I DON’T know Dominic Cummings. I’ve never met him. But his reputation made him well known in political circles long before the fame that his Vote Leave campaign afforded him. Working for Michael Gove at the Department of Education, Cummings became known as a disruptor and, at heart, that is what I would consider him to be.

Indeed, I feel some philosophical connection to him in this respect. He has, apparently, never been a member of a political party, and although I was in the early part of this century, I am no longer and never plan to be so again. Emotional attachment to political parties is the enemy of progress, in my view, and political parties, to me, are simply necessary vehicles to take you on the journey to power. I treat them as a commodity.

Politics is too slow, too inefficient, too petty, too backward. It tends to inhibit innovation rather than to feed it. Too many politicians have become caricatures of themselves, and the way that they behave is increasingly different from the way that ‘normal’ people do. Not all of them, but many.

This is anathema to Cummings’ outlook. He doesn’t have time to surround himself with people who are stale. He is the Uber to their black cab; he is the fintech to their high street bank; he is Netflix to their BBC.

It is therefore not surprising that he is not a member of the Conservative party, which has for some time behaved like the ‘lower case c’ definition of its own name.

All of this is background to the current discussion about what a political adviser’s job is, and is not. The furore surrounding Dominic Cummings, which it must be said has been largely whipped up by Boris Johnson’s opponents both on the opposition benches and his own, is a puzzling distraction to the real issues around Brexit.

Whilst I had initially presumed that the rage was manufactured, as it tends to be in politics, I am no longer so sure. Amongst jilted Conservatives, certainly, there appears to be a genuine anger and disbelief that Johnson has hired someone who (a) is not a member of the Conservative party and (b) appears willing to change the very nature of the party in order to win.

And that word – ‘win’ – is the key. In my view, this is the dividing line between a political adviser and a government adviser or civil servant. The distinct jobs of each appears to be being lost in the chaos of our current discourse.

It is not Dominic Cummings’ job to give civil servants an easy ride or make nice with MPs. It is not his job to worry about the long-term future of the Conservative party or to consider the predicament of the constituency association chairman who organises the end-of-summer garden party.

Similarly, it was not his job during the Vote Leave campaign to map out the three years after the vote or change his campaign to take account of how the referendum might fracture society.

That is not to say he couldn’t have done those jobs well if he’d been tasked to, but he wasn’t. His job running Vote Leave, and his job running Boris Johnson, was and is to win. Because Dominic Cummings is not running a government. Dominic Cummings is running a campaign, which started the moment Boris Johnson was elected by the Conservative membership and ends the moment he wins a majority in the General Election, after which I expect Cummings will leave.

And at that job, Cummings’ record is excellent. You don’t have to watch Channel 4’s Brexit: An Uncivil War to know that the uncompromising style which is currently attracting the wrath of Tory MPs was firmly established at Vote Leave.

The parallels are very clear. Cummings was brought into Vote Leave to do a very specific job; to win the referendum. He has been brought into Downing Street to do a very specific job; to win the General Election.

He rejected the conventional wisdom of the Tory Eurosceptics about how to win the referendum and stuck rigidly to his own message and his own strategy; now he is rejecting the conventional wisdom of the Europhiles and sticking rigidly to his own message and his own strategy.

Connected to that, and this is critical to understanding Cummings, he is an equal opportunities disruptor. During the referendum, he derided the ERG, considered them dinosaurs, laughed at them, pitied their lack of understanding of what he was doing. Now he is tormenting the Europhiles, who play into his strategy by cementing the party as the true delivery mechanism for the people’s choice of 2016.

They paint him as an extreme right-winger; a hard Brexiteer. He is neither. He is a clinical winner. He’ll do what it takes to win. That’s his job. His lack of emotional connection to the Conservative party helps him do it because he doesn’t care what happens to the party after he wins the election.

This is the key to understanding Dominic Cummings. He is not ideological; he is in fact the quintessential pragmatist.

That pragmatism holds the key to predicting what happens next. His current strategy is relatively simple; be the true Brexit party. Get out of the EU by any means necessary; lose lots of seats to the SNP in Scotland and the Lib Dems in the south, as long as he wins more from Labour in the Midlands and the north. Reshape the Tories towards blue-collar English nationalism? Fracture the Union? Fine. As long as he wins, it’s not his job to worry about it.

But do not underestimate his ability to change his strategy along the way. If it looks like a deal with Brussels is possible – and that seems to be tangible now – then he will change. He will pivot back to the centrist Europhiles, and probably recommend they are readmitted to the party. Lose fewer seats to Labour and the Lib Dems. Cut the ERG and the DUP loose and try to win a landslide for the sensible Brexit-delivering hero – Boris Johnson.

So, understanding political advisers requires understanding their job. Cummings has not been hired to heal the world or leave a legacy of gentle and mild political discourse. He has been hired to win a General Election. And it seems to me that he’s doing a decent job of it.

Andy Maciver is director of Message Matters