Dominic Cummings left 10 Downing Street Friday afternoon. With a cardboard box in his hands, Boris Johnson’s famous top advisor left the iconic door.
The Financial Times reported that he was going to quit before Christmas, but Johnson sent him out on Friday afternoon, after he had received whatsapp messages that would damage his future wife Carrie Symonds.
As the mastermind of the referendum campaign and the victory at the Brexit election a year ago, Cummings had a lot of credit. Conservative MPs, however, have always considered the Brexit strategist to be a Trojan horse. It was up to Cummings to bring the Brexit to a successful conclusion, and he had already suggested at the beginning of this year that he would only stay a year. He brought not only his confidants to Downing Street, but also an iron discipline and focus. Opposition was not tolerated by the Mad Mullahs, as his followers were called.
This approach works well in a campaign, but not in the CIVID-19 pandemic that suddenly broke out. Government turned out to be harder than campaigning. Britain’s Coronation policy was characterised by misjudgments, empty slogans, dubious models and nepotism in procurement. In addition, Cummings undermined his own lockdown by breaking the rules with his family. Conservative members of the House of Commons saw it with increasing desperation. Especially the lockdown policy promoted by Cummings is very bad in these circles.
The prime minister himself bounced like a ball between the two camps: Cummings & Co., compared to the Conservatives. Johnson tried to keep everyone friendly, and as a result, he alienated everyone. More and more often, the question was asked who was actually ruling the country. In fact, whether the country was even ruled at all. On Wednesday, Johnson’s fiancee seized Symonds by holding the appointment of Cummings’ watchdog Lee Cain as chief of staff. That was the signal to Cummings that was coming to an end. A year ago, Cummings, Johnson and Symonds were still laughing in a photo taken on Election Night.
Two events have contributed to Cummings’ fall. First of all, the new lockdown he put Johnson through against his will. This was found to be based on dubious models and statistics. In addition, there was the election of Joe Biden, who forced Johnson to think about life after the Brexit. A major interface between London and Washington will become climate policy, a subject close to Symonds ‘ heart, and Cummings will find it difficult to get along. Next year, Boris Johnson will host the UN climate summit in Glasgow.
While Cummings was spotted at his North London residence with bottles of champagne that were quickly smashed, there were noises from Brussels that the departure of the Brexit ideologists might be a sign that Johnson is still in need of a Brexit agreement. We need to find out next week. There is no change of course on the British side. The No Deal preparations continue unabated, even though work on a megapark parking for trucks in Kent was stopped due to excessive rainfall. This is a project by Michael Gove, Brexit minister and patron of Cummings.