Let’s get one point out of the way at once: we didn’t seek to discover how many panel members believe Dominic Cummings wasn’t an asset to the Government…but nonetheless regret that he’s no longer in place. That didn’t seem to be a worthwhile exercise.
So now to the responses we have – which are very interesting indeed, at least to us.
Add together the totals of those who thought that Dominic Cummings was an asset to the Government, and you have 73 per cent of the total – seven in ten Party members.
Boris Johnson won 66 per cent of the Party membership vote in the 2019 leadership contest, so this high score for Cummings represents an endorsement of what he brought to the table – including, in all likelihood, from some activists who voted for Jeremy Hunt.
Barnard Castle notwithstanding, activists clearly respect not only what he brought to the 2016 EU referendum, the first Johnson Government, the 2019 general election strategy, and his contribution to the second Johnson administration.
Over a quarter of that whole, 28 per cent, may be fully signed-up members of the Cummings fan club – believing not only that he was an asset to the Government but that it’s regrettable that he’s no longer in place.
(If they’re not such members, they presumably believe that it would have been better to have him inside the tent than out – given his post-departure campaign against Johnson.)
Though if just over a quarter of respondents could be fully signed-up members of the Cummings fan club, another quarter clearly can’t stand the mention of him – believing that he wasn’t an asset and that his departure, consequently, isn’t regrettable.
Overall, roughly seven in ten of the panel (72 per cent) think Cummings was an asset, and seven in ten (70 per cent) of the panel don’t regret his departure.
How can those two views be reconciled?
As ever, your guess is as good as ours, but our take is that the majority believe that the leader must, in the last resort, be supported – and that if Johnson thought the town wasn’t big enough for both him and Cummings, then he must be backed.