Stories + Views
Gove’s advisers etc….
There are some interesting recent articles in the Guardian and Independent which are in some ways a followup to the discussion which followed Janet’s post here:
In a comment to the post, Fiona pointed out the deeply unpleasant response to Alastair Campbell’s blog entry about the incident:
Campbell had asked @toryeducation on Twitter who they were, and they refused to answer; it sounds as if these journalists (below) believe that Cummings and de Zoete are involved:
‘I contacted someone very senior in the Tory party, and a holder of high office until recently, who said I could be sure it was De Zoete and Cummings. A former government member with good knowledge said he would “be amazed” if it were not these two. I was informed that a current adviser in the DfE had made it known to a friend that the two of them regularly went into their office, mobile phones to ears, to tweet on the feed.’
The above is from here.
Of course, Cummings also has/had ties to the New Schools Network (NSN)
It seems to me to be really important to drag these chaps out into the light a bit more: given the apparent insularity of the DfE it seems sensible to factor in the strategists behind the implementation of Gove’s policies.
With apologies for Googleness of the research, for the benefit of anyone on LSN who don’t know about Cummings and de Zoete, here are a couple of introductions; the first from a London Evening Standard article on new Tory advisers, 26 July 2010:
‘Henry de Zoete
Adviser to Michael Gove
Earns: c. £55,000
Family and education: A scion of the de Zoete banking family. At Ludgrove and Eton in the year above Prince William, then Bristol university.
Social circle: A social chap who goes drinking with the other media advisers; keeps separate friends outside politics including football buddies and Lefty Eton pals whom he house-shared with in Hackney. Currently single.
Career: Unexpectedly earned adviser role after five months working for Gove after Andy Coulson reportedly vetoed the more experienced Dominic Cummings. Praised for his media savviness and understanding of policy gained during his time at the Reform thinktank and at Portland PR. Helped on Gurkha campaigning with Joanna Lumley. A libertarian liberal who has long been enthusiastic about reforming schools for the poorest pupils.
Known for: Charms parents and teachers across social divides with an ability to show a genuine interest. Breezy laddishness conceals a conscientious character, much missed during the furore over school rebuilding cancellations when he was on a long-scheduled trip to watch the World Cup.
And this useful little mini bio of Dominic Cummings, from a notice of a speech given by him in 2005:
‘Dominic Cummings was born and educated in Durham. He took a First in Ancient and Modern History from Oxford in 1994.He worked in Moscow and Samara.He was Campaign Director of the anti-euro campaign 1999 – 2002; he briefly worked as Director of Strategy for the Conservative Party in 2002; he helped set up the campaign for a referendum on the EU Constitution; he helped set up and run the No campaign in the 2004 referendum on the North East Regional Assembly.He advises various people and organisations on politics, research, and communication, and is writing a book on philosophy, politics, and propaganda with the provisional title – “On Mind and Conflict: The Democratic Syllogism and the Paradox of Reason”. ‘
Of course, LSN members can do their own Googling and form their own opinions – in the case of Cummings and de Zoete, I’d definitely recommend it…..