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“There’s waaaaaay better pics than that floating around, inc the flat,” teases the notorious Dominic Cummings. His latest tweet, of course, refers to a new photograph published by The Mirror showing Boris Johnson at a Christmas quiz in December 2020 with an open bottle of bubbly (prosecco) and staff members wearing Santa hats and tinsel. When the photo was taken, London was under tier 2 pandemic restrictions, which banned social mixing between households. Remember, the government explicitly told you not to meet others for Christmas parties.
Ding Dom Merrily on High was quick to take to his keyboard from the luxury of his lap to tell us that if we like what we see, there’s plenty more where that came from.
The police have said they have been handed more than 300 photographs of events in Downing Street and 500 pages of evidence, plenty enough for the vengeful Cummings to curate his own exhibition at the Tate Britain. “The pics will come out and the public will think ‘Met [police] lying,’ not ‘oh PM innocent after all.’ Penny dropping with MPs,” he tweeted shortly after.
But what exactly is behind this torrent of activity? Long-term observers of Cummings will know that he is a fan of East Asian strategic warfare – most notably the writings of ancient Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu. So perhaps it is his interest in The Art of War that has motivated him to set alight the Westminster bubble and watch the players within it combust.
He is clearly gripped with the idea that someone has to remove the Prime Minister he helped put in place, and it might as well be him. He is driven to remove Boris and Carrie Johnson. In a recent interview with Tanya Gold for the New York Magazine, Cummings said his behaviour was down to a “duty to dispose of him [Boris]” and Carrie. He said it was “an unpleasant but necessary job”, “sort of like fixing the drains.”
One cannot help but wonder where on earth this keyboard warrior and part-time plumber is running his operation from? A tee-pee in the back of his Islington garden? His local Pret A Manger? In the dark depths of his basement? Barnard Castle?
While his bullet-like tweets make for entertaining political theatre, isn’t there something quite sinister about it? With Westminster, the media and denizens of Twitter waiting for his next move, hint or signal.
The way he is orchestrating the campaign or at least implying he is implies he is master at the centre of a web. What does that make the rest of us?
Cummings refers to this operation as “the grid” and suggests he has reactivated Vote Leave. The longer this goes on the more it feels too much like nerd’s revenge, a dream scenario for a once derided geek. Isn’t it getting creepy?