The strange fantasy world inhabited by Michael “Oiky” Gove’s former chief polecat Dominic Cummings is a thing of wonder and mystery: here, reality can be arbitrarily overcome merely through the diktat of the great Dom, his opinion can at the wave of his hand replace mere facts, and the law of the land can be ignored.
All of these miraculous reinventions of the real world have come together as Cummings finds himself not merely asked, but summoned, to give evidence before the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee by its chairman Damian Collins. Having to be summoned to appear before such a Committee is considered a last resort - and it is not the first time someone involved in the Leave campaign has been summoned.
In May 2016, Politics Home reported that “Matthew Elliott was summoned to give evidence to the Treasury Committee this afternoon, having declined three previous invitations … Andrew Tyrie, the chairman of the committee, accused Mr Elliott of ‘mucking Parliament around’”. Elliott was head of the Vote Leave campaign.
So when Collins emailed Cummings to tell him “The Committee has decided to summon you to give evidence on Tuesday 22nd May 2018 at the Palace of Westminster … Should you not agree to appear on 22nd May, the Committee reserves the right to take the matter further, including seeking the support of the House of Commons in respect of any complaint of contempt”, one might think Dom would get the hint.
Not Cummings, cocooned away in his fantasy world. “The Select Committee doing the inquiry into fake news asked me to give evidence over a month ago. I said I would be happy to but explained that I could not do those dates and also explained legal issues re the Electoral Commission’s 3rd inquiry” he blustered, seemingly unaware that it has already been concluded that there are no legal obstacles to his attending.
Then he loses it completely: “Instead of discussing dates in a cooperative way, they went silent for weeks then threatened me this morning with a ‘Summons’ … I said that if they took such a foolish step - and an unnecessary one given I wanted to give evidence - they would be demonstrating their priority was grandstanding PR, not truth-seeking”. It is not for him to dictate to the DCMS Committee, not that he understands that.
And it gets worse: “Minutes later they sent their Summons and asked for confirmation I will change my mind and appear on the date they already knew I could not make … No, of course not … I said that if they issued a Summons instead of discussing possible dates like reasonable people, then it would be obvious they are not interested in friendly cooperation to uncover the truth. So I will not give evidence to this Committee under any circumstances. (I may to other Committees depending on behaviour.)”
The Great Dominic Cummings has spoken! The miserable Parliamentarians must bow to his superior judgment! They must behave themselves only in accordance with his rules if they are to be allowed the privilege of his coming amongst them!
Dominic Cummings clearly believes Parliament is for mere losers. He, the great Dom, is above such trivia. Thus the delusion and hypocrisy of those who pretended that they wanted to “Take Back Control” summed up perfectly. Cummings will do as he is told.