POLITICS ACROSS THE POND—In an exclusive column for the Pavlovic Today, MP Andrew Bridgen writes why PM Boris Johnson is currently expending so much of his political capital to keep his most trusted advisor, Dominic Cummings, in his job.
To many in the US, Dominic Cummings will be a complete unknown, but here in the UK, he is famous or infamous depending on your view, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief political advisor. Things few people know about Dominic Cummings, he is not a member of the Conservative Party despite his advisory role in Government. He is not the highest-paid advisor as he draws a salary of £100 000 per annum. Cummings states that no one is worth more than £100 000 per year.
Cummings is not an elected politician and so does not have to answer directly for his actions to the people, however those who place him in his position of considerable and probably understated responsibility do.
I don’t want to go into whether the current scandal and allegations of” breaking the lockdown” are all true or are being pushed by those who oppose his politics and his methods. One thing is clear is that this issue has dominated the headlines and the news broadcasts in the UK for more than 48 hours and does not look like abating any time soon.
There are many old political adages about political advisors and their roles. The first being that you should never let yourself be the story, always be in the background, but Dominic Cummings is a man who excels at ripping up the rulebook, indeed he has made it the focus of this political career. Cummings is almost universally detested by the establishment mostly because they fear him, which many would regard as reason enough to support him whatever he has or has not done. This Svengali-like figure has always courted controversy and often appeared to revel in it, not content with ruffling feathers but giving them a good plucking.
For those of you that don’t know, Cummings was credited with masterminding the successful Leave campaign in the 2016 Referendum, a true David and Goliath contest and one which I supported and campaigned for vigorously.
However, in the process of winning the official nonalienation for the “Leave” campaign, he caused, perhaps understandably, considerable enmity with other leave supporting organisations. Dominic Cummings style appears to be to win at all costs and let’s face it, there are no prizes for second place in politics, they are just the first of the losers. The animosity over the campaign for the nomination was nothing compared to the main event, the fall out from which has broken many political careers in the UK, probably too many to mention. Prime Ministers were humbled repeatedly by his mobilising public campaigns.
This is why Boris Johnson is currently expending so much of his political capital to keep his most trusted advisor in his job.
In politics it is said that” if you want a friend, then buy yourself a dog” and Cummings desperately needs friends now, the problem is that he has even repeatedly kicked the dog over the last few years. He is difficult to deal with in my experience and given to foul-mouthed tirades.
As I write this Cummings immediate future hangs in the balance and the next few hours will be very telling, it still could go either way. It is also said that those who burn brightest often burn out quickly.
Whatever happens, Dominic Cummings will never be far away from politics in the UK. As the great force of disruption and a serial winner, we probably need him.
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