Thursday, January 16, 2020

No Cummings, no goin's

Bad Al Campbell's rule was always that the adviser should never be the story - something he signally failed to live up to in those last frenetic days of his regime. On that basis, the fixation that most of the press have for Dominic Cummings should be a bit concerning. Whether it's his dress sense, his book-length blogposts (something I remember writing about back in 2013) or his relationship to nefarious electoral shenanigans there's something about him that fascinates hacks.

Generally speaking, advisers are less important than their reputation suggests. So long as their instincts and views align with their boss's, they are fine. When, as with Steve Hilton, they get out of synch they are gone. Even when taking this coverage with a pinch of salt, however, there is something about Dominic Cummings that catches the eye. I suspect it's the iconoclasm - in his first talk to special advisers after Boris's leadership win, he led on the excellent advice "don't be shit" - and the sense that even if his approach doesn't work, at least it will fail in new and interesting ways.

The overwhelming impression of the Theresa May Government was of a reactiveness that amounted to total inanition. Reading accounts of that period is like looking at the French army in 1940 - hundreds of reasons why action was impossible, and nobody prepared to do anything about it. Whatever his faults, Boris generates an atmosphere of oomph.

One of my great frustrations over the last few years was that even where the Tories had a respectable product, no-one seemed interested in selling it. Boris, more than anything else, is a political salesman. Even the best salesmen need proper logistical, administrative and strategic support from the base. Cummings looks very unlikely to tolerate drift.


Blogger Staffordshire man said...

They are more like the liberal party than the liberals. If they continue like this I might even vote for them.

5:29 pm  
Blogger Tim J said...

They are increasingly whiggish...

3:37 pm  

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