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Much has been made of Dominic Cummings early year blog-post asking for ‘misfits’, ‘policy experts’ and ‘weirdos’ to join him in the new Government to solve some of the country’s most complex problems.
The call from the Prime Minister’s Senior Adviser, Dominic Cummings, for “data scientists, project managers, policy experts and assorted weirdos” has sent heads spinning in Westminster and on Twitter. But what does this mean in practice and where should he start? Well, as Policy Exchange pointed out in Whitehall Reimagined, the Government has a unique opportunity to revitalise its digital leadership. Key to the fulfilment of their digital ambitions will be the appointment of the newly-created Government Chief Digital Information Officer (CDIO).
Neil Basu, Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, head of counter-terror policing, is a man on a mission. It is in many ways a noble mission. As he spelled out in a lecture he gave last month to the Society of Editors, he wants to “maximise well-being and minimise harm,” “promote positive values and undermine evil ideologies that attack our way of life,” and “minimise the suffering of victims and survivors of crime and terrorism.” And at the heart of his pitch to the country’s leading journalists was a seductive message. We are all defenders of our way of life, he told them; you too are a pillar of our democracy. Shouldn’t we work hand in hand to protect the values that we hold in common?
The UK should feel deservedly pleased with the results of this week’s PISA rankings. Since the last rankings three years ago, it has risen from 22nd to 14th in reading, from 15th to 14th in science and from 27th to 18th in maths. The last is a particular achievement, with the UK improving nine score points over the last three years, one of only a handful of countries to secure a statistically significant increase. The gender gap and rich-poor attainment gap in the UK is also narrower in both cases than the OECD average.
The Labour Party manifesto, published last week, promises that the first year of a Labour government would see the introduction of “a War Powers Act to ensure that no prime minister can bypass Parliament to commit to conventional military action”. Enacting legislation of this kind would be a major change in our constitutional arrangements. The risk is that it would distort decision-making about the use of force and would undermine political responsibility for its use.
Related Content Photo Credit: Images Money The Conservative and Labour manifestos make significant pledges on housing policy. The focus of the Conservatives is supporting people into home-ownership, while the centrepiece of Labour’s manifesto is the pledge that local...
Related Content The Conservative and Labour manifestos make significant pledges on housing policy. The focus of the Conservatives is supporting people into home-ownership, while the centrepiece of Labour’s manifesto is the pledge that local authorities build many more...
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The Supreme Court’s prorogation judgement is the latest episode in a larger parliamentary and judicial effort to dampen the strength of the executive in constitution. This is not to deny the constitutional significance (or novelty) of the judgement, but it does raise questions about how much discretion should be left to the executive in any new equilibrium.