“True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country,” Kurt Vonnegut said. This nightmare has been my reality for the past nine months, since Boris Johnson became leader and brought my old university mate Dominic Cummings along for the ride.
Now a new documentary, Taking Control: The Dominic Cummings Story三级成人视频, on BBC Two, seems to confirm what I’ve thought all along: it’s not really our Prime Minister Boris Johnson who’s in charge, but Dom.
三级成人视频When Dom first re-emerged from the shadows to clap Johnson into Downing Street, it initially seemed he did so reluctantly. There was talk of him “getting Brexit done” and disappearing. But in Taking Control, former Conservative leadership candidate and London Mayor hopeful Rory Stewart reveals Dom had his sights set on Number 10 even during the Tory leadership campaign.
Stewart recounts meeting Dom for lunch. “This intense looking figure turned up. He said you’ve got to say you’re going to do three things: you’re going to beat Jeremy Corbyn, reunite the country, get Brexit done. I thought, you know, brilliant. Then the next day, I then see Sajid Javid tweeting out, ‘There are three things we need to do.’ Then the next day, Boris, ‘There are three things we need to do.’ Then Jeremy Hunt, ‘There are three things we need to do.’”
The puppet master was controlling the potential candidates. Stewart says, “He wanted influence, he wanted to change the country. He didn’t mind too much which vessel it was or who won.”
Underneath that brooding and badly dressed exterior lurks the mind of a master campaigning strategist. Clearly the chess matches Dom loved at Exeter College have paid off – when he wasn’t drinking whisky, he would wander the corridors of college late at night, knocking on people’s doors and asking them to play.
Once Johnson was in a position of power, it was inevitable he would attempt to get the former Vote Leave mastermind on his team. Journalist Tim Shipman says, “Cummings was only prepared to work for Boris on his terms. His argument to Johnson was, ‘The only way you get the Brexit you want is if you do it my way.’”
三级成人视频But what is Dom’s way? Instead of euphoria in Number 10, there’s been a culture of paranoia. Peter Cardwell, a former Special Adviser, reveals, “It was clear from the very start that Dominic was in control. He told us, “If you leak, you will be marched from your desk by the head of security at your department, your pass will be taken off you and you will be sacked. You have no rights.”
Sajid Javid’s SPAD Sonia Khan suffered this fate last August and has now launched a claim for unfair dismissal. Dave Penman, General Secretary of the FDA Union, says in Taking Control, “This is clearly bullying behaviour from Dominic Cummings. People around the PM should not need fear to control individuals.”
I couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow when I unearthed an image of Dom from college days, wearing a t-shirt with a picture of a boxing ring and the words “Step Into My Office” on it – less a random outfit choice and more a manifesto for his career.
In Taking Control, Colin Perry, then Chairman of the CBI SME Council, sets out his recollection of an incident that followed a bruising encounter on Radio Five Live during the Business For Sterling campaign in the late Nineties. “I suddenly felt that he’d grabbed my shoulders from behind and was trying to push me down the steps,” he says, adding that he was pushed against the wall. He made an official complaint, which came to nothing after Dominic insisted they had “stumbled into each other”.
Dom’s only scuffle at uni was with a squirrel – but although quietly spoken most of the time, he was prone to the odd outburst which have since become his trademark. Talk was he once labelled a friend a “pacifist b----” for wearing a white poppy.
三级成人视频My friends were addicted to playing Risk but in Dom, they found someone who was willing to push life to the edge in real time. He’s a maverick who encourages those less bold to make the risky move and it’s no surprise to us the UK adopted a contrarian strategy on the coronavirus.
Dom’s long looked up to the heroes of counter culture, with the show revealing he once cited Hunter S Thompson in an article for the Telegraph: “Real happiness in politics is a wide-open hammer shot and some poor bastard who knows he’s trapped and can’t flee.” For all of Dom’s political life, that “poor bastard” has been the establishment.
But now his enemy is a pandemic that threatens the fabric of our society. Dom once quoted Vladimir Lenin in his blog: “Sometimes nothing happens in decades and sometimes decades happen in weeks.” He’s always wanted change – but only the most perverse among us could think he’d have wished for it to happen this way.
Until a few days ago, Dom was in the best political position of his life, poised to reshape the Conservative Party in his own image. Finally, he was where he wanted to be. The last thing he wants is to lose control now.
Taking Control: The Dominic Cummings Story is on Wednesday night at 9pm, BBC2