Cummings on the Rampage

When #DominicCummings took office he said that all advisers to Ministers must ultimately be responsible to him. This announcement did not attract much public attention at the time, though it must have transfixed the advisers themselves.

Now Cummings is really feeling his oats.  Having already fired one of @SajidJavid’s advisers, he has turned on another. #SoniaKhan was summarily dismissed, apparently without reference to the Chancellor and without any evidence that she had misbehaved. Her security clearance was withdrawn and she was shown to the door by a police officer.

There are many questions. Is the right (if Cummings really has the right) to do this kind of thing conferred by the Prime Minister? If not, by whom? Was @BorisJohnson consulted in advance? Were personnel and security experts consulted in advance?

Has Cummings the right to remove a security clearance? If not, who is responsible? Has he the right to summon a police officer to eject the object of his wrath?

With whom is Ms Khan’s contract of employment? If she wishes to sue for wrongful dismissal, will she be able to do so?

Let us hope that the press will winkle out the answers.


Imperial Offshoot at Pentonville

Here is a marvellous quotation from @Patrickidd’s article in today’s Times on the once-disgraced @JonathanAitken, who has just become a priest.

Father Jonathan officiates at #PentonvillePrison. Kidd says: “he has struck up a friendship there with Imam Tayib Ali, the Muslim chaplain, bonding after finding that Mr Ali came from the Sudan, where a Mr Aitken’s grandfather had been governor-general.”

I suppose Kidd, who is renowned for his good-tempered wit, may have had his tongue very slightly in his cheek. Yet the story does show what good offshoots, like this pleasantly unexpected relationship, can grow from the imperial era.

Down With School

In a routine rant against @EdMiliband in today’s Times @GilesCoren says:”Everyone hates public schools and knows deep down that they will have to go.”

It would be interesting to know who he means by ‘Everyone’ (suggestions on a postcard please) and exactly where the public schools are to go.

Over forty years ago, during the last serious bout of abolition talk, I asked the Abbot of #AmpleforthCollege, #BasilHume (from 1976 Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster) what Ampleforth would do. “We could just move to Ireland” was his immediate reply.

I wonder if any public school governors are having similar thoughts now.

Death and Referenda

Boris Johnson has admitted that if Brexit is further delayed, past 31st October, “the relevance of the referendum starts to wane”

This strongly suggests that he has realised that the 2016 referendum is becoming of historical, rather than current interest.

For one thing, many of the original participants are dead. One of us dies every fifty-two seconds, so in the 1225 days from until the deadline over two million people will have died in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. A great many teenagers will also have become old enough to vote, so that Leave must be losing supporters at each end of life.

Since those of the over 65 age group who participated (I cannot find a breakdown of this very wide group, for example 65-75: can anyone help?) voted 60% Leave, and 70+ of the 18-24 group voted Remain, it seems certain that Remain would win a second referendum, provided that the percentages remained more or less the same.

The current projection is that the vote would at present break 52-48% for Remain, neatly reversing the result of the earlier referendum. By 31st October the Remain share should be somewhat larger.

Apart from natural demographic processes, much will depend on both sides’ ability to get the vote out, and particularly on the Remainers persuading young people to vote.

Follow me on Twitter: @ChristoHill3

Can Khan Explain?

I have just been nabbed by TfL (Transport for London), and fined £80 for driving in the wrong part of London without paying an entry fee. It was my own fault, for not knowing about the new Ultra Low Emission Zone regulations, which I now understand came in on All Fools’Day.

TfL lists a number of arguments that one might use if trying to resist a fine, of which the first is “I forgot to pay the Ultra Low Emission Zone Charge”. Their comment on this defence is rather mysterious: ” if there are reasons why you forgot to pay, we are likely to reject your representation…”

So if there are no reasons, does one have a better chance of getting off the fine?

@SadiqKhan @TFL

Orwell said it

I’ve been getting into practice by reading Nineteen Eighty-Four.

We are constantly told that “the people”, when they voted for Brexit, were not just angry with Europe, but were suffering from a generalised anger about LIFE. Here is what #GeorgeOrwell said (Penguin edition, p.17):

” …the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blow lamp.”

Says it all, don’t you think?

A Glimpse of the Obvious

The Times reports today that the NHS is making plans to reform its management culture by making a list of qualities that occupants of “different senior leadership roles” must have. This list could include honesty and protecting patient safety.

I would have thought the need for such qualities would be obvious, not just in senior roles, and would not require sanctification by committee.

#NHSManagement #NHSCrisis

Follow me on Twitter: @ChristoHill3

The Unrelenting Church

A Spokeswoman of #ChichesterCathedral told the Littlehampton Gazette on April 18th:

“…there is an opportunity to celebrate Easter Sunday with a delicious three course lunch at the former archdeaconry at 4 Canon Lane, a beautifully restored eight bedroom house situated in the historic Cathedral Close”.

What a shameful omission not to take the opportunity of Easter Sunday to restore its former name to #GeorgeBellHouse.

The name was changed when ‘Carol’ accused #BishopGeorgeBell (who died in 1958) of molesting her over sixty years earlier.

In normal life people accused of crimes must still be alive and are found Guilty or Not Guilty, but the Church of England is insisting that Bell be found ‘Innocent’. In so far as anyone dead can be found innocent of an accusation from long ago and with no supporting evidence, Bell has been so found. Yet the prelates, who have much ‘face’ to lose, insist that a cloud still hangs over his name.

Fortunately it is for the Dean and Chapter, not the #BishopofChichester or the #ArchbishopofCanterbury, to restore the house’s name. Why have they not done so?







Catholic Exclusion

Are there no limits to the endogenous inhumanity of the #HomeOffice?

The Sunday Times recounts today that there is a severe shortage of home-grown #CatholicPriests, yet dozens of foreign priests have been refused visas. In some cases their English was not good enough; in others their jobs had not been adequately advertised at home.

I wonder if anyone tells the #HomeSecretary about these cases. Or are they too far down the food chain for him to take notice?