“Black Wednesday” was bad but it was a minor skirmish compared with this total collapse in public trust. External factors caused the ERM chaos; Major and co. handled it badly but it wasn’t entirely their fault. Today’s problem has been caused solely by just two guilty people; Dominic Cummings who abrogated any right to take part in the future governance of Britain by his actions and his arrogance and Boris Johnson who has destroyed the honour of the great office he holds.
When a public figure so openly reveals his belief that he is above the law it brings that law into disrepute. “Do as I say not as I do” has never been a very commendable instruction from someone of privilege and power. Mix in an obvious contempt for the little people and you move towards tyranny. Presumably these character traits in Cummings were known by Johnson when he appointed him. Johnson was not ideologically predisposed to the extremism of the “Leave” campaign Cummings orchestrated but he saw it was useful to his own ambition. And he happily posed with the bus with the lies about the NHS on its side.
Boris Johnson has lost any dignity he might have had by refusing to rid himself of his turbulent priest. He is where he is because the Hard Right wanted him there. He is a one trick pony – but it’s a handy trick. He wins elections. After the Centre Right Major the Conservatives chose three ideologically Right Wing eurosceptics but Hague, Duncan Smith and Howard all failed to win them anything. David Cameron needed a pact with the Liberals to gain power – anathema to the Right and the money men power brokers behind them. Lyndon Crosby , an Australian version of Dominic Cummings, sorted all this in 2015. But an EU referendum was part of the deal.
Post referendum the Right (now the ERG) had a brief and irritating setback with the “Remainer” Theresa May who was never a convincing born again “Leaver”. They plotted to remove her and succeeded. Call for Boris. The problem with Johnson is that though provenly electable he’s lazy and ideology free. He believes in nothing but himself, can’t handle the detail and lacks gravitas. So the ERG backed Johnson with one of their own as they had during the referendum – Dominic Cummings. Cummings does the work, Johnson is the front man.
If you want to understand why Johnson won’t sack Cummings and why the ERG (a convenient shorthand) supports them both you need to understand this history. Cummings with his links to the alt-Right in America and to powerful Right Wing activists like Matthew Eliot here is essential to the Right’s ambition to shift British politics to the libertarian Right. Brexit was a means to that end. Losing Cummings would be a setback leaving the unreliable Johnson exposed and possibly leading to a palace coup. So for now both Cummings and Johnson are safe because, to coin a phrase, There Is No Alternative.