DOMINIC Cummings, the Prime Minister’s chief advisor, has gone from Number 10. The man behind the curtain in the world’s worst remake of the Wizard of Oz, left Downing Street last week with his possessions in a cardboard box. 

He could have left from a discreet exit, but his ego forbade it as it was always going to be about him. Cummings’ flying monkey, Lee Cain the director of communications at Number 10, has flown the coop too.  The Sunday papers were awash with the gossip. 

This was reported as a self-indulgent power struggle between team Cummings and Cain against the PM’s newly appointed press secretary Allegra Stratton, and her pal the PM’s fiancée, Carrie Symonds. 

Glasgow Times: PM Boris Johnson PM Boris Johnson

The story was a poorly written farce. Although in truth, pantomime season in British politics began last July when Johnson became Prime Minister. Our vacuous, spineless, lazy PM has always had the gravitas of a saucy Blackpool seaside postcard. 

A man who was against Brexit, until he discovered it could propel him into power. Tragically, then discovering he didn’t know what to do with that power and responsibility.

The PM’s ideology was old-fashioned conservatism; how do I advance my own self-interest? 

Many remain perplexed as to what Cummings and his posse of vote leave fanatics have done for Johnson and his circus government of non-performers. The vote leave campaign was a factory that spewed bile, lies and hate towards all things European and “foreign”.  

As far as I can work out Cummings has helped sear Boris Johnson as toxic and weak.

Along the way he has helped destroy the standards of ethics and conduct at the heart of the British system of government.  

Cummings polluted and politicised the civil service like a greasy oil slick. Gave birth to an internal market bill that would countenance the UK’s breach of international law. His biggest win was the campaign to leave the European Union – we left the EU in January this year – but how much of a win is this?

It is with incredible irony and cowardice that as we enter the last few weeks of the EU transition period, Cummings departs as the public stares into the abyss of a no-deal Brexit from New Year’s Day. The best we can hope for is something slightly not as bad as no deal. 

Yet there is more to the legacy of Cummings and Johnson than staggering incompetence, arrogance and post-truth politics. Cummings has been central to the creation of a new British chumocracy. Forget about meritocracy. To get on in life all you need to be is a major donor to the Conservative Party, or a passing acquaintance of a cabinet minister or spin doctor. 

During the pandemic some £1.5 billion of taxpayers’ money has been given to businesses linked to the Tory party – firms that had no prior track record in personal protective equipment. Many of these contracts have never been advertised or published.

Last week, the chairman of the government’s committee on standards in public life, Lord Evans, gave a lecture asking whether we were now living in a “post-Nolan age”.  

The eponymous Nolan principles came from a seminal report by Lord Nolan in 1995, where anyone working in public life was required to abide by the “seven principles” of selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.  

Nolan’s report was sparked by the cash-for-questions MP scandal. Some 25 years on and for Evans too many in our political leadership and echelons of public life are choosing to ignore ethical standards and propriety. For those at the top, the Nolan principles can now be disregarded with little or no consequence. 

Glasgow Times: Boris Johnson and Carrie SymondsBoris Johnson and Carrie Symonds

In case you thought this was purely a London-based problem, let’s not forget in Scotland we have the obfuscation over the release of documents in relation to the Alex Salmond inquiry, and Scottish Government intransigence when it comes to releasing freedom of information whether on pandemic-related issues or more generally.  

While our ethical standards in government and public life continue to die in a ditch, we have the prospect of the price of household essentials shooting up from January.  Of all imported food to the UK, 80% comes from the EU.  A no deal with the EU would see the cost of imported cheese increase by 57%, mince by 48% and 16% on some vegetables.  

Faced with impending harsh financial realities, clown cabinet ministers go on television and tell us lies.  Nothing to see here because our farmers would just stop exporting to the EU, and instead sell domestically, so all would be well. 

This is the lunacy of mediocre opportunists who literally do not know what they are talking about. If the walls do come tumbling down there will no-one left for Johnson and the vote leave fanatics to blame.