The last time I saw a Prime Minister needlessly trash their reputation like this was in the autumn of 2007 when Gordon Brown denied he had been planning on holding a snap election. Even one of his MPs wrote ‘Shortly there will be an election, in which Labour will increase its majority’, such a denial of reality damaged Brown’s ratings and they never really recovered which saw Labour lose power and they haven’t been in power since. These rapid falls in approval ratings are usually a harbinger of a major fall in the voting intention figures.
Political authority is a lot like virginity, once it goes it is very hard to get back, so why has Boris Johnson wasted so much capital on Dominic Cummings? Does the Prime Minister think the party and country will find out he’s a political eunuch with his human codpiece gone?
This little farrago on its own won’t guarantee the Conservative Party will lose the next election, but can confirm a wider narrative, especially when you factor in the disastrous care homes policy and the second highest death toll in the world* then the government communications strategy needs all the help it can.
Black Wednesday alone didn’t ensure the Conservative shellacking in 1997, after all some polls taken weeks after Black Wednesday still had the Conservatives in the lead. It was other narratives, such as sleaze, weaved in with Black Wednesday that ultimately led to the Labour landslide.
*There is an irony in this government, a government led by Boris Johnson, aided & abetted by Dominic Cummings, suffering from a dodgy statistic, but as the old cliche goes, you live by the sword you, die by the sword.