It occurred to me this morning, as I lay awake in bed desperately trying to think of something to occur to me, that cave diving is insane. Not that it hadn’t occurred to me before. When I was revising for my GCSE’s I would manage to get myself distracted by almost anything: Junior Kick Start, Fraggle Rock, The Littlest Hobo, Ken Hom’s Hot Wok and, specifically that year, a mid morning documentary series on cave diving. It was riveting in a strange way and added onto contemporaneous visits to places like Wookey Hole and Cheddar Gorge it solidified the notion in my head that only a lunatic or a simpleton would find cave diving in any form entertaining. To look into that deep, black, soulless pool of unmoving water, a pool that as far as you know at that point has no bottom and say to yourself it might be worth exploring is to go against every survival instinct that humankind has ever developed. It’s also stupid.
Pot holing, on the whole, is stupid too – what possible happiness can you find in an empty hole in the ground? But cave diving, with its added death rattle of lots of very cold water and dead ends and spooky perils, is quite simply the job of a maniac (if you could call it a ‘job’) made more so because cave diving doesn’t really do much good for us. No one has ever returned from a cave dive with a cure for cancer or a solution for world peace, though I do concede that no one has ever returned from anywhere with those things but at least agree there would be better places to look. What cave divers often return with is news that the last bit they got to goes on for a little bit longer and they’re not sure where it goes after that and that’s where they’ll be going tomorrow and then one day they just stop coming back. Forever. More often than not when they come back they’ve lost something; their marbles perhaps, or a valued colleague. Nothing good comes from cave diving and I don’t feel I’ll ever have to try it to prove that statement true. It is for those who can find no other thrill in life and I’m happy for them to leave every claustrophobic, aquaphobic, nyctophobic pussy back up on the surface. To live another day.
Where is this going? Not far, I imagine, but the other thing that occurred to me is that going into politics has some parallels with cave diving. It’s cold and unforgiving, it rarely goes anywhere good and most that enter it often disappear without trace. Remember that bloke that ran as an Independent for Leicester East at the last election and only got 329 votes? No, me neither. Where is Jo Swinson? Politics is littered (possibly a better word would be festooned) with liars, blaggers, bastards, cretins, non events, failures and tissue paper dildoes that are of no use to anyone at all: the occasional saint is only detectable as a rose petal floating on an ocean of sewage. Some of course do eventually get to the top where they are eventually torn apart by their own arrogance, ineptitude and hubris but even then they are ever so slightly more appealing than the troglodytes that whisper in their ears. The funny little cave dwellers that come out at night, cold and damp and with their own special brand of insidious drip, drip poison. Their own agenda that they must see out through the actions of others. These are the political advisers and the only reason they don’t put themselves up for election is because they know nobody alive would ever give them a second look. Enter, Dominic Cummings.
Christ, they couldn’t even give him a half decent name. Everyone knows why Cummings skulks around in the dark corners of the corridors of power: because if you pushed him up front then babies would cry, flowers would wilt and squirrels would throw themselves into oncoming traffic. What amazes me with all the fuss he’s caused in the last week is not that he used his 4 year old child as an excuse (I can’t really go much deeper into the travel story because I still don’t really get it – is it meant to be a joke?) for breaking lockdown laws but that anyone was willing to no only have sexual intercourse with him, like with penetration and stuff, but that they’d also consent to bear his child. They presumably knew the kid would have the same surname and risk inheriting elements of his nature and yet they still went ahead. But there you go, another child the world didn’t need. And now another story from politics that nobody believed.
Quite where today’s Dominic Cummings came from I’ll never know because to find out I’d have to claw through so much filth and grot and scheming my fingernails would never be the same again. All that you need to know is that he is the political adviser to a man who has defied the odds to become Prime Minister, an achievement that in its own way is just as remarkable as Trump becoming President, and I say this well aware that I voted for Johnson, though not necessarily because I’m naturally a Tory but because there was no one else worth voting for and by then I really, really did also want Brexit “done” (funny how Brexit suddenly isn’t at all important these days and funny that Brexit was a gift from Cummings). Cummings’ great political advice was not much more than a 50:50 gamble – the gamble being that if Boris just lurked about being a crass, inappropriate twat for long enough all his political opponents (basically everyone else) would eventually look just a little bit of a shitter option than him and then, bang, victory! But victory through being not quite as unelectable as everyone else has rarely been a successful long term strategy, and as we have seen in recent months the government’s strategy has been found wanting and by government’s I mean Cummings’. It is he who calls the shots; that’s why he’s not firing himself for being a lying hypocrite.
You see Cummings can believe what he wants, very few other people will. You have to be in a super tight, tight spot indeed to need Michael Gove backing you up. It’s not far off having Oliver Reed as your AA sponsor. In fact it’s much worse because we now know that Gove is about as trustworthy as a lion with a knife and fork. Cummings is even worse; of course he is, he used to be Gove’s adviser. He is clearly some kind of malingering sociopath who has decided that the best way to earn people’s respect is to slink around like a shaved rat and dress like a Ford Escort slob and so he should find it no surprise that very few people afford him any such deference. Let us not forget that we pay his wages in a round about way. My broader thoughts on Cummings are almost non existent. He is a slippery shit and deserves to go and it seems a tragedy that Boris Jonson, a man who tries to exude an appearance of strength and independence, is so utterly addicted to him. Cummings is the infected lungs, swollen liver and shrunken kidneys of the Tory Party. His value is of no value and his impact potentially fatal yet Boris fears that if he removes him then something much worse will happen.
And let’s face it, can it get much worse? Of course it can. The country is double stuffed already and we’ve come out of this crisis looking decidedly worse off than almost every other country around, and that’s because of Boris and Boris is because of Cummings and that’s how good Dominic Cummings must be as an adviser. I’d sooner have the ghost of Ken Dodd advise me on my tax affairs. Remember a few weeks ago when suddenly everyone was wishing Johnson well and were all so relieved that he had recovered? Well of course you do and now look at what’s happened; that’s how long it takes for an apple to go bad because a big grey worm has slithered right through it. In cave diving the diver must sometime negotiate their way through a gap that is barely big enough for them and their kit, and this gap is called a ‘squeeze’. Right now Boris and Cummings are trying to get through the same squeeze together because they’re equally self centred, and their shared oxygen is running low as they wriggle their silly little legs and breathe in their pot bellies and persuade each other it’s all going to be alright. And who knows, maybe they’ll get through the gap, but even if they do they’re pretty buggered because as every cave diver knows at some point you’ll have to get through the same gap again to get back to safety and that time will be even harder. Let’s just hope that with each passing day the water gets colder, the light dimmer, the air thinner and that squeeze a bit tighter. It’s not the best analogy but in my head it kind of works. That’s what I’m telling myself, so if I tell myself hard enough it must be true. Which is more than can said for Dominic Cummings and his lies. Do we not deserve better?
G B Hewitt. 28.05.2020