Don’t panic: this column may contain the words ‘Dominic Cummings’, but it isn’t about politics. It also contains the words ‘Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh’, but it’s not about royalty, either.
To recap, most recently, there was the chief advisor to the PM’s tremendously successful journey from London to County Durham and then back an unspecified time later, taking in an uncertain number of optical checks but apparently not many fuel or toilet stops.
And early last year, the Duke of Edinburgh was involved in a traffic collision outside the Sandringham Estate, in which no one was seriously hurt but his car ended up on its side.
Common to both incidents was a relatively compact Land Rover.
Cummings runs a silver Land Rover Discovery Sport: a pretty good car and one that I can see would be an appropriate go-to motor for a senior government advisor. He wants to buy British, lives in London but evidently spends time in the countryside and needs a range greater than a current EV can offer. It’s a natural choice.
The Duke was driving a Freelander 2 (the Discovery Sport’s predecessor) in what looks like Aintree Green Metallic. It’s an ‘old money’ sort of car, the Freelander 2. It’s understated, with not a hint of flash, and I’m told owners find it particularly reliable and dependable. It’s the right size for living in the sticks, too, making it more practical than a bigger car.
It’s also the sort of motor that says not too much about you. An ‘everyman’s car’ might be stretching the point a little, but Prince Philip had one, and there are few people more honourable, but so did a dealer who sold me a Land Rover Defender and later ended up imprisoned for fraud. Swings, meet roundabouts.
The Discovery Sport can only hope to grow up into being an anonymous, catch-all car like the Freelander 2.
Perhaps, though, it’s already too anonymous, because common to both incidents was widespread misidentification. Just last week, The Times said that Cummings escaped in a “Range Rover literally packed with coronavirus”, while the papers were last year filled with stories of a Range Rover being flipped onto its side.