Those who have the ear of Prime Ministers routinely find themselves resented, and worse, by those who do not: many in the Labour Party were suspicious of the closeness of both Joe Haines and Marcia Williams to Harold Wilson, in turn, many Tories were fearful of Bernard Ingham, who was close to Mrs T. And Alastair Campbell’s reign as Tone’s chief spinner did not always inspire affection from back benchers.
So it should surprise no-one that Dominic Cummings, chief polecat to alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, has put noses out of joint across the wider Tory Party. What is a surprise is the paper in which the resentment is being aired - the ultra-loyal Mail on Sunday - and the staffer, the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, a Bozo Mini-Me if ever there was one, who has brought the story to publication.
Master Cole tells readers “Boris Johnson has been accused by a Cabinet Minister of running a 'Goodfellas government' by allowing aides to terrorise Whitehall like paranoid mob bosses. And particular fury has been directed at the Prime Minister's 'obnoxious' right-hand man Dominic Cummings, with accusations that the senior aide is 'out of control’”.
Noting all those quote marks and moving right along, an allegedly senior minister claims “Cummings is behaving like a bald Ray Liotta at the end of Goodfellas …This should be the glory days but instead No 10 has slipped into paranoia, trusting an ever smaller number of people and sometimes not even each other … He's hearing police helicopters in his head”. And the grist to this particular mill? Leaks.
Cole talks of a month “that has seen Mr Cummings order substantial leak inquiries into Cabinet Ministers and aides after a significant detail from Cabinet and the National Security Council appeared in print. Letters have been sent to Cabinet members warning them against speaking to the Press. However, Government aides are furious that leaks believed to have originated from No 10, regarding Huawei and HS2, have not sparked similar probes”. Selective and competitive leaking - scourge of modern Government.
Hence “Critics suggest Mr Johnson is unlikely to be able to clamp down, due to his own record as Foreign Secretary, when Theresa May's allies believed his team were behind a slew of damaging leaks about Brexit … Other members of the Cabinet have also accused Mr Cummings of leaking when he worked as an adviser to Michael Gove from 2010 to 2014”, followed by the payoff line “At the time, then Prime Minister David Cameron called Mr Cummings a 'career psychopath’”. Someone really doesn’t like Polecat Dom.
Cole’s article certainly wants to portray Cummings in a bad light, telling “A separate Cabinet Minister told this newspaper: 'Just when things were getting back to normal after the endless uncertainty of Brexit, they plunge everyone into more chaos.’ It is understood that a number of aides have taken legal advice ahead of a rumoured 'purge' of special advisers next month”. Is it just the MoS that has fallen out of love? Time will tell.
One thing is for certain: Cummings will have to undertake a lot of leak enquiries, bollock several ministers, and sack a whole slew of SpAds before he stops the leaks.
What he won’t, and can’t, stop is the movement against him. So get the popcorn in.
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