The National:

DOMINIC Cummings, the brains behind the Brexit campaign and the first 18 months of the Johnson Government, is a man who has a very poor opinion of his own political creation.

Having shared with us that his nickname for Boris Johnson is the “shopping trolley” because he is always likely to steer out of control, now he is giving us insights into the British government negotiating strategy during Brexit. That is if just bashing on regardless of the facts can be described as a strategy.

On November 12 in his blog entry “Risk, aggression, Brexit and Article 16” Cummings revealed the astonishing fact that Boris Johnson agreed to the Withdrawal Agreement from the EU which included leaving the Single Market and Customs Union without understanding what the Single Market is and that Cummings and Lord Frost actively conspired to keep the Prime Minister out of the Brexit negotiations: “Remember, in 2020 we had to keep the PM out of the negotiations as much as possible. He didn’t understand them. He wouldn’t read the papers. He constantly shifted positions, sometimes urging maximum aggression then suddenly collapsing. We’d had to deal with this in 2019, though the problem was much smaller then and we had much more grip of him because he and Carrie were frightened of immediate collapse and his removal. After the election, the deep state and my team worked together to keep the Trolley bouncing between relatively narrow rails.

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"It wasn’t until 25 September 2020*** that he finally understood even vaguely what leaving the Customs Union meant. I will never forget the look on his face when, after listening to Frost in a meeting** on the final stage of the negotiation, he said, ‘No no no Frosty, fuck this, what happens with a deal?’ And Frost looked up from his paper and said, ‘PM, this is what happens with a deal, that’s what leaving the Customs Union means.’ The PM’s face was priceless. He sat back in his chair and looked around the room with appalled disbelief and shook his head. Horrified officials’ phones pinged around the Cabinet table. One very senior official texted me, ‘Now I realise how you managed to get Brexit done 😂’. As Hunter S Thompson said, humour in politics is usually dark.”

This is ignorance on a heroic scale! A fifth-year school student of modern studies could tell you what the EU Single Market and Customs Union are. One would expect that the former Daily Telegraph EU correspondent would know what the Single Market is. One would expect that the leader of the Brexit campaign to leave the European Union would understand what it is he is campaigning to leave from. Above all, one would expect that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom would understand what the Single Market is, and if for some reason he didn’t, that he would ask one of his many civil servants to explain it to him.

However, having finally become aware of the huge harms that leaving the Customs Union would do to British trade the Trolly crashed on regardless rather than risk losing face. He had to "Get Brexit Done", although a more honest slogan would have been "Carry on Regardless".

Boris Johnsons’ approach to being Prime Minister seems rather like that of the fictional US President Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Simpsons Movie. At one point the president is given five choices and he chooses one at random without reading what any of them are, explaining: “I am here to lead not to read." 

This appears to be the approach of Johnson. Ignore the facts and head to the sunlit uplands carried by one’s own limitless supply of hot air. This is taking old Etonian self-confidence to new levels, perhaps based on his experience as a leading light of the Bullingdon Club at Oxford, whose sole purpose is to have a good time while trashing other peoples property and breaking the law.

This is surely one of the most disturbing revelations in British political history. The British PM made the decision to leave the Single Market with all the inevitable disruption to trade between the EU and the UK without having a clue what he was doing. This is not taking back control this is losing the plot. 

Johnson is the living embodiment of the old joke that “You can always tell an Old Etonian but you can’t tell him anything". In the same blog, Cummings reveals that Johnson was bored with doing the work of a PM: “One morning in mid-January he called me into his study.

"Dom, I want to run something by you. Do you think it’s OK if I spend a lot of time writing my Shakespeare book?

"What do you mean?

"This fucking divorce, very expensive. And this job. It’s like getting up every morning pulling a 747 down the runway. [Pause] I love writing, I love it, I want to write my Shakespeare book.

"I think people expect you to be doing the PM’s job, I wouldn’t talk to people about this if I were you … You get the idea. Within a month of the election, he was bored with the PM job and wanted to get back to what he loves while shaking down the publishers for some extra cash." 

Has there ever in history been a PM as bad as Johnson? Cummings expressly tells us that “The trolley only does things for himself. Arguments about ‘this is good for the country’ fall flat.”

And now Johnson is determined to reject the Northern Ireland Protocol which we can be sure he never read nor understood. But he feels he must do this either to pander to the Orange vote or because he needs endless friction with Europe to bolster his own support in England.

READ MORE: EU has gone ‘extra mile’ to fix post-Brexit issues, says envoy

The fact that triggering Article 16 may inflict enormous harm on Northern Ireland is being ignored. Even Cummings thinks this is a bad idea

He wrote: “Calculated aggression was rational in autumn 2019. It does not make sense now. The chances of success are far too low to make the gamble worthwhile. Even if I was still there with the old team, I would conclude the same.”

But Cummings is no longer in charge. The Trolley is and he is guided by his whims and what he thinks will bring him personal political advantage. 

Facts don’t even enter Johnson’s brain. Who knows what he will do next? The one thing we can be sure of is that Johnson doesn’t know what he is doing and Carry On Without a Clue.