Boris Johnson could have avoided a second lockdown to deal with coronavirus but he “totally bogged it”, Dominic Cummings has claimed.
Writing in his much-awaited “ask me anything” session on his blog yesterday, the prime minister’s former adviser made a number of allegations about Johnson and the government, including that decision making in government were “horrific” and that it had become like a “branch of the entertainment industry”.
“When you watch the apex of power you feel like ‘if this were broadcast, everyone would sell everything and head for the bunker in the hills’,” he said.
“It’s impossible to describe how horrific decision-making is at the apex of power and how few people watching it have any clue how bad it is or any sense of how to do it better. It’s generally the blind leading the blind with a few non-blind desperately shoving fingers in dykes and clutching their heads.”
Downing Street now is “just a branch of entertainment industry and will stay so ‘til [Boris Johnson] gone, at earliest”, said Cummings, adding: “The most valuable commodity in government is focus and the PM literally believes that focus is a menace to his freedom to do whatever he fancies today, hence why you see the opposite of focus now and will do ‘til he goes.”
Yesterday, he repeated these claims and said Johnson “lies” too.
“No 10 lies routinely cos that’s the PM’s personality,” he said, adding his “greatest strength” is that he is “more self-aware than almost anybody else in politics”, but this only comes to the fore when he is in “fear of imminent career death.
“Sadly he keeps it hidden from himself most of the time,” he said. “He’s a much more complex character than he seems, behind the mask is ... another mask.”
He described Johnson as “a pundit who stumbled into politics and acts like that 99 per cent of the time but 1 per cent not - and that 1 per cent is why pundits misunderstand him/underestimate him”.
Cummings also called for an investigation of the use of “do not resuscitate” instructions for people with learning difficulties who developed Covid-19, saying it was clear that “some terrible stuff happened”.
He said the issue wasn’t discussed in government and “were taken in quite a decentralised way.”
He also said Rishi Sunak shared concerns that Johnson had “no plan” with the virus and was key in advancing lockdown in the UK.
He said: “September decision not to act seriously was a PM decision against advice of scientists, data team, me and others in No 10. It wasn’t a cabinet decision or ‘cos of Sunak’.
“Sunak’s view was the same as all serious people July-Oct: there is no plan, just a trolley smashing side to side, we can’t keep telling people ‘go back to work arghhh stop lockdown arghhh go back to work Covid is all nonsense argh save the NHS...’ etc, which is what PM was doing July-Oct.”
When asked why he worked to install Johnson in Downing Street, he said he would address these issues later in the week.
He added: “The Tory Party is hideous obviously, but that was part of the point of doing Brexit – to put a bomb under them all so they all have to change. And they are changing. Not fast enough.”
The “crucial question” in UK politics is “how to accelerate the change/obliteration of existing parties”, he said.