter verbal attack against someone”, according to the dictionary. That is not how Cummings’ statement reads, as you can see for yourselves. But give that reporter a sugar lump for trying to label the whole thing as ‘bitter’ which should therefore be disregarded.
One interpretation of what Cummings did, leading to his expulsion, made me giggle. Referring to Cummings’ attempts to make the civil service work for us – an ‘obsession’, you understand – the author writes:
“In No 10, he assembled a Napoleonic power structure with strict discipline and centralised decision-making. Individual Cabinet members felt they had been reduced to nodding dogs: a role they accepted until the Brexit mission was unaccomplished [sic!].” (paywalled link)
Good grief – is that writer insinuating that Cummings regarded himself as Napoleon? Well, that’s a terrible comparison! An educated person, trying to sound historically erudite, might have referred to Cardinals Richelieu or Mazarin.
Cummings named names in his statement – one of which is a certain Henry Newman. He’s a ‘Goveite’ and definitely a ‘friend of Carrie’ who described him as ‘one of her favourite people’ (paywalled link). Newman was promoted together with other’ friends of Carrie’ and they’re apparently referred to as ‘the PM’s musketeers’ – ho ho ho. The existence of this Carrie Cabal is actually acknowledged but not without slapping Cummings down:
“While the veracity of Mr Cummings’s claims are unknown, it is this personal connection to Mr Johnson and his fiancée that lies at the heart of the controversy.” (paywalled link)
The Times has this statement from ‘a government source’ which also fails spectacularly. It’s as if that ‘source’ hasn’t read the Cummings statement in which he offers to provide proof to the current Mandarin of Mandarins, Mr Simon Case. We’re told that Mr Newman didn’t leak because he’s still got his job:
“A government source said: “The allegations against Henry Newman are false. He wouldn’t be in Downing Street if he was suspected of leaking.” (link, paywalled)
Yes, that’s convincing! No 10, the BJ ‘musketeers’, the ‘friends of Carrie’ and all the MSM writers who’d love to be Carrie’s friend as well and are kowtowing to her in a sickening manner simply don’t get it: this isn’t about Cummings bad – Carrie good. This is about an unelected person wielding such huge power at the core of government that competent people can be dismissed and replaced by her ‘friends’. I’ll only point out in passing that the term of ‘chatty rat’ points to the rather infantile mindset of those musketeers. A mandarin would never have used such an expression.
But all is not well inside this No 10 – MSM cabal. For example, one writer acknowledges through gritted teeth that actually, Cummings couldn’t have leaked those Dyson exchanges with BJ because copies of those exchanges were widespread and that Treasury officials might have been more than happy to do the leaking themselves because they were aghast at the covid spending spree (paywalled link).
Yesterday evening, after the Cummings blog had hit the internet, there was a first, tentative explanation for the fingering of Cummings as ‘systematic leaker’. It was interpreted as an attempt by No 10 for employing the ‘dead cat on the table’ strategy, to deflect attention from the ‘Tory Sleaze’ reports. If so, that backfired phenomenally.
It was also seen as a preemptive attempt at discrediting Cummings in the run-up to his appearance at another HoC Select Committee on May 26th. I’ve marked that day in my diary – this will be ‘Grand Cinema’! Here are ‘sources’ outside No 10 and what they told the Times is quite staggering:
“The fear is that Cummings will now use his appearance to let rip and attack the prime minister in a way that could be deeply damaging among voters who care nothing about WhatsApp messages or palace intrigue. “The issue is the select committee appearance,” said once source. “At the last one (select committee appearance) Dom was pretty well behaved. He took a swipe at Hancock but it could have been a hell of a lot worse. Boris has made it much more likely that Dom’s evidence will be more forthright than it otherwise would have been.” Another added: “He’s going to be forensic. He’s going to say things that are verifiable, that are backed up by documents and emails. He will be laser-like about it.” (link, paywalled)
Indeed – that’s precisely what Cummings wrote in his statement. He wants a proper Parliamentary enquiry of the whole Covid mess, people testifying under oath. The DT writes:
“Cummings is saying he knows where the bodies are buried and an inquiry will dig them up. He wants every email he has received or sent published – even covering his lockdown breaking trip to County Durham. In other words Cummings doesn’t mind what embarrassment is heaped on him. He is signalling he just doesn’t care and that risks being potentially incredibly dangerous for the Prime Minister.” (paywalled link)
Just so! Yesterday I wrote that this politically inane attempt by that one ‘source’, of blaming Cummings for ‘leaks’, was a huge political mistake by BJ. The Times, in their editorial this morning, goes on step further:
“While the recent string of leaks have raised troubling questions about the conduct of ministers in their dealings with allies and donors, there was little sign so far that it is damaging the government politically, let alone the prime minister himself. Yet Mr Johnson has now started a very public war with the one person with the ability to inflict serious damage. And the battleground is the one where Mr Johnson is most vulnerable: his own integrity.” (link, paywalled)
Precisely. This is a ditch of BJ’s own digging, with the help of Carrie, and he’ll probably die in it. That’s what happens when the political kiddies in No 10 cannot let sleeping dogs lie and employ ‘dead cats’.
I leave it to you to decide if this is due to plain hybris, to over-reach – or simple political stupidity running out of control. One thing’s for sure: this will certainly end in tears.