Is this the week the magic died for Boris Johnson?

Is this the week the magic died for Boris Johnson? By Stephen Daisley.

What is really going on here? The via dolorosa Boris Johnson is trudging along is about more than Dominic Cummings’s actions and the Prime Minister’s refusal to acknowledge they were wrong, let alone ask the bloke for his ticket. The government’s Covid-19 messaging has been eviscerated, health guidance undermined, public goodwill forfeited and political capital amassed across ten months expended in a few days. The Prime Minister believes all this is worth it. …

Some believe Cummings’ talents as a strategist, proven in the EU referendum and the Red Wall-smashing 2019 election victory, have convinced the Prime Minister that he needs him. Others point to Cummings’ role in shaping Johnson’s agenda (Brexit, levelling-up) and his centrality to the day-to-day running of government. These considerations will be prominent in the Prime Minister’s thinking but perhaps foremost will be his and his adviser’s shared ambition to remake the Conservatives as a radical party. Cummings is the architect and Johnson the front man for that project, one that represents a far more daring departure than even Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson attempted with New Labour. …

Almost six-in-ten voters believe Cummings should resign, including 52 per cent of Leavers … If we think of Cummings and Johnson as populists it seems deliciously ironic, and not a little perverse, that they are making themselves very unpopular with the public by appearing to be as out-of-touch and high-handed as the elites they rail against.

But if we think of them as pragmatic disruptors, a temporary quarrel with the country is a price worth paying to triumph over what they see as the obstacles to their project: the media, the expert class, the civil service and the Tory party….

If Dominic Cummings stays, the reconstruction of the Conservative party and of government in the UK will become infinitely harder to obstruct. If he goes, it will represent an ideological defeat for the Cummings-Johnson project and leave Boris Johnson’s government adrift. The Prime Minister is putting his premiership on the line to save Dominic Cummings because he believes that, without him, he won’t have a premiership anyway.