Well – now we know! We know who must’ve done all the briefings against Dominic Cummings, we know how this battle ended – but above all we know now why this battle was fought in the first place. The choice of words and expressions in our oh-so-praiseworthy MSM make this abundantly clear.
Before I go into particulars let me explain why this ‘massacre at No10’ is important – for Brexit. Anyone who hasn’t lived on a remote island these last four years is fully aware that the main drivers for all the Project Fear scenarios were sitting in the Treasury. We had George Osborne, supporting the Remain PM Cameron, we had Phil Hammond supporting the Remain PM May. Their overt and covert influence to stymy Brexit was there for all Leavers to see and record.
There were other Remainers in May’s cabinet and part of their success was that they worked in concert with their Remain Mandarins who in their turn were allied with the most powerful Whitehall department, the Treasury.
After the reshuffle, the PM and the top Government departments – Treasury (Rishi Sunak), Home Office (Priti Patel), Foreign Office (Dominic Raab) – are all in the hands of Leavers. One change had been predicted by political commentators: the Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, was for the chop. And so it came to pass. I’m not the only one who’ll miss his mellifluous, booming voice – see this little paragraph from the DT’s sketch writer:
“Yes, Geoffrey Cox – the Brian Blessed of the Bar – had been fired. What SORROW, gentle reader! O what WOE! No more shall the House RESOUND to his mighty ROAR! Let us HOPE that the Cabinet’s LOSS is the theatre’s GAIN!” (paywalled link)
His replacement though got nary a mention – which is rather typical for our two-faced ‘quality’ press who bemoan the ‘lack of diversity’ in Johnson’s new cabinet:
“Boris Johnson’s new top team is more male, white and privately educated than his previous cabinet. Yesterday’s reshuffle means his full cabinet has one fewer woman and one fewer minister from an ethnic minority. […] The cabinet is also significantly more dominated by Oxbridge, with 46 per cent having attended either Oxford or Cambridge, up from 36 per cent.” (link, paywalled)
When even the comment posters on this RemainCentral article write that it’s about ability and not diversity, you know that there’s some hope left for some of the London centric readership. So it’s somewhat strange if not unexpected that RemainCentral hasn’t made much of the appointment of the new Attorney General: Suella Braverman.
I recall Ms Braverman as one of the ministers resigning from David Davis’ DexEU department as the Chequers ghastliness took shape. The other was of course Steve Baker. I congratulate her on her appointment. There’s a brief CV of Suella Braverman in the DM (link) with the DT writing thus, quoting from an article she wrote recently:
“A barrister who has said that the courts should stay out of politics has been appointed as the Government’s most senior lawyer amid Boris Johnson’s growing battle with the judiciary. […] The appointment of Cambridge law graduate Mrs Braverman will set off alarm bells for judges after she said Parliament must “retrace power ceded to the courts” in an article last month. She wrote: “Repatriated powers from the EU will mean precious little if our courts continue to act as political decision-maker, pronouncing on what the law ought to be and supplanting Parliament. Traditionally, Parliament made the law and judges applied it. But today, our courts exercise a form of political power.” She also said that while the Human Rights Act was “noble in its intentions”, “the concept of ‘fundamental’ human rights has been stretched beyond recognition”.” (paywalled link)
That’s an excellent indicator for one of Johnson’s aims, to rein in the Judiciary, especially when we reflect that and how Brussels aims to shackle us regardless, by trying to make the ECJ the final arbiter – a court where there won’t be any British representative. Allow me also this irresistible aside: when the combined Remain-Left is going to attack Ms Braverman – as they will – we can accuse them of both racism and misogyny. What’s not to like!
The signs for a proper Brexit look good so far provided the new Chancellor of the Exchequer won’t let himself be domesticated by his Mandarins. This brings us to the Javid-Cummings saga – or should I say ‘warfare’!
RemainCentral is of course fully on the side of the former Chancellor which tells you something about some of the reasons why Johnson was happy to accept his resignation: A Remainer in Leave clothing. That’s correct: Mr Javid wasn’t booted out, he resigned (link).
The official reason given was that Mr Javid could not accept that his SpAds would come under the supervision of Cummings. His remarks, that ‘no self-respecting chancellor would accept these conditions (to work in concert with No10’s SpAds)’ are all over the MSM who must now make do without negative briefings from No11. Here’s a more reasonable summary:
“While easy to blame the biggest scalp of Thursday’s reshuffle on an increasingly toxic “battle of the briefings” between Number 10 and 11, in fact the departure of one of the shortest serving chancellors in history speaks more of Boris Johnson’s ambitions than petty rivalries. Having once privately described the Treasury as the “heart of Remain”, blaming it for spewing out Project Fear “mumbo jumbo” over Brexit, Johnson was always determined for the Downing Street neighbours to be more “Cameron and Osborne” and less “Blair and Brown”.” (paywalled link)
RemainCentral has several articles and opinion pieces fulminating against this ‘power grab’ by No10, five of them at the last count. There’s one point on which both the DT and the Times agree: this is Johnson’s attempt ‘to bring the Treasury to heel’ (paywalled links: here and here), diverging on regarding this as a good or bad thing. By making this exclusively about Cummings, RemainCentral is bent on keeping their Cummings warfare going:
“Now he [Javid] has gone for no less a reason than that the prime minister’s consigliere Dominic Cummings wanted to consolidate his power base. The consequence is a cabinet full of cartoon characters, which is just as Mr Cummings wants it.” (link, paywalled)
The Cabinet ministers might keep in mind who has labelled them as ‘cartoon characters’. Couched in terms of sorrowful warnings, that such attempts to ‘boss the Treasury seldom work’ – just as having a GE in December would lead to disaster because it ‘has never worked’ – this next quote from yet another article in RemainCentral shows that the writer is happy to use smears without providing evidence:
“Predictably, the embarrassing loss of the chancellor on reshuffle day has been presented by friends of Dominic Cummings as a triumph for the tea-cosy-wearing Svengali. Chief adviser Cummings hated Javid and wanted a compliant replacement.” (link, paywalled)
Articles about the dangers of ‘power grabs’ abound, of Johnson not ‘tolerating dissent’. In their ‘hate Cummings’ attitude, they overlook some valid reasons, explained by Benedict Spence in his article in the DT:
“there was legitimacy to Cummings’ gripes. The noises coming from the Treasury were distinctly at odds with what he wanted, and what the country expected. Say what you will of the former Vote Leave chief, but he has been on the right side of all the major issues the country has discussed in the past decade — he understood what the public wanted better than anyone else both during the EU referendum, and the general election.” (paywalled link)
The Treasury leaks regarding the forthcoming budget might conceivably also have had something to do with the alacrity with which Johnson accepted Javid’s resignation. It seems irrelevant though when the only view is that “Cummings must be hated’. See this:
“Talk of tax hikes, a pensions raid and plenty more was already sowing division among those who, just months ago, put Boris Johnson into Number 10. Majority or not, Cummings will have known better than anybody that twice in that time, when the Tories have abandoned their heartlands, new powers have risen almost from nowhere to fill the void on the right.” (paywalled link)
I find it quite illuminating that in all those reports, be they pro- or anti-Cummings, we read about power struggles between No10 and No11, that other PMs had to put up with ‘a prickly chancellor’. This is true only if you believe and hope with all Remainers that somehow Brexit can be reined in if only we could get back to ‘business as usual’, according to the books on politics and government:
“Whereas the prime minister is concerned with the overall political fortunes of the government, which can always be improved with the generous assistance of public money, the chancellor’s task is to safeguard the public finances.” (link, paywalled)
This ‘relationship’ has been abused by the previous PMs and their Chancellors, to deny us Brexit even after our vote four years ago. Remainers disregard that Johnson only got his mandate because he promised to get Brexit done. To that end he cannot allow the foot-dragging and interference of the Treasury.
If there’s one thing we all know it’s that Cummings was and is an Arch-Leaver par excellence. If Johnson wants to achieve Brexit, he and his other Leave ministers need to be free from Remain leaking and sniping inside and outside their departments.
That is where Cummings comes in. That’s why the metro-elites in Westminster hate him. Now more than ever they’ll try to get rid of him. He’s the one bulwark against Remain in this government. And that’s why I’ve spent time and space on our “Cummings Watch”.
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