So, what are the Government going to do about this Dom fella then?
It has been almost a year since Cummings departed Downing Street, but we are very much still in the destructive post break-up stage. It started with random, overlong blog posts railing against Boris, Carrie, the civil service, and the evil ‘SW1’. Since then things have escalated, first to twitter threads 100 tweets long, then to seven hours of explosive select committee testimony, and now to an exclusive BBC interview with Laura Kuenssberg.
Dom’s motives for this grenade throwing marathon remain unclear (although some suspect it is about shaping the narrative and preparing the ground ahead of the public inquiry into Covid). But it doesn’t matter why he is doing this. What matters is that he is, and the Government essentially have three options for what to do about it: 1) ignore him; 2) try to discredit him; or 3) come clean about the mistakes he is revealing.
Clearly, they aren’t going to do number 3. Perhaps if Dom was claiming minor mishaps they could, but he is literally asserting that the Prime Minister is an egocentric, clueless, man child, who cares more about appeasing the Telegraph than saving lives. Not an easy confession to make.
So the choice is essentially between ignoring Dom or slagging him off. Right now, the tactic seems to be more the former, but if the man once described as a ‘career psychopath’ keeps at it much longer, surely the Government will have to go to war. The good news for Boris is that, if it comes down to a credibility battle, Cummings is loathed by the public. He boasts a staggering -74 net approval rating. For a man who clearly thinks he is the puppet master of public opinion, he hasn’t done very well at managing his own image.
But there are a few pieces of bad news for Boris. Firstly, Dom has incriminating Whatsapp messages to back up some of his claims. He drops these atomic Dom bombs every so often, usually wedged somewhere in a 10,000 word blog, and the Government must find it incredibly hard to pre-empt what he will reveal next. Secondly, even when he doesn’t have hard evidence, the things he is saying sound so terrifyingly believable. Can you imagine Boris telling everyone Covid is just the new swine flu? Yep. Can you imagine Boris breezily announcing that he is off to see the Queen without considering the possibility the visit could kill her? Yep. Does it sound plausible that Boris Johnson lacks his own clear plan and that Downing Street was a battle between more competent people trying to steer him. Absolutely.
So therein lies the problem for the Government. They are faced with a determined enemy, who knows where the bodies are buried, has some evidence to back up his claims, and is saying things many will think seems believable. Is there any way the Government can stop him? A showdown is on the cards.