Cummings seems to be concerned about media reports - GulfToday

Cummings seems to be concerned about media reports

Tom Peck

@tompeck

Peck is The Independent's Political Sketch Writer.

Peck is The Independent's Political Sketch Writer.

Dominic-Cummings

Dominic Cummings

It was “Ask Me Anything” with Dominic Cummings over on Substack this afternoon, which, even in these unpredictable times, is not a sentence I imagined myself writing a year ago.

People do keep pointing out the rank hypocrisy of it all. One such person was told, “Do I look like I care what the media think?” How to answer that one. There are no obvious physical traits that reveal what a person who cares what the media think might look like. But if you were to draw one, I don’t know, maybe you’d go with a man, sitting at his laptop, trawling through old tweets and articles by people in the media they don’t like, screenshotting them, and then making little collages of them to post on social media to tell the media how stupid they are.

That’s exactly what someone who cares what the media thinks looks like, and if you want to find someone who looks like that then, well, his name’s Dominic Cummings, and there’s a picture of him on his Substack, which is yours to enjoy for just £10 a month.

If you don’t know, Substack is a website where you pay people to read their blogs, which is a bit like a newspaper, or a news website, except that when they do it, they’re “the media”, and according to Dominic Cummings this afternoon and indeed for the last 20 years, the media are wrong about everything, don’t know anything and are generally responsible for all of the gravest ills in politics and society.

When Dominic Cummings does it, of course, it’s different. Mainly for reasons only he can understand, but that doesn’t mean they’re not real. For most of Monday, the former most powerful man in Downing Street answered questions from random people on the internet, held together only by a willingness to pay £10 per month for the privilege. Well, they weren’t all that random. Quite a lot of them were, you know, the media. The reporter from The Guardian was there, who’s still after an answer as to how it possibly came to be that four separate people have told him they saw him in Houghall Woods near Durham, long after the day on which he went there to test his eyesight. He continues to deny it but the facts don’t stack up.

What would we learn? “The Tory Party is hideous, obviously.” I mean, we already knew that, but we haven’t all made it our life’s work to make it the most hideous it’s ever been, and contrived to grant it a vast parliamentary majority through the power of phoney promises that we know will all have to be lied away for another day.

But who cares about all that? Not when there’s real gold to pan for. Like the following: “I’ve studied a lot of wars and disasters since a kid. I have had a strong sense since a teen of how fragile civilisation is.”

Is it churlish to point out that, you know, it’s a hell of a lot more fragile than it’s been for a while? Dreaming up some white hot lies about the EU then using Facebook to ram them down the throats of everyone some shady analytics company has told you will be most susceptible to them will do that. But never mind, what’s done is done.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock last week rejected criticism of his handling of the Covid pandemic after private WhatsApp exchanges emerged in which he appeared to be described as “hopeless” by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The PM’s controversial former chief aide Dominic Cummings — who stepped down from the role in December — posted exchanges with him on social media. Cummings, who has spent recent months savaging both his former boss and Hancock, tweeted screenshots of the exchanges apparently between him and Johnson in March and April last year as Britain battled the first wave of the pandemic.

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