It little profits that an idle blogger,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Matched with an agèd wife, I mete and dole
Unequal tweets unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
Our hero today is Cummingseus, the brilliant strategist of the Brexit War, who secured victory by smuggling his side’s forces past the enemy in a huge bus with a questionable slogan on the side. Every child knows the tale of how, after that triumph, Cummings spent years wandering in exile as his country fell into chaos.
It is less well-known that Cummings – “Dom” in the Latin form – had so angered the gods that he was cursed to spend his life offering comments that read like nothing so much as a brutally sarcastic commentary on his own time in government.
We got the latest round on Monday. Cummings has rejoined Twitter, significantly brightening the national conversation, at least if you like your commentary utterly unleavened by self-awareness.
His insights came, as so many terrible things seem to do these days, in waves, the second deadlier than the first
His insights came, as so many terrible things seem to do these days, in waves, the second deadlier than the first. Shortly before lunchtime, he launched an attack on “UK political pundits obsessed with spreading nonsense on Sweden/lockdowns.” He didn’t identify them, so we will never know which people he might have had in mind, though the Sketch would hazard a guess that Cummings is on first name terms with most of them. There has not, let’s face it, been a lot of anti-lockdown commentary in the pages of the New Statesman.
“One of the biggest misunderstandings, spread by political pundits even now, is the ‘tradeoff’ argument,” Cummings went on, describing the view that government had to choose between saving lives and saving businesses. “Fact: evidence clear that fast hard effective action best policy for economy AND for reducing deaths/suffering.”
Again, it wasn’t exactly clear who this barb was aimed at, although if the Chancellor of the Exchequer can be described as a “pundit”, then this does sound very much like the sort of argument Rishi Sunak has advanced at various points.
Britain should, Cummings explained, have locked down much sooner than it did last year, but didn’t, because of the arguments “disastrously” advanced in February 2020 by “many behavioural science ‘experts’/charlatans”. It was a pretty brutal takedown of whoever was advising Boris Johnson in February 2020. If anyone has information that could help identify these people, they should call DomStoppers on 0800-IT-WAS-DOM.
But it was in the afternoon that the Curse of Dom really kicked in. Three hours after his first comments, Cummings returned with a few more thoughts. We hadn’t understood lockdowns properly, he explained. They were really important. He very much had our attention at this point. “The closer your measures are to ‘welding people inside homes’,” Cummings explained, the greater the impact.
Tell us more, Dom, tell us more. “Pseudo ‘lockdowns’” that don’t come with “serious enforcement” are – what are they, Dom? – “are hopeless”. How so? “econ hit & people die anyway, nightmare rumbles on”.
What to say? Are there any prominent examples of a person who, in the middle of a lockdown, was so far from being welded inside their home that they carried the virus the length of England, even took it to a hospital, and had his actions endorsed by the health secretary and the prime minister?
If there are, Cummings didn’t mention them. Personalities aren’t important. The point, perhaps, is simply that things would have been very different last year if only Cummings had been in charge.
Come, my friends,
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
the sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
Or get to Barnard Castle, anyway.
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