The Westminster anthill

 

[Read Part 1 of this ‘Sunday Special’ column here]

 

In part 2 I look at the effusions produced in The Sunday Times where, to nobody’s surprise, the Cummings ‘events’ are being given the ‘Leave’ spin. There’s one utterly amazing bit of information slipped out – see below!

First off, we’re informed that Cummings will blame Johnson for the covid death toll according to the Times reporters who write:

“Dominic Cummings is preparing a dossier of evidence that will attempt to blame Boris Johnson personally for the tens of thousands of deaths during the second wave of the pandemic.” (link, paywalled)

How can they possibly know this when Cummings made clear that he wouldn’t speak to the MSM? Are conjecture and suppositions now replacement for factual reporting? As of yet they’re not quoting ‘friends of Dom’ or ‘Cummings insiders’ – but hey, they have a tweet! That, and above all their torturous interpretation of it, is ‘evidence’ nowadays when writing for the Times:

“Last night, Cummings launched a fresh attack on the prime minister, suggesting the government had been too slow to shut the borders when the pandemic began. The former No 10 aide, who is seeking an urgent parliamentary inquiry into the response to the pandemic, appeared to criticise ministers for failing to introduce travel bans for more than nine months after the virus came to Britain. He tweeted that this was a “very important issue re learning from the disaster”, in response to a thread pointing at how Vietnam had insulated itself and limited its death toll to just 35.” (link, paywalled)

I’m sure the oracles of ancient times could learn a lot about how to interpret the innards of chickens from those modern-day reporters! Next though we do hear from ‘friends of Dom’, namely that he has ‘copies of everything and knows where the bodies are buried’. But there’s a new twist:

“According to friends, Cummings “went nuclear” because of fears No 10 was attempting to blame him for the leaks, leaving him exposed to a potential police investigation.”  (link, paywalled)

Why Cummings only became ‘afraid’ now, after that one-source-leak, is anybody’s guess. The reference to BJ and the attempt to justify this ‘one source-leak’ is interesting:

“Johnson’s decision to blame Cummings was a result of months of frustration following a series of leaks.” (link, paywalled)

We can therefore infer that this ‘Cummings was the ‘chatty rat’, this ‘dead cat on table’ strategy decision which we reported about yesterday here was at the very least sanctioned by BJ, if it didn’t indeed come from him. But that wasn’t sufficient for the Times. Under the gory headlines:

“Guerrilla warfare: Johnson steels himself for final assault from Cummings – Driven mad by weeks of wounding leaks, the prime minister has finally hit back against his former adviser — and he responded with gusto. Now No 10 is braced for more damaging revelations in front of MPs” (link, paywalled)

We’re presented with the image of a ‘wounded’ BJ – but that doesn’t suffice. It’s now all about treachery. Clearly, neither the Times writers nor indeed BJ or his ‘friends’ have ever heard that loyalty is a two-way street, that one cannot expect to keep on kicking someone without retaliation eventually taking place.

Mind you, I confess I am not aware of Cummings having traduced BJ in the months since he was kicked out of No 10. If he did, then the MSM have astonishingly and rather unexpectedly kept quiet about it. I would suggest though that RemainCentral is setting the scene for a repeat of their Cummings war which we ‘enjoyed’ a year ago. See this:

“Even Boris Johnson’s closest allies have compared the prime minister to one of Shakespeare’s most tragic heroes: King Lear. After arguably one of his toughest weeks in Downing Street, Johnson suffered his greatest betrayal when his once loyal lieutenant, Dominic Cummings, eviscerated him in a 1,000-word blog post. Those close to Johnson fear the treachery of his former chief adviser, accused of “systematic leaking”, has pushed the prime minister over the edge. Just like Lear, the PM has been driven half mad.” (link, paywalled)

Good grief – BJ is like King Lear? Don’t you have this in a smaller size? Now we’re supposed to believe that this alleged ‘treachery’ by ‘formerly loyal’ Cummings has driven BJ ‘half-mad’. Good to know that we have a ‘half-mad’ PM – only many of us would humbly suggest that BJ hasn’t been himself (I’m being exceedingly polite here!) ever since he had covid.

Next we come to the embellishment regarding that ‘Cummings fear’ mentioned above – this could only have been concocted in RemainCentral. It’s attributed to ‘Cummings friends’ which is odd since we were led to believe that he has no friends, but never mind that:

“According to friends, Cummings had one aim in posting the missive: to pre-empt a stitch-up by the “establishment” that could land him in prison — an outcome he has privately feared since details emerged of irregular spending during the Brexit referendum.” (link, paywalled)

There’s nothing at all about those ‘details’ – but something surely will stick. The next quote is a lovely example for projection, i.e. accusing someone of planning to do what one is doing oneself:

“Aides are only too conscious that Cummings has nothing to lose and believe he has enough “kompromat” to “destroy” Johnson when he gives evidence on Covid-19 to MPs on May 26. They are especially concerned about emails in which the prime minister is allegedly dismissive about the potential death toll from Covid — or quoted as being so.” (link, paywalled)

Here’s the source for that ‘King Lear’ description – yes, it’s another anonymous ‘insider’:

“One Downing Street insider said: “After the departure of his closest aides last year, the prime minister has become increasingly isolated and paranoid. He has become known in some circles as the King Lear prime minister and we all know how that ended up.” (link, paywalled)

Disregarding the whole sorry saga about payment from a Tory donor for Carrie’s redecorating of that flat above No 11, now investigated by the Electoral Commission; disregarding a description by ‘an aide’ of BJ ‘rampaging about No 10, in a King Lear mood, demanding who briefed against him’ – not ‘leaked’ you note! – we are told about BJ being bereft of trusted aides, Cummings in particular, aides who might have counselled against this one-source-leak. How sad – but note this one sentence in this article which confirms what we’ve suspected:

“Carrie Symonds, the PM’s fiancée, is understood to have played a pivotal role in the ousting of Cummings and had been encouraging Johnson to take action.” (link, paywalled)

Well, us pleas out here knew that already, without having ‘insider sources’! Next, here are attempts to denigrate BJ’s cabinet secretary and his chief of staff:

“The churn at No 10 is said to have left Johnson “vulnerable” and at the mercy of two relatively inexperienced operators: Simon Case, the 42-year-old cabinet secretary, and Dan Rosenfield, 44, his chief of staff. Neither man is deemed to have much political nous or Cummings’s “willingness to get down in the mud and fight”. […] Rosenfield has helped stabilise the No 10 operation and inject an apolitical professionalism in the building. But he is also seen by some as naive.” (link, paywalled)

Crikey – now the PM is ‘at the mercy’ of his cabinet secretary, installed recently with much fanfare, and of his chief of staff, ditto? Are they now to blame as well, one for being ‘naive’, allegedly? In what looks like a furious finale to the attempt of making us feel sorry for BJ and hating Cummings, there’s this totally unsubstantiated rumour, from ’sources’ of course:

“Opponents believe Cummings may be right to fear sanctions. They claim that MI5 has concluded that one person sent a WhatsApp message from the cabinet room just before 6pm on the day after the meeting last autumn where the new curbs in England were discussed. Six people were present: Johnson, Cummings, Cain, another political aide and two senior officials. […] MI5, it is claimed, has established that one person in the room had two SIM cards linked to them. That person, sources insist, was Cummings.” (link, paywalled)

Yes, we must believe that claim, unsubstantiated, because: MI5! In another article RemainCentral harks back to Brexit, making another unsubstantiated accusation in support of their war against Cummings:

“Cummings’ total war approach put backs up, not least in Buckingham Palace over the prorogation of parliament, but it was successful. Brexit, in a form, “got done”. (link, paywalled

Good gawd – so now it’s ‘because: Buckingham Palace!’ as well as MI5! Did Cummings run all of the government, not the PM? Was BJ his puppet all along? Really? Somehow I have a different recollection. However, even this writer cannot but slip in a mention of Carrie in his psychoanalysis of BJ:

“But there have always been two Johnsons: the man who likes to win at all costs and the man who needs to be loved, whose rare political skills can bring unlikely people together. Symonds is the main defender of this Boris.” (link, paywalled

Blimey – now I’m crying for poor old BJ! But: is Carrie the actual BJ-puppet master? shouldn’t we be told? Finally, in The Times editorial there’s one significant snippet of information being slipped out:

“The cabinet secretary, Simon Case, reportedly wants to take the prime minister’s phone away, because pretty much everyone in Westminster has the number. […] The appointment of Dan Rosenfield as No 10 chief of staff was meant to bring discipline to the operation. But having a prime minister personally ring round Fleet Street to start a knife fight with Dom Cummings, two weeks before key elections, is not exactly following the script.” (link, paywalled)

Is this a veiled hint that the ‘one source’ leaking the presumed identity of that ‘chatty rat’ was the PM himself? Is that the real reason why Cummings published his statement? Might he have kept quiet if that ‘source’ had been a SpAd? Moreover, can we now assume that leaks from ‘Downing Street insiders’ and ‘Downing Street sources’ are actually all coming from the PM himself? And if not him, from her upstairs? 

‘King Lear’ BJ has only got himself to blame for this whole mess, but let’s not forget his ‘handler’ upstairs, and especially not the aiders and abetters in the Westminster MSM. 

 

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