On Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson, and the no-deal Brexit blame game

My MP, Oliver Heald, a Conservative who campaigned with me for Remain during the 2016 EU referendum, has written to say that blame for a no-deal Brexit will lie with those who voted against Theresa May’s deal.

Below is my response to Sir Oliver.


Royston, 30 August 2019

Dear Oliver,

Transferring responsibility for a no-deal Brexit onto those who for whatever reason declined to support Theresa May’s deal is disingenuous. That now defunct agreement had numerous flaws, and, whilst the EU27 negotiated in good faith, May and her advisors must have known that the deal would fail in Parliament.

The Cummings-Johnson strategy appears to hinge on transferring blame, with the intention of turning a caretaker prime minister with no mandate into a hero of the hour who will use this advantage to win a snap general election before the effects of Brexit kick in. Now I realise that in politics expediency is everything, but this is self-serving shamelessness, with no plan of action beyond the next few weeks.

Johnson’s distinctly Nietzschean will-to-power trumps all else, which is ironic, given that data show Trumpian troll farms to be driving most of the recent pro-Johnson comment on social media. As with the Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum, all this reeks of Dominic Cummings: a psychopathic ideologue who I can only liken to Malcolm Tucker without the interpersonal skills.

You write of there being plenty of time for Parliament to debate Brexit before the nominal exit date. This is incorrect. The timing puts Johnson’s opponents in an invidious position. They could vote against any renegotiated deal, and take the blame for a no-deal Brexit, or they could vote in favour in order to prevent us crashing out of the EU on 31 October. Cummings has already let it be known that Johnson may refuse to resign in the event of a parliamentary vote of no confidence.

Either way, so the theory goes, Johnson comes out smelling of roses, and Brexit consequences be damned. All political careers end in failure of one sort or another, but holding onto power for as long as possible is sufficient driving force for this particularly unmelodious Alexander Johnson.

As you know from previous discussions, I regard Brexit as a criminal conspiracy instigated by those who would short England for personal financial gain. That was my view in 2016, when we campaigned together for Remain, and events since then have hardened my opinion. Whatever emerges from this sorry mess will likely be very different. England’s future, like those of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, lies in Europe.

With kind regards,