Tuesday 17 November 2020


Brexit under threat? Cummings leaves

The loss of the Vote Leave clique so close to the end of the Brexit negotiations doesn't bode well.  Having weathered the Barnard Castle storm, it appeared that Cummings and Johnson would stand their ground right up until New Years' Eve and ensuring that Brexit got done their way.  Then came a stunning revelation.  The Prime Minister, who has previously taken policy decisions at the behest of the media, opposition, footballers and dodgy SAGE graphs, is now taking orders from his partner Carrie Symonds.

Symonds, who is reportedly even more of a liberal than Boris, didn't want Vote Leave staffers around and both Lee Cain and Dominic Cummings were summarily shown the door.  Astonishing.  She has no official capacity and like Cummings she was never elected.  However, the key difference is the British people elected a government driven by Cummings' agenda.  When we voted almost a year ago the name Symonds was irrelevant - as it should have been.  Advisers advise.  Leaders lead.  Wives, husbands and partners stand by and occasionally smile for the cameras.

The latest developments follow a pattern of weak leadership.  Since the onset of coronavirus we have witnessed u-turn after u-turn, mostly at the behest of media-driven campaigns based on anything from the desires of footballers to scientists with phoney graphs.  The one constant was Cummings.  His presence appeared to be a red line and not one that Boris was willing to cross, until now.

Can you imagine a world in which Winston Churchill led the war effort based on suggestions from his wife Clementine?  Would Margaret Thatcher have appointed or sacked ministers on decrees from Denis?  Would even the hopeless Theresa May take directions from mild-mannered Philip?

A leader, pictured with Boris Johnson?

Sadly, even the most loyal supporters of Boris are beginning to question his wisdom.  How can it be that a government with such a huge majority flip-flops on policy so frequently and so early on its term?  This should be a strong government with a leader who is willing to exert that power decisively.  Instead we see ministers constantly on the defensive, giving conflicting messages and with apparently little support from Number Ten.  Yes, Boris was desperately ill for a while, but that was six months ago.  The excuses are beginning to wear thin.

Even as lockdown ended in May the Tories were still up to 20 points ahead in the polls, but now they are falling behind Labour.  It's a crushing turnaround and one that could have been avoided.  The British people voted for a strong government and they still crave it now.  Unfortunately they are witnessing a government that allows itself to be pushed around by a media agenda that does not necessarily represent the desires of the people.  People are sick to death of hearing about free handouts and totalitarian restrictions on their lives - these are socialist ideals, but less than a year ago they supposedly elected a conservative government.

Worse still, now Brexit itself could be under threat from a major u-turn.  Talks have consistently stalled because the government has stood firm on its demands for total sovereignty, something which has drawn praise from Leave voters, and even some Remainers.  The departure of Cain and Cummings at this critical point will surely weaken that stance and given the recent catalogue of backtracking it would come as no great surprise to anyone that a deal will now be struck - one in which some sovereignty will be retained by Brussels.

Boris Johnson got elected on a Leave platform - taking back control and getting Brexit done.  If he doesn't have the balls to complete that primary objective he may as well hand Starmer the keys now.