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Upping the power-grab ante

Discussion in 'Personal' started by monicabilongame, Aug 15, 2020.

  1. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Don't let the A level results and the new quarantine restrictions make you take your eye of the Cummings ball - Johnson may have decreed the move but it will be Cummings behind the whole thing.


    Dominic Cummings and Munira Mirza - two key advisors to prime minister Boris Johnson - will be moving into the Cabinet Office in the latest sign of a major shake up of the civil service.

    Johnson is moving his most senior advisors to 70 Whitehall and removing the door that separates the two buildings in a symbolic gesture that unites the two office complexes.

    Mirza, who is the chair of Downing Street’s policy unit, and Cummings will shift offices in September in a move to strengthen No 10’s grip on the department which is responsible for implementing the prime minister’s policy agenda throughout Whitehall.

    Around 20 political officials - believed to include Cummings and Mirza - will make the jump and be expected to work alongside Cabinet Office civil servants in a move which one government source said was decreed by the prime minister himself.

    Cummings has been a staunch critic of how Whitehall operates and has long campaigned for its overhaul. He has also accused the Cabinet Office’s top brass of limiting the autonomy of individual ministers.

    Last year, he proposed a complete overhaul of the department and sent in a “red team” of experts “operating next to, and in some senses above, the Cabinet Office” working to stress-test all government decisions and policies.

    In a research paper by Policy Exchange, a thinktank with close links to the current cabinet, No 10 is being urged to expand the size and reach of its operations and transfer the Economic and Domestic Affairs Secretariat, which oversees all domestic policy from the Cabinet Office, to the direct control of the prime minister.

    Other changes occurring to Whitehall’s infrastructure includes the merging of the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the replacement of Sir Mark Sedwill as cabinet secretary, and a cut in civil servants working in government communications.

  2. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    Good god yes. We wouldn't want anyone communicating what was going on, would we.
    I hope some disgruntled underling is as I type planning a long campaign of leakage.
    WB and nomad like this.
  3. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    This will all end very badly.
    Laphroig and Jolly_Roger15 like this.
  4. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    ...and someone will have a hell of a mess to sort out.

    Johnson is rapidly becoming redundant.
  5. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    This in particular is almost guaranteeing that nothing will ever get done or, if it is, it will be done badly.
    ajrowing likes this.
  6. Katzenjammer

    Katzenjammer Senior commenter

    Any brain child of the Policy Exchange will be, let us say, born on the wrong side of the blanket.
    Jolly_Roger15 and ajrowing like this.
  7. modelmaker

    modelmaker Lead commenter

    There's an interesting series here that gives an insight into Cummings thought processes. It suggests that our traditional models of government may not be best equipped for the modern world, but mathematical modelling might lead to improved decision making. The first episode interestingly ends with a reminder of Machiavelli's comment "Never waste the opportunity offered by a good crisis."
  8. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    Another ex-member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, like the newly enobled Claire Fox. The Tory party is not what it once was.
  9. ajrowing

    ajrowing Star commenter

    I think we have had an excellent example of the wonderful power of mathematical modelling in this last week.
    An even clearer example of how wonderful it is than those models of the pandemic.
    bombaysapphire and chelsea2 like this.
  10. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I rather think Cummings is someone who is completely in love with himself - considers himself clever than anyone else.

    But is actually pretty incompetent when it comes to practicalities.

    He can organize a campaign but seems capable of very little else.
  11. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    What on earth are 'traditional models of government'? They vary across the world.

    So government by algorithm?
    What was that saying? 'Garbage in - garbage out'.....
  12. modelmaker

    modelmaker Lead commenter

    Don't shoot the messenger, listen to the programme and all will be revealed. Whether or not you conclude that Cummings is a genius or a raving nutter is for you to decide, but you'll get an idea why he thinks government needs to be more responsive and in tune with the 21st century.
  13. ajrowing

    ajrowing Star commenter

    The curious thing is that if he thinks that and is at the centre of government, why is it so out of touch and consistently making bad decisions. He has had over a year, how long does he need?
    littlejackhorner likes this.
  14. modelmaker

    modelmaker Lead commenter

    If we believe the body of thought that Brexit happened because the political elite were out of touch with the views of the public, the only way to change that is to change the way that government operates. Personally I think it's far more complex than that, because a lot of manipulation and lying was going on to gather the momentum that got Brexit over the line.

    However the programme was interesting insofar as it pointed out some obvious failings in the way British government works, compared with how other governments do things. Perhaps one of the most obvious failings is that new politicians don't get any training in how the machinery of government works, apart from a half day induction course after they've been elected for the first time. It would be inconceivable that another large organisation would be effective in a changing world without regarding CPD being high on the list of HR priorities.

    My antipathy towards Cummings is that I don't trust him, but he may well be right that government needs to move with the times. The programme reminded us that Thomas Cromwell reformed the governance of England via radical means and was equally hated at the time. I've not had the time to devote to be good enough on history to know whether the Reformation of the Church and severance from Rome was a good or bad thing for England, but from what I do know about Catholicism, my gut feeling is it was a move in the right direction. At least it's enabled me to live as an atheist without persecution and torture for heresy when I declare that religion is complete and utter bowlox.
    ajrowing likes this.
  15. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    Obviously, due to the track record of fake news, project fear and anti-British bias that comes from "The New European" you should always read it with the assumption that it is going to be either slanted or completely fake, but even they can get some things right, especially if of course it seems to their warped view to be detrimental to those who support Brexit.

    But assuming this is true, it's a great move. It's long past time that the almost unsackable, almost jobs-for-life liberal placemen in the civil service who have done so much for so many years to thwart so many policies that didn't fit with their own priorities were prevented from so doing.
    That Sedwill has gone is good news; one also hopes that eventually BJ will weed out more woolly-minded Whitehall incompetents - and the weak links from the diplomatic service too.
  16. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    I think he's very much in touch with general feeling. But that means of course that he does seem out of touch with the powerful, very loud, very aggressive voice of the London-centric, pseudo-elite, liberal luvvy claque, represented so well through the Guardian, the "Independent", the BBC and Channel 4 - and so diligently by a few posters on here. And whatever anyone thinks of it, the BBC is still the most influential communication medium in the UK.
    Give him time. Unless he's assassinated, I think he's capable of bringing real change for the better for the great majority of ordinary people. If that means that the rich and powerful, who have had things so long their way, eventually lose out, I for one won't be sad.
    Oscillatingass and alex_teccy like this.
  17. ajrowing

    ajrowing Star commenter

    If he and the government are so in touch with ordinary people why have there had to be so many u-turns for example after Marcus Rashford's intervention on free school meals?
    Are you saying that ordinary people thought that the original policy of stopping free school meals was a g good idea?

    If the government had got the exam grading system correct, why the need for the panicked announcement last week about the triple lock and ensuing chaos?
    Are you saying that ordinary people think it is fine that those in private schools should have their grades inflated by an algorithm this year, whereas those in ordinary state schools do not?
  18. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    Says the man who shops at Waitrose for organic chicken.
    ajrowing likes this.
  19. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    Lol. I think you are in the running for the title with that post! The implication that the definition of being rich and powerful is buying organic chicken is one of the most absurd - of many absurd ideas - that I have ever read!
  20. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter


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