‘Blind Ali’ – it sounds like me on my driving test after completing my course of lessons with the Barnard Castle School of Driving. In fact it is the twitter handle of someone called Ali Samson who this morning said this:

‘We live in a time when Cummings’ elitism enraging voters is more damaging to the government than tens of thousands of avoidable deaths. That’s how far down the rabbit hole we are.’

Certainly, we should not, amid the current Johnson/Cummings scandal, be losing sight of the fact that only Trump’s America, Putin’s Russia and Bolsonaro’s Brazil – can’t think what they have in common with Johnson’s Britain! – are doing as badly as the UK when it comes to death rates.

But the two things, Blind Ali, are actually linked, and sometimes it takes a particular story about a particular person to illustrate bigger political truths that have been clear to some, but vague to others, for some time.

The truths in questions are these.

  1. We are governed by liars. People have kind of known Johnson and Cummings have a casual relationship with the truth, and have turned a blind eye for all manner of reason – ‘all politicians lie,’ (not true by the way); ‘yes, but Boris makes me laugh,’ (not any more he doesn’t); ‘who cares so long as they get the job done?’ Ah, there you have it … it takes me to the next truth.
  2. They are incompetent. If people felt the Cummings/Johnson government was on top of the crisis, they would not care that much about a single act of rule-breaking by someone most of them could not until the last few days pick out of an identity parade. But through their indifference and incompetence, they have helped to kill tens of thousands of people, enough to fill Anfield Stadium; they have failed on PPE, on test, track and trace, on care homes, on virtually every aspect of this challenge; by being among the last into lockdown, we are likely to be among the last out, with an even bigger hit on the economy.
  3. Johnson is not up to the job. Again, those of us who have known him for a long time have been aware of that for years. It is tragic that it has taken a global pandemic and a national crisis for everyone else to see it.
  4.  And, deep down he knows he is not up to the job. I was talking the other day to someone who attended Cobra meetings before they were switched to Zoom. ‘He literally looks over to Cummings before he speaks.’ Pathetic.
  5. Yet, Cummings is not a genius; he is not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy. (Younger readers google Monty Python, which is also worth doing anyway.) His press conference exposed just how second rate he is. He seriously seemed to think he was helping himself.
  6. These people who won power claiming to fight for the people against the elite – they ARE the elite. One rule for them, one for everyone else. 
  7. They are totally out of touch. They have no idea how most people live their lives, and they don’t care. Durham Dom with rich Daddy’s property, with different houses for everyone in the grouns, and lovely woods to stay away from the plebs; his wife with her aristo family, friends and connections in the Spectator set; it has exposed the truth about entitled people taking what they in their country homes call ‘awdenerry peepull’ for a ride. The idea that Mr and Mrs Cummings have ‘special circumstances’ that allow them to break the lockdown guidelines … I hate to say ‘The Mail got it right,’ but WHAT PLANET ARE THEY ON?
  8. The Cabinet is awful. We have the most spineless, useless Cabinet in history. Has there ever been a more debasing spectacle than these nodding dogs putting out, one after the other, their near identical tweets … ‘Dom’s a dad, did what any dad would, didn’t break the guidelines, move on.’
  9. They put Cummings before Covid. They care more about themselves than the lives and livelihoods of the people who elected them. Ask yourself this question: Which of these two things has taken up more of Johnson’s and the nodding dogs’ time and attention in recent days … Covid? Or Cummings?
  10. They are destroying Britain’s reputation in the world. I have been shocked, and ashamed, of the coverage around the world of this fiasco, and the questions I have faced from interviewers from Canada to New Zealand, Argentina to Australia, on the lines of ‘what the hell has happened to your once great country?’

All of the above and more, Blind Ali, are what Cummings, this so-called maverick genius strategist, has made crystal clear to anyone who has eyes in their head, sufficient to drive to Barnard Castle or not. The tragedy is that on their journey, he and his so-called boss are smashing the country into brick wall at high speed.