Cummings looks as if he might smell

Why would you want to look like a typical urban thug?

Dalrymple writes that the only piece of writing he has seen by Dominic Cummings was

abominable, both verbose and hectoring. Reading it was like being cornered by a drunken bore at a party who has a totally new theory of the origin of the universe.

The British prime minister’s grey eminence dresses

like a thug from the slums. If you saw him in the twilight coming down the street towards you, you would think of crossing the road to avoid him.

The question for Dalrymple is whether the Svengali’s appearance

is the result of carelessness or of great care. I think the latter. He is the Marie Antoinette de nos jours. Instead of playing shepherdess he plays the boss of a trafficking outfit in a bleak public housing estate.

Why

should anyone want to look like a practitioner of ‘rap’ or of that charming musical genre known as ‘grime’? Is it a case of sympathy for or identification with those to whom such a mode of dress comes naturally, as if there were no other choice for them; or is it a question of packaging? If the latter, as seems the more likely, what is the message that Mr Cummings wishes to convey?

Cummings is said to be a revolutionary at war with the ossified, suit-and-tie-wearing Establishment. If so, Dalrymple is,

sartorially speaking, on the side of the counterrevolutionaries, though I have no particular admiration for the Establishment that he is said to be at war with.

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