Aides by their very definition are expendable. They get their money and they’re paid off when they are no longer needed. If they become an embarrassment to their masters they are expected to go quietly in return for some sort of reward for keeping their mouths shut. But when they get too big for their boots, others may intervene to help them on their way.
Rasputin went down in a hail of bullets when he became an embarrassment to prominent members of the Russian aristocracy during the First World War. We’ve moved on from those days and, in any case, most minions have played the bourgeois game in Britain to abide by the unwritten code of conduct that governs the behaviour of the Establishment. Dominic Cummings, however, thinks he’s a different breed that can flout the norms of the ruling class he claims to serve.The Johnson camp claim that there’s a hidden Remainer agenda behind the campaign to get rid of Cummings. This is largely based on the childish belief that you can kick prominent Tories, including two former Chancellors, eight former Cabinet ministers and the grandson of Winston Churchill, out of the Conservative Party with impunity.
This may well be pay-back time for the Tory grandees who were purged last September for opposing Brexit. But there are plenty more who hate him.
This is the man who spouts on about “Odyssean education” and “super-forecasters”, and allegedly claimed that "a child's performance has more to do with genetic makeup than the standard of his or her education”.
This is the man that the Sunday Times claimed had told a private meeting in February that the Government's plan for dealing with the coronavirus plague was “herd immunity, protect the economy and if that means some pensioners die, too bad”.
Johnson’s grief has clearly been brought on through Cummings’ own selfish actions. By breaking the lock-down rules he helped to devise he’s undermined the Government’s efforts to enforce the emergency regulations and made the Prime Minister look a fool. There cannot be one rule for Dominic Cummings and another for the British people.
Cummings is mocked in some sections of the Tory press. He’s jeered on the street where he lives and over 760,000 people have signed a petition calling for his dismissal. Labour and the other opposition parties are demanding the dismissal of the “chief adviser” to the Prime Minister. Some senior Tories and prominent members of the Church of England have also joined the chorus calling for Cummings to go. They can see that the Cummings affair has undermined public confidence in the lock-down regime as well as the credibility of the Tory Government.
“This is a fundamental test of character for Johnson,” John MacDonnell, the left Labour MP, said last week. “He’s dramatically failing it by defending the indefensible and doing it by obfuscation and avoidance. This is the sort of event from which the reputations of Prime Ministers do not recover.”
Once the story broke any other Prime Minister would have immediately told Cummings to fall on his sword to avoid embarrassing the Government. But Johnson is a weak man who likes to be surrounded by people lesser than himself.
Both men are rubbish. They should both go. The sooner the better.