'Career psychopath' Cummings returns to stalk UK PM
Tuesday, January 18, 2022       19:18 WIB

London, Jan 18, 2022 (AFP)
Strategist Dominic Cummings has gone from fighting in the Brexit trenches with Boris Johnson to lobbing political grenades at the embattled UK prime minister.
If Cummings has his way, the spectacular falling out between the two most consequential figures of recent UK political history could yet end with Johnson suffering terminal wounds.
"Dom is doing everything he can to kick the door down," one former colleague told the Financial Times newspaper.
"People sometimes ask, when is he going to stop trying to destroy Boris? The answer is: never."
Johnson's notoriously combative former top adviser -- whose dress style of T-shirts and beanie hats is more Silicon Valley than Westminster -- acrimoniously quit Downing Street in December 2020.
Since then, in multiple blog posts and tweets, the 50-year-old Oxford graduate has been waging war on Johnson, labelling the prime minister a serial liar and likening him to an out-of-control shopping trolley.
His latest accusation is that Johnson lied to parliament last week in denying foreknowledge of one of several Downing Street parties held in apparent violation of his own government's Covid lockdown rules.
- Long-distance eye test -
The irony is that Cummings himself ignited the first major controversy over government breaches of lockdown, in early 2020, when he undertook a cross-country drive with his family after coming down with Covid.
Cummings refused to resign, and Johnson refused to sack him, despite ridicule and derision at his claim that he had undertaken a further drive because he needed to check his eyesight.
But Cummings -- dubbed a "career psychopath" by former prime minister David Cameron -- makes no pretence of his contempt for the Westminster commentariat, nor indeed for most Conservative politicians.
With Johnson as the frontman, Cummings, a student of ancient military theory, took no prisoners when he steered the "Leave" campaign in Britain's 2016 Brexit referendum.
The son of an oil-rig worker and a teacher, Cummings earned a first-class degree in ancient and modern history from Oxford University in 1994. He also learned Russian.
After graduation, he headed to post-Soviet Russia to try to set up an airline.
"The KGB issued threats, the airline only got one passenger, and the pilot unfortunately took off without that passenger," according to a profile on the ConservativeHome website.
Back in the UK, he put his vaunted intellect to steering a campaign from 1999 to keep Britain out of the euro. It was there he met up-and-coming Conservative journalist and politician Michael Gove.
When Gove became education secretary in 2010, his senior advisor Cummings locked horns with the civil service, describing it as "a blob" bent on resisting reforms.
- 'Weirdos and misfits' -
His aggressive tactics in 2016 included an infamous campaign bus emblazoned with a questionable promise of funding for healthcare, as well as debatable claims about immigration.
Cummings earned the enmity of Remainers as well as many Tories who had suffered from his tongue-lashing. But he was portrayed sympathetically by actor Benedict Cumberbatch in a TV drama about the seismic referendum.
Johnson hired Cummings after he became Tory leader and prime minister in July 2019, when the government was bogged down in negotiations to leave the EU and parliament was unable to agree a divorce deal.
He hoped Cummings' reputation for unconventional and bold action would help break the deadlock -- and the move paid off spectacularly.
Johnson called a snap election in December 2019 and secured an 80-seat parliamentary majority, setting the seal on Brexit.
He entrusted Cummings with his ambitious big-spending plans to modernise the economy and state, giving him unprecedented powers as an aide.
Cummings famously sent out a call for "weirdos and misfits" to join his policy unit, driven by science geeks and "artists" as a direct challenge to civil service control.
But the reform agenda was overshadowed by the coronavirus outbreak, and Cummings himself fell victim to a Downing Street feud involving Johnson's now-wife, Conservative Party insider Carrie.

Sumber : AFP