No one individual encompasses the subservience of many in the media establishment before the current Government than Dominic Cummings, chief polecat to alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. Polecat Dom is the most overrated and, indeed, inappropriately over-promoted individual in the Downing Street machine, in a field which contains more than one individual who should not have been let in the door.
But rather than treat Cummings’ behaviour on its merits - or, indeed, the distinct lack of them - too many media folk are choosing to tell this particular naked emperor that his new suit of clothes looks just fine. The good news is that this has provided an excellent guide to who seem not really interested in decent investigative journalism. The bad news is that some of those apparently not interested are in positions of power and influence.
Tim Shipman - not critical enough of Cummings ...
The latest attempt by those in the latter category to pass off Cummings’ wayward wittering as roughly equivalent to Moses’ visit to Mount Sinai follows The Great Man blogging about how No 10 is hiring. That the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog considered it to be news should have caused them to stop and think.
... and nor is Robert Peston
But some did not, among them Tim Shipman, political editor of the Murdoch Sunday Times, who drooled “Big majorities are boring, they said. Not so much. Dominic Cummings is hiring scientists and ‘weirdos’. This is a direct challenge to the civil service, the lobby and just about everyone in govt. It’s also the only readable job advert ever written”.
If you say so, Shippers. Even ITV’s Robert Peston was taken in, responding “Not a conventional recruitment ad. From Cummings. Just now. This is government as an episode of Big Bang theory. Definitely worth reading. If you are super brainy and weird, Cummings wants you”. It was left to others to sound a note of caution.
Open Democracy’s Peter Geoghegan was one. “Cummings blog reads less like an actual recruitment exercise and more like a culture war artefact. Expect *way* more of this”. Alexander Clarkson added “As ever with Dominic Cummings post there are bits where you think ‘yup’ or ‘that's kind of interesting’ immediately followed by bits where you go ‘holy crap, EU, US, Russian, Chinese counterparts will take a state run by this guy apart’”.
Peter Walker of the Guardian was unimpressed. “This Dominic Cummings job description for his would-be assistant is so depressing in the stress on long hours and lack of outside life as if this is some sort of virtue. That sort of work culture is wearily macho, completely outdated and utterly counter-productive”. Simon Ubsdell was even more unimpressed.
“Dominic Cummings is recruiting fellow sociopaths to help create a one-party state. There's no other way of reading this insane document. Be very, very afraid. Anyone who writes this frenzied gibberish should be nowhere near government”. To which Elinor Elliott added “I don't know how many times people need to be warned that giving a man like Dominic Cummings wide-ranging influence over what he euphemistically terms ‘reform’ of the constitutional and social fabric of the UK is dangerous. Don't say you weren't warned”.
John Sweeney, late of Panorama, mused “Dominic Cummings is the clever-seeming drivel king. Read his words and be afraid”. Abby Tomlinson concluded “Dominic Cummings writes in the same way as the worst men on dating apps”. And one Tweeter had a warning.
“Dear Dominic Cummings, I was a civil servant for 15 years. You’re woefully unprepared for the likes of us”. But these latter voices go unheard and unreported, because the ones with control of the megaphone are the likes of Shipman and Peston.
The media class should be ruthless in holding Cummings to account. Instead, they are falling over one another to worship at his feet. Be afraid, everyone else. Be very afraid.
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