Dominic Cummings isn't the most likable of men. People were furious when Boris Johnson decided to unanimously back his chief advisor over his not-so socially distant adventures. Many felt that the position of Cummings was untenable.
Of course, Johnson didn't necessarily support his advisor because he felt that his actions were morally justified. It was never a case of whether he thought Cummings was in the right or the wrong. The 48-year-old man from Durham is simply a high priority asset for Johnson and he could not contemplate losing him.
Pulling the strings
In 2017, Cummings delivered a speech that broke down exactly why the Leave campaign toppled Remain in the 2016 Referendum on the European Union. It was no fluke. This was a man who was aware of absolutely everything. He knew about public opinion all over the country. He also knew how to exploit that opinion and, consequently, how to win campaigns.
The problem with Remain was, as stated by the man himself, down to how out of touch David Cameron was with the general public. Opinions in Westminster and London were very different from those across the rest of the United Kingdom. Cummings was in touch with all of the general public instead of the aforementioned Government social bubbles.
He worked hard on the ground to assimilate as much relevant data as possible in order to gain an advantage on the former Prime Minister. With that information, he could create slogans and messages that resonated with enough of the population to win the Referendum.
This is a man who works hard but he is also efficient with that work; he understands what he is doing and how he is going to achieve his goals.
The campaigning for Brexit is largely slammed for its misleading advertisements but words were chosen carefully to plant ideas. Nowhere on that infamous red bus did it say that the Government would spend £350-million a week on the NHS; the people chomped at the dangling carrot in front of their eyes and created their own narrative of hope. These tactics were sneaky and manipulative, planting seeds of hope into the minds of the electorate. But those seeds germinated and served their purpose.
How ordinary people were dragged into a war with the EU beggars belief. This was never their war. Now, Brexit is something that must be delivered at any cost. Many supporters couldn't tell you why; they can only say that is has to happen. Fixed mindsets. Facts and statistics have become an irrelevance in a world that is dominated by populism.
Nonetheless, Brexit was, and still is, a truly remarkable ideological victory for Cummings, but his winning streak doesn't end there.
Johnson won the recent General Election by a landslide. He repeated the Cummings slogan, "Get Brexit Done", almost three million times during his campaigning and its simplicity stuck to the voters.
Cummings believes in accessibility with campaigns. He cited that references to the single market in the build up to the Referendum were a waste of time because the concept was too complicated for most of the electorate. Such knowledge of the wider population might have eluded Johnson at the time.
The Prime Minister was educated in Eton and has lived a pretty care-free and reckless life. Cameron also went to Eton and the two share that elitist bubble. Johnson cannot comprehend the lives of the working-class. When he was the Mayor of London, he couldn't tell you how much a standard pint of milk would cost. This isn't a man who is as relatable as some would think. He needs assistance.
In backing Cummings, Johnson is going for short-term abuse over long-term catastrophe. These are unprecedented times and there are fresh news stories that are appearing every day. His backing has taken a pounding but he'll be hoping that people have short memories.
If he wraps up a Brexit deal by the end of the year then his supporters will be delighted and the Government's shortcomings during this turbulent time could be quickly forgotten by many. That deal and the presentation of that deal will no doubt owe a lot to Cummings.
The Prime Minister should have sent his advisor packing but he can't. Cummings, like Lady Macbeth with her husband, is pulling all of the strings.
Good leaders need people in the background to help them along the way. But the Prime Minister should have the confidence to dismiss members of his team if they clearly step out of line. If he cannot do that then he cannot competently lead his own Party, let alone the country!