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Why does the Cummings story matter? And what does it obscure? The real story is the huge transfer of government assets to private companies that he is overseeing under cover of a pandemic while restructuring the Cabinet Office into his & @michaelgove's private fiefdom
We have no insight into these contracts which did not go to tender but to Cummings's friends & associates. Including a massive transfer of our most private, intimate NHS data. The privatisation of essential state functions is happening in real time in almost complete darkness
Cummings made absolutely clear his conditions for working in govt were smashing civil service & rebuilding in his image & creating British 'ARPA' - an AI-driven research facility. That's exactly what he's doing right now in Cabinet Office with Gove his long-time co-conspirator
Sure, the hypocrisy & entitlement of Cummings is breathtaking but there's a far darker story that it obscures & it's why the focus must be on Johnson now & his decision to throw weight of his office - statement from No 10 - behind him.
There's so much misogyny directed at @bbclaurak who mostly does extraordinarily difficult job with grace & professionalism. But the 'lobby' system of embedding journalists in the heart of government is a busted flush & any serious society would undertake an honest review of it
Because none of this is acceptable. And which came first?The decision to centralise UK's response to COVID-19 which so many public health experts say is at the heart of its failure? Or the private contracts to the friends of ministers & advisors?
7/ There's so much more to say about this. And how it is eclipsing the news we learned yesterday that government is ignoring its own scientists. But job of holding both Cummings & No 10 to account is in hands of journalists who rely every day on Cummings & No 10 as 'sources'
I'm obsessed with knowing what happened on March 12. The critical day when Britain moved from containment to delay. But did nothing to shut down the country. It just let the virus rip. This is what Cummings was doing on the evening of March 11.
The next day, Boris Johnson told us our loved ones would die. But did nothing to protect care homes, shut down mass events or shield elderly & vulnerable. It's this decision that's at the heart of the government's failure. That has seen 63,000 people die. And we need answers
This is what I tweeted on March 12. To massive pushback. But Cummings’s role as interface between scientists of SAGE, friends & associates in private tech sector & decisions of government is key. And this is where our focus needs to be. And on those who enable & cover for him
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