Dominic Cummings, the Rasputin of Downing Street, has been on a crusade against the Whitehall establishment. Recently, he has turned his attention to the army. The British state is increasingly split and in disarray.
There’s only one thing that’s ever really mattered to Boris Johnson over the course of his career: looking out for number one. Boris was as happy as a pig in muck playing up to the reactionary, Brexiteer base of the Tory Party. There were no principles involved – only the one, overriding principle of securing his career.
For the ruling class, the havoc had only begun. Since Boris got the top job in government, it’s turned out that as well as being exceptionally vain, he is also notoriously lazy. So he has subcontracted the job of prime minister to his special advisor, the Rasputin of his court, Dominic Cummings.
From his perspective, however, Cummings is fighting his own battle. And he hasn’t hesitated in taking this battle – and the civil war raging in the Tory Party – into the heart of the British state.
Cummings learnt the tools of the trade as an advisor to Gove when the latter was Minister for Education. Cummings believes that he is personally involved in a struggle to the death against ‘The Blob’: an evil bureaucracy that stretches from government through to media, education and every other sphere of public life.
With his passion for smashing bureaucracy, Cummings was just the man they needed when it came to cracking open education for the purpose of academisation, as part of David Cameron’s privatisation plans.
Now, elevated by circumstances to the heart of Downing Street, Cummings is continuing his Holy War against The Blob with all the zeal of a crusader.
Fantasy and fiction
The ruling class can only look on aghast as Cummings marauds through Whitehall, replacing the hand-picked men and women entrusted with the carefully-constructed machinery of the capitalist state with “misfits and weirdos” personally loyal to himself.
Cummings has already managed to force out Head of the Civil Service, Mark Sedwill. Now he’s lining up the army chiefs themselves in his crosshairs.
One Tory Brexiteer, Mark Francois, gloatingly told a senior army general recently: “Can we just make a plea to you. You are the professional head of the armed forces. Please nip back to the department and ask them to sort their bloody selves out because, if not, Cummings is gonna come down and sort you out his own way and you won’t like it.”
It’s clear Cummings isn’t happy with the army. They are too bloated and too expensive. Lobbyists from firms like BAE are just another part of The Blob that Cummings has sworn to destroy.
But he has a plan. Instead of spending so much money on unnecessary things like soldiers, Cummings wants to slash the number of soldiers in the army by 20,000 and take more risks with the money saved. Specifically, he wants high-tech risks; glitzy things like weapons satellites, robot soldiers, hypersonic jets, laser-sharks and Skynet.
We fear that Cummings has been watching too many Bond films. The idea of turning the British army into an elite, slimmed-down force equipped with cutting-edge, sci-fi technology is the stuff of fantasy. Not least because there has been a massive privatisation and selling off of the British state’s publicly owned labs since the 1980s. The family silverware has already been sold off, unfortunately for Cummings.
Discord and decline
British capitalism is in decline. And neither Cumming’s hair-brained scheme, nor any other high-tech, silver bullet can do anything to reverse this fact.
Undoubtedly, he will succeed in ruffling feathers in the ruling class. The big aerospace companies will be sweating at Cummings’ threat to slash their juicy contacts.
Others are more relaxed about his plans. Conservative peer Lord Willetts wonders why everyone’s so risk-averse these days. Is it perhaps, “the thought of being hauled before the public accounts committee and mocked in the media for spending £50m on some research project that doesn’t yield anything?”
Willetts may well scoff. As science minister he successfully lobbied the government to buy the bankrupt OneWeb company for a cool £400 million. And no doubt coincidentally, this company builds satellites jointly with Airbus – and Willets happens to be a non-executive director of Surrey Satellite Technology, a subsidiary of Airbus.
It seems who is in The Blob and who is outside The Blob depends on your point of view!
We expect Cummings isn’t likely to get very far in his war against The Blob. For the British ruling class though, Cummings’ little crusade couldn’t have come at a worse time. Whilst capitalism traverses its deepest crisis in history, and as social unrest spreads, Cummings is busy setting fires alight in the heart of the state machine. We wish him every success in spreading confusion and discord amongst the British ruling class and their state.