A lot of what he says is right, but the trouble is he’s Dominic Cummings. It’s like reading some really useful home decorating tips, but they’re written by Fred West.
So his evidence was full of accusations such as: “The government was so hopelessly dishonest that it employed me to advise it. What were they thinking? If they couldn’t see that I’m full of s**t, they’re clearly full of s**t themselves. The only other explanation is they knew I was full of s**t but employed me anyway! Either way, they are clearly unfit to govern.”
His next bombshell will be to reveal that Brexit has been a disaster, and we should never have done it. He’ll say: “It was obvious Brexit would fail from the moment I said we had to do it. When I said we should ‘take back control’, Boris Johnson should have had me sectioned, he’s an idiot.”
Maybe this will spark a new trend that will be copied across society. In divorce courts, men will say: “My wife was clearly to blame as she was daft enough to marry me, the idiot, even though I was obviously having an affair with her great-aunt.”
The most impressive thing about Cummings is he waited until a year after these care home residents died before telling us he knew they were dying unnecessarily, which is much more useful than mentioning it while it was happening.
It’s always the same when you see someone telling lies that you think will kill “thousands that need not die”. You consider saying something, but it can be a bit socially awkward so it’s best to wait until a year after they’ve all carked it, rather than cause a scene.
So his trouble is that, even if most of what he said this time is true, so many people will take no notice, even though he added artistic flourishes with references to Spider-Man, and the panic over stories about Carrie Symonds’s dog.
The trouble is, nothing is surprising anymore. If we found out Boris Johnson said he was immune from the virus because it didn’t affect anyone who can speak Latin, we’d shrug and go, “of course”.
We’ve become so used to chaos, Cummings could have said: “In one heated exchange, the prime minister marched into the gardens behind No 10, chanted a series of incantations and summoned the devil. Rishi Sunak objected to the presence of Lucifer, saying it wouldn’t play well in the newly won red wall seats, and Priti Patel deported the Prince of Darkness because his passport was out of date so the policy was dropped.” And lots of people would go: “‘Oh they all do things like that, they’re all the same.’”
This is frustrating because the response to the virus WAS a disaster, not just because it presented an “unprecedented set of difficulties” but because Johnson made his mind up we didn’t need a lockdown, even when almost every other country had started one. But we were different because we’re BRITISH.
He said he was “following the science”, but there was a choice of science to follow. On the one hand there was the science of all the scientists around the world. And on the other hand there was the science of Donald Trump, so he went with that
Now the government’s supporters claim everyone who is critical of them is doing this with “Hindsight”. You can understand why. How could anyone have known in advance that telling everyone to carry on mixing as normal, while everyone else in Europe had started a lockdown, would mean the virus would spread more in Britain? How could anyone know in advance, that because the hospitals didn’t have enough protective equipment, they would run out of protective equipment? It’s very easy with hindsight.
If Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock were firefighters, all their colleagues would turn on a hose while they decided to chuck 20 bottles of propane gas on the fire instead. Then at the inquest of why Nottingham exploded, they’d say, “Oh it’s very easy with hindsight.”
Hancock said in his response to Dominic Cummings that he had brought a “can do” spirit to the job, and at least he’s told the truth on that issue. Because throughout the pandemic, where weaker figures would have wilted, he’s said: “Can I lie about care home residents being tested before being sent back there from hospital? YES I CAN. Can I hand contracts worth millions of pounds to my mate who owns the pub I went in? YES YES YES I CAN.”
It’s the government’s luck that the person stating all this is Dominic Cummings, who can scream it for seven hours but the trouble is he built the lying machine, that jabbed us with so many lies, most people became immune to them. Now Cummings is yelling: “Don’t listen to them, they’re telling lies. Listen to me, I’m the honest one, I’m telling you the truth, which is that they have a lying machine. I know because I built it.”
He said there were at least 15 reasons why Hancock should have been sacked, but maybe the most powerful is you just have to look at that gormless expression he puts on, that anyone can see means he’s thinking: “Aaaagh I don’t know anything, just waffle until I get to ‘Every death is regrettable’, the same face I’d pull if I was asked to explain how a jet engine works.”
So maybe Boris Johnson should now sack Matt Hancock as Cummings demands. Then Johnson can say he used to pay Cummings to advise him, but now he gets his advice off him for free, saving £350m a week, which he will spend on the NHS.