Boris Johnson does not drop his chief adviser Dominic Cummings. The British Prime Minister is far too dependent on him for that. Cummings is not some Spad , as the special advisor be called the British government. He is the Eminence in the background, never politically elected and therefore not accountable to anyone - except Johnson. Cummings is the intellectual, strategic mind behind Johnson who is repurposing the government so that Johnson's goals can be met, especially a tough Brexit. His vision: rules about throwing piles and achieving as much independence as possible, especially from the EU.
With this new freedom, Cummings wants to build his utopia of a new society. A society in which politics is conducted according to scientific considerations and in which the economy is driven by research, artificial intelligence and robotics. Cummings is of the opinion that there are far too few scientists in the government. That is why today's politics is so bad. The problem with his vision: he tries to push it through without ever having publicly debated it. Everything can be read on his numerous blogfs, but he has never received a democratic mandate.
That doesn't bother Cummings. Rules are there for him and Boris Johnson to be broken. Both of them do this continuously with great nonchalance. The recent noise at Cummings is just one more example of how little the 48-year-old political advisor, husband and father of a four-year-old child abides by rules that apply to others. When the British government imposed a curfew on March 23 and the population amazingly followed the requirements, Cummings decided differently. When his wife had Covid symptoms and the family should have been in isolation for 14 days, Cummings drove his wife and child 400 kilometers across England to Durham to spend the isolation near his parents and relatives. The reason: Should Cummings and his wife become seriously ill, the relatives could have looked after the child - or so.
Apparently there were no friends or acquaintances in his residential area in Islington, London, who could have helped. To date, Downing Street has not said whether Cummings had discussed his action with Johnson. Too bad the scandal-hungry press , especially Labor-related Mirror, The Guardian and TheObserver, found out that the police had given the father of Cummings a ruffle for his visit. Exactly 14 days after the start of self-isolation, Cummings and his wife also visited the picturesque small town of Barnard Castle, while the normal population sat at home in the lockdown. According to previously unconfirmed reports, Cummings then drove back to London, only to return to Durham a few days later.
The British take violations of the rules seriously. It goes against fair play and famous British self-discipline. The Scottish government's medical and scientific advisor, Catherine Calderwood, had to resign immediately after it became known that she and her family had gone to her weekend home during the curfew. Scientist Professor Neil Ferguson immediately had to vacate the government's SAGE crisis committee after it was discovered that his loved one had secretly met him.
But no matter how angry many Britons are about the behavior of Cummings, no matter how much the media grumble and how many high-ranking conservative parliamentarians are calling for his resignation, Johnson clings to Cummings. On Sunday evening, he used the daily press conference to persuade the public that Cummings had acted "responsibly, with integrity, legally sound and understandable" when he had to seek his family's help on this "extremely difficult childcare issue."