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There’s a lot we still don’t know about Dominic Cummings – why couldn’t he get childcare in London? Why exactly won’t the PM fire him? And most crucially, has he ever had a run of the mill opticians appointment?
For a man who prefers to stay in the background, the PM’s most senior aide is uncomfortably in the spotlight right now – so what better time to illuminate some of the more underreported aspects of his life.
Here are seven things you might not know about Dominic Cummings...
1) The worst nightclub in Europe
In his younger days, Cummings worked on the door taking money at a nightclub in Durham called Klute.
This would be entirely unremarkable were it not for the fact Klute, which was owned by Cummings’ Uncle, was voted the second worst nightclub in Europe in 1996.
Shortly after the poll was compiled, the frontrunner burnt down meaning Klute assumed the dubious title by default.
A former colleague said that although Cummings “might not have looked like a doorman” he had a look that “suggested it wasn’t worth taking him on”.
After visiting the infamous venue in 2014, a reporter for Vice concluded: “In being the best example of the worst kind of club night, this sweatbox of unpleasant humans, terrible music and unbearable odours probably deserves its place at the top of the podium.”
Cummings is still listed as the sole director of dormant company, Klute Limited.
2) Lord Howick and the Mau Mau Rebellion
Cummings’ grandfather-in-law, Lord Howick, served as governor and commander in chief in Kenya from 1952 to 1959.
It was during this period that what became known as the Mau Mau Rebellion occurred, an uprising of Kenya’s majority ethnic group against the colonial British rulers, in which Lord Howick as governor played an integral role.
Officially figures put the number of rebels killed at 11,000, including 1,090 convicts hanged by the British administration.
Decades later, theKenya Human Rights Commission said 90,000 Kenyans were executed, tortured or maimed during the crackdown, and around 160,000 were detained in squalid conditions.
During the entire insurgency, which lasted from 1952 to 1960, 32 white settlers were killed.
Oh, and while we’re on the topic of in-laws, Cummings’ father-in-law Sir Humphry Tyrrell Wakefield once rode the length of Britain on his horse Barack, so-called because it was half black and half white, according to the Fieldsports Channel.
3) The anti-elitist elitist
Cummings has built a career on a foundation of what the New Statesman described as “pitting the people against the political elite”.
The Vote Leave campaign he helped lead to victory framed Brexit as a victory over an elitist political establishment that had lost touch with the common people.
So it’s perhaps surprising that Cummings credentials are, well, very, very elite.
Not to mention the fact he married into a family that lives in an actual castle.
4) The cartoon
During an often overlooked segment of Cummings working life, he had “overall responsibility” for the website of The Spectator.
It was during his tenure in 2006 that it was forced into a U-turn after publishing the controversial cartoon of the prophet Muhammad with a bomb that had already sparked riots across the world.
The controversial image appeared on the Spectator Live! section of the website, which linked to stories on other websites. Accompanying the image was a paragraph that read: “European newspapers reprint Muhammad ‘Bomb turban’ cartoon, but as European populations die and Muslim populations grow, and as more and more European students are taught Foucault and ‘literary critical theory’, the balance of power shifts every day; meanwhile Britain’s comic political class cannot even control Islamic terrorists when they finally lock a few up in prison...”
When asked for comment at the time of the incident, Cummings said: “I have zero comment.”
5) The career psychopath
In 2014 Cummings had quite a war of words with then-PM David Cameron.
Cummings, while serving as Michael Gove’s senior aide, threw the first barbs, calling Cameron “bumbling” and his chief of staff “a sycophant presiding over a shambolic court” (it should here be noted that Cummings currently holds the equivalent post of chief of staff and is presiding over Boris Johnson’s court).
Responding to the remarks Cameron suggested there was now a path from special adviser to “career psychopath”.
6) The slogan
Cummings is widely credited as coining the phrase “Take Back Control” which became so ubiquitous during the lead up to the EU referendum.
Take back control from whom? The unelected bureaucrats in the EU with an inordinate influence on government policy.
Not a bad for a man who would soon become an unelected bureaucrat with an inordinate influence on government policy.
7) The farm
Speaking of Brexit, last year it was revealed Cummings was co-owner of a farm that received £235,000 in EU farming subsidies.
The news was particularly embarrassing for Cummings as he had previously described such EU assistance as “absurd” and of being “dreamed up in the 1950s and 1960s” because they “raise prices for the poor to subsidise rich farmers while damaging agriculture in Africa”.
To top it off, during the Brexit campaign he said subsidies were “for very rich landowners to do stupid things”.