Last week saw the long-awaited resignation of Dominic Cummings, the PM’s most senior advisor – people expect there to be drastic change, but on the contrary, politics will remain stagnant.
As a result of Tory policy within the last five years, Cummings is arguably one of the most divisive yet loathed political figures by opposition parties and the wider public. His scandalous method of achieving a Leave result in the Brexit referendum caused enough public disapproval; his now infamous trip to Barnard Castle – which gained him even more unpopularity – led to mass calling for his resignation from the opposition and the public.
Yet, surprisingly (and to the disgust of the public), he managed to hold on to his job as Boris Johnson’s top aide. Even Tory MPs and the party’s supporters were outraged at the demonstration of the age-old concept: ‘one rule for us, another for the elite’, having been a significant factor in Covid-19 policy earlier on in the year, but subsequently breaking it.
Months on, it is November that he has decided to go. Maintaining that his position had not changed since his blog post in January – which stated the intention to leave Downing Street indefinitely before the New Year – Cummings was adamant that he was not being ousted, but that he had chosen to go. Furthermore, considering the PM’s decision to stick by Cummings through all the palaver, blown out of proportion by mainstream media, it would seem odd to sack him now.
Through endless media criticism and damning caricatures displayed by satirical shows such as ‘Spitting Image’, it was often portrayed that Cummings (despite not being elected) was the puppet master who controlled everything Boris did and said for his own vain display of power. Some even go as far as comparing Cummings to Alastair Campbell, senior aide and spin doctor under Tony Blair. However, this is a drastic overstatement pushed by the media and left-wing opposition.
This narrative has merely fuelled opposition and hatred in Government circles towards Cummings, who of course held a significant amount of power, but to suggest he held all the power (including over Boris) without being an elected representative is ludicrous. This is just an extreme attempt to smear and ‘stick it’ to the Government as much as possible. I don’t think many people hate Cummings to the extent they say they do – they just hate him because the media and Labour Party told them to.
This toxic mindset of the left-wing baying for blood at every mistake and every failure is exactly why politics has become so toxic. Gavin Williamson, Education Secretary, was hounded by the media non-stop, following the GCSE and A-Level grades catastrophe which used an algorithm designed by Ofqual (a non-ministerial government department). It was not designed by him personally, yet there were calls from all across the board demanding his resignation.
Where was the media uproar when a knowingly Covid-positive SNP MP, Margaret Ferrier, travelled to Westminster by train rather than self-isolating? This is inarguably far worse than what Cummings did. Perhaps the media briefly mentioned it, but Cummings’ trip in Durham was a story that was dragged out for a fortnight.
A double standard so blatantly exists: Jeremy Corbyn was briefly suspended from the Labour Party for his comments concerning the EHRC’s anti-Semitism report; only a couple of weeks later, the party’s governing body ruled that he could be reinstated.
Events around Cummings have been but an ongoing blown-out-of-proportion media narrative. It is likely to happen the next time a mistake or failure is made by a Tory MP or party representative. With Cummings gone, I sincerely believe that little will change within British politics; whether he resigned or was booted out, it makes little difference.