I read this tweet earlier:
Hearing rumours that Dominic Cummings will get a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.
— Christopher Snowdon (@cjsnowdon) June 5, 2020
It had a hundred odd retweets then, and more than a thousand now at the time of writing. It has to be a joke. Does it?
I was doubtful enough to put a ? at the end of my quote tweet. Otto English, Gareth Bourne had a half serious discussion about whether it was a joke. Gawain Towler made a serious case for why it’s not a bad idea, but then he is a Brexiter. “Trolling us” said Paul Bernal. Anthony Carpen reminded me that Cummings was in contempt of Parliament a little over a year ago.
The question to ask is “would the government be that stupid?”
But the government was that stupid to offer Cummings a Press Conference in the garden of Downing Street, and he was that stupid to claim he went to Barnard Castle to test his eyes. And Rees-Mogg was that stupid to force MPs to queue around the Palace of Westminster to vote this week.
Would a peerage for Cummings be that much more stupid than those things that have actually happened over the past fortnight?
The answer, on balance, is no, the government is probably not quite that stupid – a lot of goodwill for Johnson on the Tory benches was lost due to his defence of Cummings, and the popularity of the government took a major hit. There would be no upside to giving Cummings a title, and even Cummings himself must know that. Things would have to cool.
The problem of course though is Christopher Snowdon can get away with this sort of fabrication without any sort of consequence. He’s “Head of Lifestyle Economics” at the IEA, and they’re not going to sanction him for outright fabrication. Hell, Mary Wakefield is Deputy Editor of The Spectator – and that’s a half reputable operation in comparison to the IEA – and she has faced no sanction for her fabrication in the Cummings story. When there is no consequence for brazen lies, then why not continue to tell them?
So, in conclusion, Cummings is not going to get a title. But that we’re even wondering whether this is true or not shows what a weird place UK politics is just now.