Imagine the fairy tale, the one with the young bored shepherd races into town day after day crying wolf. Day after day, until finally there is a wolf – and he, along with his herd, fall afoul.
It’s a story with a famous message for all children, but it has another overlooked message. One for wolves.
Dominic Cummings is a man who has made his craft through ruthless, winner takes all, victory-justifies-whatever-means, campaigning and he is a man whose career has rewarded him whenever he has looked beyond the Westminster bubble. He is the latest in the pantheon of political communicators, from the demagogic Goebbels to trailblazers like Bell and Bannon.
He has used legislative fast track protocol normally reserved for terrorism while in the education department, to his infamous lying bus. His record shows that he will bend and break rules and protocols to win – safe in the knowledge that victory will absolve him, that history is written by the victor.
That is why his latest tactics are so terrifying. Ever since the day he walked in he has sought to make it obvious to journalists that he is to be feared.
From immediate aggression towards SPADs, to a scandalous closure of parliament, to having the Home Secretary’s head of media ushered out of Downing Street by police, these aren’t actions merely meant to protect his embattled boss, they are also aimed at making the Westminster bubble cry in hysteria.
This is because when the time comes for him to do something truly dangerous and horrifying, the rest of the country will have heard the alarms sounding so often, that they will begin to resent the bell rather than the crisis.
Just think back to the story, if the wolf had gone to that field day after day, repeatedly raising the alarm without striking the flock, then its patience would eventually be rewarded by an unguarded field and a protection furious at the alarm and dismissive of the danger.