Michael Gove’s consigliere Dominic Cummings — dubbed ‘The Mekon’ by DfE staff owing to his apparent resemblance to the arch enemy of comic book hero Dan Dare — is back on quotable form with an assault on Number 10 splashing The Times (£).
On David Cameron:
“As Bismarck said about Napoleon III, Cameron is a sphinx without a riddle … Everyone is trying to find the secret of David Cameron but he is exactly what he appears to be. There’s no mystery to him. He had a picture of Macmillan on his wall — that’s all you need to know.”
While chief of staff Ed Llewellyn is dubbed:
“a classic third-rate suck-up-kick-down sycophant presiding over a shambolic court”
Perhaps it’s worth reprising some of his other, errr, finest moments.
Like the time he was hand picked by Iain Duncan Smith to be his director of strategy in 2002, quit the role just weeks before Conservative Party conference and then stabbed him in the back in the Telegraph:
“Mr Duncan Smith is incompetent, would be a worse prime minister than Tony Blair, and must be replaced.”
Or his email to the Independent’s education editor, featuring a vile mental health smear on the FT’s then education correspondent — now Newsnight policy editor — Chris Cook:
“Either a) you really think that counts as ‘wrath’, in which case you shd [sic] speak to Chris Cook about a good therapist, or b) you know it’s absurd but were ordered to write something about spads and that’s the best you could do because you know I never call and shout at you.”
Or the time he called Nick Clegg is a ‘self-obsessed, revolting character’:
“He is self-obsessed, sanctimonious and so dishonest he finds the words truth and lies have ceased to have any objective meaning, and he treats taxpayers money with contempt.
“He won’t do the hard work to get policy right – all he cares about is his image. He is a revolting character. And I say that after spending 15 years in Westminster.
“Whenever Clegg gave a speech, he’d demand we spent hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ money for his latest absurd gimmick. We thwarted Clegg as much as we could.”
Cummings’ approach to dealing with his opponents is one which has infected the Tory education brief as a whole. Here’s the @ToryEducation Twitter account, long thought to have been operated by Gove and allies using a journalist’s children in a botched attempt to smear them:
Prone to “volcanic outbursts”, Scrapbook hears that the former SpAd would occupy the barely used office of then education minister John Hayes making noises which led some officials to “suspect that animals were trapped inside the building”.