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Come again


By Christopher Stanley

So, we have this sort of completely insane situation in which part of the building was saying, ‘are we going to bomb Iraq?’, part of the building was arguing about whether or not we’re going to do quarantine or not do quarantine, the prime minister has his girlfriend going crackers about something completely trivial


After his Passion in the Rose Garden, the Stone was Moved and Dominic crawled out into the spotlight. A hybrid Jesus Christ/Sméagol/Gollum/Deranged Technocrat. His clawed hand nailed to a whiteboard of messianic data.  His name derived from the sound of his disgusting gurgling, choking cough (Gollum not Dom). 

It might not have been on third day but it was near to the ‘anniversary’ of his Passion in the Rose Garden of 10 Downing Street when he ‘gave’ an unprecedented Press Conference to explain his travails/travels to Barnard Castle. 

This week he ‘gave’ an unprecedent evidence session to politicians in Westminster. A stone’s throw from the scene (mise en scène) that marked the start of his departure from a public life of private office/devotion. 

Dear Village Reader you may recall I took advantage of Dominic’s Passion to write a short series of opinion pieces about Type-Cummings, Project-Cummings and how his personality and conviction were shaping the modern English way of politics, governance, service to state and management of society and economy. 

I described how Type-Cummings and Project-Cummings were centralising power in the Cabinet Office and not Whitehall, by way of Executive Dominance (the stranglehold of Elective Dictatorship choking those wretched constitutional checks and balances) over the Legislature (Parliament) and the Judiciary in the absence of any form of accountability, above law-morals-aesthetics, wheezing anomie. 

The Odyssean-education of the synthesisers whose contempt for the Overseers (politicians and judges) was completed by Cummings Ascension to dominance is a (deliberately) complex phenomenon obscured by its own use of techno-bureaucratic language of post-modern managerial Machiavellianism.

My analysis of ‘phenomenon Cummings’ was offered to Readers of Village as a warning of how a radical new fashion in how to Project-manage a complex democracy in an undemocratic Soviet-style planning of a post-industrial/digital/viral/voodoo economy is emerging.


After the Summer, The Fall. Cummings fell/pushed dramatically and Icarus like. 

He retreated into his Platonic cave in North London to do what he does best: Plan. 


And two days after the anniversary of his Passion in the Rose Garden (25 May 2020) the Stone of the Cave moved and Dominic rose before a House of Commons Select Committee (27 May 2021) and he spoke: for seven hours.

In the Rose Garden he was late and characteristically dishevelled (another nod of contempt for Establishment norms).

In the Select Committee Room assigned for his return, he was open-necked and on time.  This was a joint session of Parliament’s health and social care and the science and technology Select Committees. Dominic appeared in person; some of his inquisitors appeared virtually. Dominic produced his whiteboard. 


Dear Village Reader please remember Dominic Cummings was employed by the Conservative Party as a SPAD – a Special Advisor. He was not a civil servant. Rather an uncivil savant. He is beyond Spin. Therefore, in his Select Committee performance he appeared with no fixed mandate as a politician or a civil servant would. 

As with his Press Conference, so with his spotlight part in the arena of Political Theatre. The Studio Space in this theatre (the Palace of Westminster as the Palace of Varieties) took precedence over the Main Space where the other dramatic personae in this performance were ‘doing’ Prime Minister’s Questions (the regular week in, week out of political repertory). 


And the inquisitors allowed him to vent. This was so unlike the Select Committee I attended many years ago (2009) when Iris Robinson MP (remember her?) let loose at Dennis Bradley, the co-author of the Eames-Bradley Consultation on the Past, who was giving evidence. It was reminiscent of a recent Parish Council meeting in the North of England.

What was Dominic here for? Revisionism, Confession, Retribution, Justification,  Revenge, katharsis for The Fall? Or to explain why 128,000 people in the UK died of Covid-19? And in the shadow-context of that figure to exert his moral authority where others appeared to have abandoned their moral compasses, if they ever possessed them?

For a person skilled in trench-warfare (recall he delivered ‘us’ – and I include you Dear Village Reader – BREXIT) he was prepared and planned for his attack. 

In the Bunker of 10 Downing Street, I suspect the tin-helmets were being issued and the counterattack being prepared (Operation Chaos and Lies), even as the Great Leader spoke at the Palace of Varieties, as his Princess Nut Nut flicked through the wallpaper catalogues of Barrow and Fall. 


So, the headline or salient points, Dom’s take on the management of a C21 pandemic. Blessed hindsight!

Good old Auntie! Dominic Cummings: Five claims fact-checked – BBC News and Dominic Cummings: The seven most explosive claims – BBC News (last accessed 30 May 2021)

The British government ‘failed’:

“Tens of thousands of people died, who didn’t need to die” sorry for ministers, officials and advisers “like me” for falling “disastrously short of the standards that the public has a right to expect”. “When the public needed us most the government failed”, apologising to “the families of those who died unnecessarily”.


The British Prime Minister was/is ‘not fit for office’:

“The heart of the problem was, fundamentally, I regarded him as unfit for the job. And I was trying to create a structure around him to try and stop what I thought would have been bad decisions, and push things through against his wishes.”

The British Health Secretary “should have been fired”:


 “should have been fired for at least 15 to 20 things” and displayed “criminal, disgraceful behaviour” and “completely incapable of doing the job”.


First lockdown delay


“I bitterly regret that I didn’t hit the emergency panic button earlier than I did”.


Bombs, quarantine… and a dog called Dilyn


“So, we have this sort of completely insane situation in which part of the building was saying, ‘are we going to bomb Iraq?’, part of the building was arguing about whether or not we’re going to do quarantine or not do quarantine, the prime minister has his girlfriend going crackers about something completely trivial”.


Chicken pox parties’


Then cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill is alleged to have suggested to Mr Johnson: “Prime minister, you should go on TV tomorrow and explain the herd immunity plan and that it is like the old chicken pox parties. We need people to get this disease because that’s how we get herd immunity by September”.


PM ‘ignored’ second lockdown advice.


“All credible serious people in my opinion were saying essentially the same thing so I was very, very clear with him about it. He was not taking any advice, he was just making his own decisions, he was going to ignore the advice. Cabinet wasn’t involved or asked. I’ve been very critical of Matt Hancock but I think Hancock agreed with me actually in September about acting then”.


Those brief dispatches from the Field of Battle constitute a snapshot of Dom’s attack on his former Allies. Lions led by Donkeys.  

There was contrition and admission of his own failings as a servant of the state in a time of the War on the Pandemic.  

Was Dom asserting his moral authority when others acted, according to him,  immorally? 

“I would like to say to all the families of those who died unnecessarily how sorry I am for the mistakes that were made and for my own mistakes at that.” 

And on the incident that gave rise to Dom’s Passion in the Rose Garden of 10 Downing Street, that fateful drive to Barnard Castle, those rest stops, that eye test? This had “undermined public confidence”. 

Did the British public ever have confidence in the travels of an unelected SPAD, no matter what grip he had on power or whether or not he was part-legislator/interpreter/architect of the laws, rules and guidelines which he so publicly breached and then strove to defend? 


 It was, of course, grand theatre, as politics can be. But for those victims and their relatives and the survivors of the pandemic Dominic Cummings’ evidence needs to be tested. This was his interpretation of events, this was, we must remember, his revenge, this was his account of the facts known to him, his anger and contrition stemmed from his emotions even as the emotionless Technocrat.  

The Project Manager failed in his Task and exposed the weaknesses of his Plan even if the cause of failure was the un-working and denial of others who were more reliant on him that he was on them.

 But Dom’s moment in the spotlight, again, served to allow him to to put his version of events on the public record. That may be seen as self-serving but it did expose the shocking state of British political ‘culture’ and begs the question of whether those lives could have been saved had that ‘culture’ been different: a culture of politics delivered by Project Manager Dominic Cummings.

Dear Village Reader – Beware.

Christopher Stanley is a Litigation Consultant with KRW LAW LLP, Belfast. He is writing in his own personal capacity. The views expressed here are those of the author and not of KRW LAW LLP.