We all know a Dominic Cummings. The crazed ex-boyfriend threatening to post revenge porn on the internet unless you give him his favourite jumper back, apologise for not turning up to that dinner with his mum and admit, in no uncertain terms, it was all your fault the relationship ended in tatters.
Cummings has turned into all singing, all dancing circus act, playing to the tune of the Westminster elite he despises so much. The former No10 aide and Brexit campaigner claims to have a “crucial historical document” exposing Boris Johnson’s botched decision making during the pandemic. In a bizarre, but unsurprising, turn of events, Cummings asked his loyal Twitter following of oddballs, journalists and bemused MPs if he should sell off the document as a non-fungible token and send the proceeds to charity, or hand it over to a House of Commons committee designated to scrutinise choices made during the pandemic.
Cummings was betrayed by his front man. The man whose celebrity brought him into Downing Street and was supposed to give him the reins to government once he was installed. And now Cummings is out for blood, by any means possible.
His appearance at the Health Select Committee next week will be entertaining. But it will also be the thing Cummings vowed to eschew when Johnson took over: a Westminster sideshow for those with little else to do in the middle of the day on a Wednesday than watch BBC Parliament.
Even after allegations the Prime Minister threatened to let the “bodies pile high in the thousands” rather than introduce another lockdown, the Conservatives were borne to victory in the local elections. The truth is, most people, on some level, appreciate Johnson was faced with an impossible decision of slapping tough restrictions on the whole nation. We have all suffered through the lockdowns, we have all raged about them even if we do accept they were necessary.
Johnson has managed to pull a rabbit out of a hat with the vaccination program, which may well keep him safe from a fraught history-taking of all the mistakes made in the pandemic. Cummings, the man who prides himself on understanding “the people”, is trying to do war with NFTs and Twitter polls. Not exactly the stuff of the everyman.
Cummings has made one of the most basic of political mistakes: trying to claw back his own reputation by tarnishing that of his enemy. Anything short of concrete evidence the PM wilfully allowed coronavirus to run rampant through the country, encouraged it even, and Cummings’ colossal efforts will likely fall short.
Johnson is undoubtedly guilty of delayed and potentially fatal decision making, but the choice to throw a country already battered by gruelling restrictions into another shutdown is not a light one. He has been forgiven for worse. Cummings has made himself look like what we all expected from the beginning: the scorned lover, drunk on betrayal and waving around text messages proving his righteousness to a group of friends long tired of telling him to get over it.