It has been a good time to be long of Dominic Cummings, all publicity being good and all that; though I see in the aftermath of his giving evidence, that right-thinking people* have piled on a bit. Note that – giving evidence. He didn’t go to the newspapers or television; he did it properly by giving evidence under oath to a parliamentary committee. It was something of a diatribe, but didn’t the detail give it verisimilitude? Most of the criticism has been about his once being part of, not to say the energy behind, all that he now criticises, but I saw nothing wrong with that. Who hasn’t found themselves in an awful job, with a stupid boss, but been required to stick with it, toe the line, and make the best of it? What most of us don’t get, is a chance to set the record straight afterwards, bust the myth, and tell the world what an thick prick he really is. * David Mitchell and Ian Hislop.
That, was what I loved most about Cumming’s evidence. Describing the choice between Corbyn and Johnson as a system that has gone extremely badly wrong, is simply intellectually correct, and a feather in the cap of all of us who could find no one to vote for last time. Yes, I know that there was a third party, but they put up a Sixer instead of a Brown Owl, and don’t count.
Once he’d finished with him, David Mitchell then turned his ire on Martin Bashir and the BBC. Not claiming to be clever like Cum-Bot, but who didn’t know that Bashir was a creep the first time around? Mitchell, to paraphrase, said that no one was interested in the News, and that by allowing Bashir to commit fraud to spice it up a bit, they have ended up creating a movement of people that hate the BBC, whereas normally they’d love it because of the comedy shows, dramas and documentaries (interesting that he didn’t include sport on that list). I, unlike David, cannot speak for the people, but I can tell him what I hate about the BBC. I hate being preached at by people like him, who think that they know better than us what it is we think and believe; and who are prepared to subvert the purpose of a light-entertainment show for their own ends. He was an invited (presumably paid) guest on the show and he should have shut up and done his job. Let him Tweet his shabby opinions.
We’d have no truck with such behaviour on our show, which, by the way, we called Glasnost in the end. Mainly because most people know what that actually means. A Sock in the Eye (Glas = Russian for eye; nost = Russian for sock), was too much of a contrivance. Our Cum-Bot host, wearing a Cumming’s mask stuck onto a full-face Covey shield, put hard questions to housewive’s favourite, the Longfellow, Richard Osman in the latest show.
He deployed that charming everyman front that he takes everywhere with him, and he’s probably quite nice anyway, but he was on to promote his book, so he was fair game. It was pretty obvious pretty quickly, that he didn’t have any knowledge of real literature. Perhaps, Cum-Bot put to him, when he failed the Dicken’s test, [https://dickiewhitesdiary.com/2021/02/18/18th-feb-like-a-circle-in-a-spiral-like-a-wheel-within-a-wheel-never-ending-or-beginning-on-an-ever-spinning-reel/], that as he only had mindless ephemera to draw on when writing his own book, that it explained why it was such a poor read.
The Longfellow furrowed a brow and looked at him quizzically, ‘I mean it’s crap,’ said Cum-Bot.
Longshanks rejoindered with, ‘a million people would disagree with you there.’
But Cum-Bot was on a roll, and said, ‘with respect, none of that million had read it before they bought it,’
Langoustine comes back with, ‘all books are like that. Word of mouth and good write-ups sell them.’
‘Precisely,’ says Cum-Bot, ‘your success is more about marketing than writing, and that’s mainly because you appear on tea-time TV, where you ingratiate yourself into the lives of idiots.’
Longboat tried to intervene but Cum-Bot wouldn’t give way, ‘Do you think an anonymous wannabee writer would have got that book away?’ he asked. ‘They wouldn’t have even got a literary agent to read past the synopsis.’
Longshore Boatman smiled weakly; is this a joke he thought? But Cum-Bot was unrelenting, ‘I’ve read it and I’m telling you, it’s awful. Any decent reviewer has said the same thing – and,’ he noticed that Café Lungo was attempting to interject, ‘don’t tell me that you’ve had good reviews in Coffee Time, or Good Housekeeping. Here’s a review from my mum,’ he said, ‘she is well read, and in your demographic. The note she sent me with the book read – it is written for twelve-year-olds, an attempt at Agatha Christie but worse than Enid Blyton; in terms of TV programmes, the equivalent of watching Lorraine. My mum didn’t go to Cambridge by the way – she likes Hilary Mantel. Did you?
‘No,’ he says, and notably doesn’t add, ‘I went to Oxford instead.’
Cum-Bot rises for the strike, ‘did you go to a fee-paying school?’
‘What are you then, the pranking most sixth-former of your generation?’
Longboat Bedtime smiles beneficently, trying to gain the upperhand. ‘Your mum’s just one case, you can’t please everyone,’ at which point Cum-Bot unfurls a thin strip of paper almost as long as the man himself, and says, ‘I asked my friends to read it too, and I have their comments if you’d like to hear them.’
‘Well, I’m very happy with the way it’s worked out,’ says Lumbago, ‘I’ll send you a copy of the new book when it’s out.’ He’s started to look about him suspiciously, as if he’s the sting in a Noel Edmonds-Jeremy Beadle style prank. ‘Oh no you don’t,’ says Cum-Bot, raising his hands, ‘this is truth and reconciliation. If you go early, it will impact on your final score.’
‘But I can go?’ he asks.
Cum-Bot shrugs, and the ungainly giant is escorted to a debriefing booth to the side of the set.
‘That was an ordeal,’ says a disembodied voice, and the Longshoreman exhales and nods to say yes. It’s like he gets that it’s part of the show to get a roughing up, come out of it, then start to feel better for having done it, like taking a douche ecossaise on a hot day.
‘What do you think you scored, out of 50?’ the voice asks.
Longitudinal shrugs and goes, ‘pretty poor, fifteen?’
The voice laughs for ages then says, ‘seven.’
As his culinary gift, he brought with him an orange drizzle cake, which we considered to be an act of shameless promotion, so for that, together with his poor score, a small person placed a step ladder alongside him, climbed to the top, then squashed it in his mush.
Good show, on the whole though. Great TV.