HAVING watched the unprecedented interview with Dominic Cummings I was more interested in the dynamic surrounding this spectacle than the actual content being relayed.
This was such a staged presentation, no doubt well thought out by, well, only one can guess? Here was an employee of the Cabinet office, albeit the PM’s chief advisor, holding court in 10 Downing Street in the private gardens of the UK Prime Minister’s office.
This speaks volumes regarding the power and influence this unelected individual has at the top of government in this country.
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Here he was, sitting at a table with a large tome of a well-crafted notes, ready to face not only baying journalists but an eager UK public, in fact a curious world audience. Perhaps this individual was “in his element”.
Here he was with the biggest audience at his disposal and he was determined to deliver what was a very detailed account of his actions which went on for a considerable amount of time.
This tactic worked and he was able in my opinion to baffle and bore the audience with minute detail on timings, actions taken and justification. The delivery lasted for what seemed a lifetime and long enough for exhaustion to set in and make the questions onslaught from the journalists seem rather limp and pointless. By the time the questioning arose, the heat had disappeared from this contrived “audience with Mr Cummings”. It ended like a damp squib.
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I have to say that I do understand a parent’s concern for the members of their family who they feel are at risk and will take any action to protect them, but you have to be aware and take cognisance of the consequences of your actions. The point of this interview was for Mr Cummings to put his case into the public domain and to provide an expected admission that he was wrong and to provide an apology.
This was never going to happen, and as it turned out he remained unrepentant, insisting that he had not broken the lockdown rules and that ambiguity ensured his actions were justified.
Having never seen Mr Cummings in action, but having on occasion seen him dealing with the press, his posturing and responses are always of a strident, confident and self-assured individual. In this interview much of this was present, tempered by a controlled, quiet humility and subdued demeanour. It is clear that Mr. Cummings is a very experienced operator and I can see why he is so valued by PM Johnson.
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Clearly the Prime Minister has weighed up his personal options and has exploited the fact that there has been sufficient doubt surrounding this sorry episode for him to take his chances and support his much-needed senior advisor. It may be that both agreed to the strategy to deal with this crisis.
Remember Boris Johnson has a huge majority in Parliament, no election for five years, an inept opposition and a “loaded Cabinet” appointed by himself and unlikely to challenge the continued presence of Cummings. The public suffering from fatigue are only interested in the proposed slackening of the lockdown and the “new normal” being introduced. All this will mean that this crisis will simply blow over!
The key issue to come out of this debacle is that the public have had a clear insight into how Tory politics works at the centre of this government and who on a daily basis controls our lives. In Scotland we have the option through independence to leave this behind.