Monday, May 27, 2024
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Hell hath no fury like a wingman scorned


WHAT’S happened to Boris Johnson’s trusted adviser? You know, the one with a generous gift of the gob, the mystery tours and the loose grip on facts. The one who’s spilling the Inside Secrets of the Affair to every unscrupulous news piper (not a spelling mistake) in the global network of content sewage pipes.

No, not Jennifer Arcuri! I’m talking about scorned wingman Dominic Cummings.

I can see how you got them mixed up. They both claim to be geniuses but do really dumb things. They both seem to think the only way to get coverage is to go all Red Top and offer us their readers an exclusive look inside their veracity. ‘The Boris Johnson only I knew – by the playmaker who saw him in the raw’.

They were both very pally with Boris at one time. Then something happened. Maybe one day the scales fell from the PM’s eyes.

Rather than ‘the woman who loved too much’, Cummings is more the adviser who enjoyed power too much and endured too little.

Actually, that’s not the version I want to believe. I like to think this is less about a scorned adviser and more about a devious manoeuvre.

So, in the true spirit of the age on enfrightenment, I’m going to believe that Cummings, evil genius that he is, has cooked the whole thing up as a diversion. He’s sacrificed himself, as he did during the Covid crisis, to lead the media mob away from feasting elsewhere. The dreadful horde of media zombies have been ushered towards Matt Hancock. While they feast on his flesh, Liz Truss gets more space to make trade deals without being asked about ‘what she’s bringing to the table’.

It’s funny how most BBC journalists who talk about negotiations have one agent to negotiate their contract, another to handle their corporate speaking gigs and an accountant to talk to HMRC for them. They know nothing about being a sole trader: how do they even start to ask an informed question about international trade deals?

I’m always amazed at the enthusiasm that our political commentators have for trashing confidence in Britain. Why are they so keen to empower our opposition?

Look at the veracity of the people judging Cummings.

Take Beth Rigby and Kay Burley from Sky TV. How did they live up to their responsibilities during Covid? After a night out celebrating, they couldn’t even manage to observe the social distancing edict. That’s an ’undred per cent failure rate – are you thinking about resignin’? (as Rigby might put it).

Now that Sky News has made it all about the presenters’ prejudices, it lives or dies on the standards they demand for us. 

Years ago, comedy actor Angus Deayton’s entire career was ended after a personal crisis, thanks to Ian Hislop’s puritanical judgment. He was fired not for dishonesty or being bad at his job. He was brilliant at fronting Have I Got News for You, billed as a comedy show. Aren’t comedians supposed to be damaged goods? Doesn’t vulnerability come with the job?

Poor Deayton will never eat lunch in Soho again because Hislop was worried that someone might parry Deayton’s teasing of fallen idols with the words ‘Yes, but what about you?’

What a fall in standards the digital media has brought. With our media we will never get to the bottom of the story. There are no trusted, unbiased sources of information. Maybe GB News will be different.

We need journalists policing the news beat, not fraudsters giving views bleats.

Wasn’t that where Mr Short Cummings came in? He’s fiendishly cunning, understands the public and he’s good with nerds. It wasn’t technology that persuaded people to vote Brexit. You can’t do any decent artificial intelligence probing if you don’t know the subjects under scrutiny, because you’ll never push their right buttons on the right parameters.

Cummings understands how the media all rush in unison from one topic to the next, like herds of digital wildebeest. As these bovine bloggers and broadcasters migrate across the plains of Cyberengeti in search of fresh pastures, they are looking for something that can be easily digested and fed to their Factose Intolerant clan. That, I believe, is where the phrase Fake Gnus came from. 

Cummings was brilliant at this job. So what on earth is he doing throwing such a public tantrum? OK, he seems to be a bit of a nutter, but surely he’s better off inside the tent. It’s good that he’s creating a diversion, if that’s what he’s doing.

Otherwise, if he really is having a tantrum, that’s too depressing for words. Say it ain’t so, Dom! Pull your socks up and have some dignity, man!

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Nick Booth
Nick Booth
Nick Booth is a freelance writer.

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