Cummings is renowned , largely through his own efforts, for devising a clear strategy supported by messaging with cut through . It is reported that in the early stages of working up the Vote Leave campaign Cummings encountered difficulties in setting out a definition of Brexit which would attract general agreement.
No Definition Of Brexit
He resolved this problem by simply not putting forward a definition of Brexit.
In Government Now
That was a decision open to him during a campaign. Arguably we are now living with its consequences. Cummings is in government and in government you need to have policies which you put into practice. We are all now familiar with the Johnson and Cummings rhetoric of Brexit do or die. The supporting argument is made that displaying the steely determination to inflict much more harm on ourselves than anyone else will experience will be what secures a good deal.
There are two obvious problems with this. The asymmetrical impact of the threat and coupled with that the profound misapprehension it displays about the EU’s determination to safeguard stability on the island of Ireland and to maintain the integrity of the single market. The strategic choices that flow from these parameters are clear as is the overarching reality there are only three trade superpowers. Ultimately the UK will have to align with one of them.
Johnson’s Belief in Charisma?
It is feasible that Johnson at some level genuinely believes the rhetoric about the display of determination securing a deal. He may believe that his charisma : the combination of mellifluous phrases , peppered with Latin tags and classical allusions , coupled with the Andrex puppy like energy will open doors shut firmly in Mrs May’s face .
It would go some way to explaining the twists and turns of Dom’s Negotiation Week following on from the success of Dom’s Crime Week .
Cummings’s predisposition- judging from past events- seemsto be to retain relentless focus on strategy and to keep hammering home the core messages.
Only a Crash Out Will Do
There are two obvious problems about a deal. Firstly negotiating it . Secondly getting it through the House of Commons with a majority of one. Where the Conservatives’ confidence and supply partner are vehemently opposed to any deal which treats Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the UK .Where also the hardcore of the self-styled and ironically titled European Research Group seem increasingly to regard anything other than a No Deal Crash Out as an impure form of Brexit which must be rejected on principle.
Negotiation Week has been a challenge for Cummings’s Blame the Intransigent EU Narrative. It’s easier to maintain hard-line blame from a distance than when you’re face-to-face and being listened to responsively .
Messaging on the Blink
The apparent consequence of this has been message discipline going on the blink with triumphs being claimed one moment and being played down to the point of there being nothing to see the next followed by their resurrection as a victory shortly after . This is how the day played out .
Here’s my take :