Well, that didn’t take long. Scarcely had Boris Johnson announced two new hires to join his depleted Downing Street team, then Dominic Cummings began attacking one of them on Twitter. The Svengali of special advisers reacted badly to the news that Guto Hari, a former Johnson aide during his mayoralty, was to be brought back into the fold as director of communications. Cummings claimed that the ‘message from No. 10’ is that ‘Our new boss is a pro-Remain lobbyist who’s said the PM is ‘sexually incontinent’, ‘hugely divisive’, ‘destructive’, ‘dragging the country down’, & picked ‘wrong side’ in referendum’ GREAT’.
Cummings signed off his message with a clown emoji and the hashtag ‘regimechange’ – typically understated as per. But while combative online attacks were a hallmark of Cummings and the old No. 10 regime, it seems the new one could be little better. For Harri subsequently hit back five hours later, linking to a February 2020 article he wrote, referencing Cummings’ treatment of junior aides. It claimed that Cummings ‘will be gone by the summer’ – in actual fact, it was by November – implied the Vote Leave boss had ‘serious status anxiety’ and that:
If he’d ever held a job of comparable seniority outside political circles he’d know that such abuse would get him disciplined or sacked in seconds.
While Harri no doubt enjoyed rebutting Cummings’ criticisms, it does beg the question as to whether he will continue tweeting in such a vein, now he is the Downing Street director of comms. The tradition has been that advisers don’t talk for themselves, instead only doing so for the government they serve. Is firing off angry tweets at your nemesis really a sign that Boris Johnson’s team has changed?
Harri’s article about Cummings said that advisers should stay out of the limelight.