Since he left Downing Street, Boris Johnson’s former adviser has been setting out his worldview – and settling scores – on his Substack. Could it help us understand the most notorious man in British politics?
W ho is the most interesting writer about politics in Britain today? No question, it’s Dominic Cummings. The Substack blog he started in June last year is not cheap – £10 a month for an erratic and irregular output via email – but it’s worth it. Whenever and whatever he does post, you can be sure it will contain plenty of extraordinary ideas, unexpected insights and eye-popping indiscretions. Cummings appears to have little or no filter on his thoughts, with the result that his writing offers as clear a view into the dark heart of contemporary politics as is available anywhere. He has no time for any of the usual pieties. What you get is a voracious intellect – Cummings is interested in everything from 19th-century German history to quantum physics – coupled with a tireless curiosity about anything that lies outside the conventional wisdom. It’s a revelation.
As Boris Johnson’s former right-hand man – and the architect of Brexit and the Tories’ 2019 election landslide – Cummings is nothing if not divisive. Since Johnson fired him in late 2020, Cummings has turned on the prime minister and made it his mission to force him out of office. If your enemy’s enemy is your friend, this makes it hard for many of Cummings’ former critics to know what to think of him now.