WE all know new Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Cabinet is more right wing than any the UK has seen – up to and including those in Mrs Thatcher’s day. However, the real political bellwether among Johnson’s early appointments is that of his chief special adviser at No 10, Dominic Cummings.

The organisational and ideological brains behind the victorious Vote Leave campaign in 2016, Cummings was played by lookalike Benedict Cumberbatch in the Channel 4 docudrama about the referendum.

But Dominic Cummings is no mere free-market policy wonk. He should not be confused with a one-man Adam Smith Institute, mouthing Thatcherite tired platitudes about “deregulation”. Cummings was once famously labelled a “career psychopath” by none other than former PM David Cameron. Put in more political terms, Dominic Cummings is the British equivalent of maverick US right winger Steve Bannon – he’s an ideological disrupter.

Cummings wants to smash the entire British social and economic status quo and replace it with something icily technocratic. He is genuinely anti-establishment but from the extreme right. He loathes – I use the term advisedly – the Whitehall Civil Service, the entire political class (including Jacob Rees-Mogg) and the big City banks. Cummings is virtually anti-politics to the point where he sounds increasingly like a proto-fascist. But so does Steve Bannon.

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I’m one of the few people to have questioned Cummings face-to-face, at the Treasury Committee shortly before the EU referendum. Usually he refuses to attend such sessions. Under questioning, Cummings is defensive and tongue-tied. I didn’t find him impressive. My sense was of an other-worldliness that failed to understand the realities of power – particularly post-Brexit UK having to kowtow to America. Mind you, many a romantic fascist has exhibited other-worldliness. That’s what makes them extra dangerous.

If there’s a common thread in Cummings’s intellectual meanderings it is a continuing, fascist-like call for “national renewal”. I quote his blog, “The whole country — the whole world — can see our rotten parties have failed us. The parties ally with the civil service to keep new ideas and people excluded. SW1 [ie Whitehall and the Civil Service] has tried to resist the revolutionary implications of the referendum” (my emphasis).

An autodidact, Cummings is also obsessed by the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI). He warns: “Also bear in mind that the US-China AI arms race is already under way”.

According to Cummings, a combination of Westminster incompetence and a desire by the EU to “use the Charter of Fundamental Rights to grab the power to regulate all high technology” means Europe is missing out on AI development, condemning us to historical irrelevance. Cummings sounds increasingly like the evil Mekon, in the Dan Dare comic strip, preaching a scientific utopia run by technocrats, free of pesky politicians.

Like a lot of Brexiteer ideologues, Dominic Mckenzie Cummings, 47, hails from outside the gilded UK elite. He was born in Durham and still has a soft Durham burr. He’s the son of an oil rig project manager and a special needs teacher. True, the young Dominic attended the 600-year-old Durham School and then Oxford, but his relationship with the British elite remains ambivalent to the point of hostility.

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He eschewed the traditional Oxbridge philosophy, politics and economics degree beloved of political climbers in favour of studying history. He was taught about Bismarck by the late Norman Stone, a right-wing Scot who also hated the effete British establishment.

After university, in the early 1990s, Cummings pursued a bizarre project to start an airline amid the chaos of post-Communist Russia (he is a fluent Russian speaker and passionate about Dostoyevsky).

This early venture into entrepreneurship failed catastrophically. He returned to the UK and ended up (in 1999) as campaign director for the anti-euro Business for Sterling campaign. This was funded by the inner sanctum of the big business elite – Sir Stanley Kalms, Sir Michael Edwardes, Lord Hanson and Sir Rocco Forte.

The National:

Here Dominic Cummings found his metier as a professional campaigner. The socially conflicted Cummings – a northerner with a chip on his shoulder – has the edge over elite southern lobbyists when it comes to understanding and mobilising the British middle class and plebeian public opinion.

That chip also shows in Cummings’s legendary short fuse with associates and staff. More positively, because (as a social outsider) he rejects conventional modes of thinking, Cummings is open to unconventional strategies and solutions. That’s why he wins campaigns.

Working for an elite while pretending to hate it is a sure sign of an inferiority complex. Cummings goes out of his way to dress down in T-shirts to (supposedly) show his disdain for upper-class mores. Of course, he does so knowing he’ll be front-page news. The grubby T-shirts are an artifice born of the need to be noticed. It should also come as no surprise that Cummings is married to the daughter of an aristocrat, Sir Humphry Wakefield, who has a castle in Northumberland.

Through the Business for Sterling campaign, Cummings met Michael Gove, another outsider. They became friends and Cummings had a passport to Tory Central Office. In 2002, Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith made the then 30-year-old Cummings the party’s head of strategy. He lasted a mere eight months, quitting after falling out with Duncan Smith, whom he labelled “incompetent”. But Cummings bounced back as head of the successful campaign in 2004 to block an elected assembly for his home patch in the English North East. He became Grove’s special adviser at the Department of Education after the 2010 election, and drove through the agenda for free schools.

Why has BoJo hired Cummings at this time? Cummings’s true forte lies in his ability to drive political campaigns to a successful conclusion. What specific campaign has Boris hired him to run? The obvious answer is an early General Election, maybe as early as October 24. We are also certain to see a giveaway emergency Budget when Parliament returns in September. That’s when Boris will need campaign guru Dominic Cummings to mine big data in real time and come up with winning election slogans. Yet, there is more to worry about than having this “career psychopath” running a General Election campaign. One of Dominic Cummings’s great heroes is Field Marshal Alan Brooke, an Ulsterman and polymath political general who effectively ran the British war effort after 1941 while Churchill spent increasing amounts of time schmoozing abroad.

Long overshadowed by the Churchill cult, Brooke was arguably the technocrat who won the war.

It does not take much sleuthing to see that Cummings imagines himself playing Brooke to Boris Johnson’s pathetic impersonation of Winston.

Cummings is in the right place to help the new Cabinet’s libertarian ultras launch a culture war and dismantle what is left of the post-war social democratic consensus.

At heart, Brexit is about an existential split in the British ruling class. On the one side is the pro-EU establishment: export industries; the City; and the mandarins of the Civil Service.

On the other, anti-EU outsiders: hard-pressed domestic businesses, hedge funds, and an enraged petty bourgeoisie whose savings have been reduce to peanuts through zero interest rates.

It is this latter alliance which now dominates the Cabinet for the first time. And it how has Dominic Cummings to clear any resistance from inside Whitehall.