Dom still in the thick of it

Armando Ianucci’s The Thick Of It was the last great British satire, thanks in no small part to Pater Capaldi’s pre Doctor Who performance as spin doctor Malcolm Tucker.

While it was easy to assume that the character of Tucker had been based on Alastair Campbell, purely because he was the only spin doctor literally everyone knew of, I don’t think anyone ever thought that someone, albeit with a far better job title, would ever appear on the scene who could easily have based himself on a deliberately exaggerated fictitious character.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg’s interview last week with Dominic Cummings, the former advisor to prime minister Boris Johnson, was the most riveting piece of television I’ve seen in a long time and from the get go she should be congratulated for the way she handled a situation where the interviewee believed throughout that he was controlling the narrative.

I dread to think what Sky News would have done with this opportunity.

In amongst the times an incredulous Kuenssberg asked “can you hear yourself?”, there was the even more telling: “some would say to that, who the hell do you think you are?”

I don’t think Dominic Cummings left anyone in any doubt about who he thinks he is and the only question really is how this unelected string puller managed to run the country from behind the scenes to such a degree.

Here is a man who was employed by politicians yet believes them all to be morons In fact, he appears to think that anyone not called Dominic Cummings is a moron and woe betide someone should compound that by not agreeing with his every word.

The rest of us are just sheep to him, waiting to be led. His manipulation of British politics and blurring of the line between truth and untruth is, from his smirk, even now just a game.

So unwavering is his he in the assertion that he, and only he, has the correct vision for the country and who should be its public face that even when confronted with the fact that within days of the last election he was considering a plan to oust Boris as PM, (whose only qualification for the job in the first place appears to have been that he isn’t Jeremy Corbyn) his nonchalant response is “what’s the question?”.

He cares not one jot for people’s opinion of him, or anything else for that matter, but his sudden embracing of the media – yet another attempt at manipulation – is now inspired by his desire for revenge, especially as his downfall came at the hands of Carrie Symonds, who he still refers to as only “the Prime Minister’s girlfriend”.

For whatever part she played in ridding the corridors of power of this dangerous megalomaniac, I don’t begrudge her a single roll of expensive wallpaper.

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One of my boys (well, he’s 34) made a great point this week which I just had to share, although he will almost certainly say I’ve nicked it.

With two members of the incredibly rich boys club – Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos – both going into space within days of each other, my eldest wondered whether being blasted out of the atmosphere and straight back down again really counted as flying to Spain then turning around and just going back home would not qualify as having visited the country in any meaningful way.

I thought it was an amusing indictment of people with more money than they know what to do with until two words suddenly came to mind.

Yuri Gagarin.

Of course, there’s a big difference between going up and down in the best that today’s technology has to offer and being shot into space sitting in the equivalent of a giant baked beans tin.

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Stupid TV quiz answer of the week:

Q: Sometimes used as a fuel, anthracite contains which chemical element?

A: Carbon dioxide

Q: Which musical which premiered in London in 2017 tells the story of America’s founding fathers?

A: Oklahoma?

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Edward Case

Columnist