“He had it Cumming” – Conservative Article

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“He had it Cumming” – Conservative Article

A political mastermind has decided to leave Downing Street. For some, it will be the best news in a while; for others, disappointment and sadness. Dominic Cummings masterminded the Vote Leave referendum campaign in 2016 and propelled Boris Johnson to the premiership in the 2019 General Election with the message “Get Brexit done”.

I can only admire him for the way he has pushed two unexpected results. The referendum was a close call from both sides, and it was not predicted that Boris Johnson would gain the largest Conservative majority since Margaret Thatcher, knocking down the “Red Wall”.

Now enough of singing his praises.

Tensions have been flaring behind the scenes for a while now at Number 10, perhaps ever since Boris Johnson took the helm. Lee Cain left his role as Director of Communications, a key ally of Cummings in Downing Street and during the Vote Leave campaign. John Major even warned that the PM was being influenced by a “political anarchist” and that advisers “poison the political atmosphere” which could be “beyond repair.”

I would agree to an extent that advisers advise and ministers make the ultimate decisions, but it seemed like Cummings was doing both. He influenced the sacking of Sonia Khan, one of Sajid Javid’s special advisers when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer. Ultimately, her sacking led to Javid resigning as Chancellor which commenced the thawing of inner-party relations. This sort of power is unheard of.

I was deeply surprised that Johnson did not sack his chief adviser when news emerged that he had breached lockdown rules. It was frankly shocking to hear that political staff and politicians are immune to the rules when members of the public are not. It was embarrassing that a member of the Prime Minister’s government had to hold his own press conference to apologise for his actions.

He does not represent what the Conservative Party stands for. 61 Conservative MPs criticised the government, with 44 calling for him to resign or to be sacked. I was astounded that more Conservative MPs did not stand up for their constituents in criticising Cummings.

Cummings shook the Civil Service in June, with his plans for imminent reformation being laid out on his blog. The Civil Service is the backbone for the government of today, it was foolish to create such a stir-up.

The creation of the FCDO, however, was a good move; combining similar skillsets between international development and foreign relations. But plenty of top civil servants, including permanent secretaries, have left their roles or retired because of the planned reforms.

Lord Sedwill retired earlier than expected from his role as Head of the Civil Service accelerating reforms, but he was “troubled by attacks on the Civil Service”. Over the past six months, the Home Office, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (now FCDO), the Ministry of Justice and Housing and Local Government have all seen their most senior civil servants depart, which is deeply concerning. Tensions are only going to worsen by letting the most experienced officials leave.

I think it is fair to say that Cummings has impressed us with his expertise when it comes to strategy in winning elections and referendums. However, when it comes to running the government of the day, he does not quite fit the mix.

Boris Johnson now must restore faith in his MPs, the Civil Service, and the general public. Allegedly, the Chief of Staff role is to be restored following Cummings’ step-down, which is a start. I hope the Civil Service will be back and running in all its glory. Arguably it never really stopped, but confidence needs to be restored.

Written by Junior Conservative Writer, Max Jablonowski

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Point of Information

With the end of Trump and Cummings, the future looks bright – A Liberal Response

Part of me has to admire Cummings, but as Max says, I am one of those who are happy to see him go. He was great as a campaigner, but was shambolic in government. Although he has made some interesting moves while working in Downing Street, I think Cummings’ departure will allow the opportunity for the Conservative Party to heal itself.

I still believe a cabinet reshuffle is coming and I reckon Boris Johnson regrets a number of MP’s he has invited into his cabinet. I suspect half the choices were made by Cummings who wanted a weak cabinet in order to live out his dreams for the Civil Service. It is why Javid left; Cummings wanted complete control.

With him gone, I think Johnson’s choices for a new cabinet are suddenly endless. He can now bring true Conservative powerhouses back into the cabinet, such as Hunt and May. These are choices that are desperately needed in these chaotic times.

It is also, to me, is a sign that the Tories are returning to the centre. Two major Leave campaigners are gone and more will follow. Brexit’s team didn’t work; it is time to return back to normal and something I don’t even think Johnson himself is against. I welcome the return of the liberal Conservatives from the chaotic last couple of years.

Written by Senior Liberal Writer, Max Anderson

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Cummings leaving is the right decision…finally – A Labour Response

Max ends his article with the perfect sentiment – “confidence needs to be restored”. Not only in the Civil Service, but in Boris Johnson and his government as a whole.

I don’t believe there was great confidence in existence in the first place. However, whatever confidence there was certainly dwindled back in May, following the infamous coronavirus scandal. And I would have to agree with Max on this – Cummings should have been sacked back then. The decision to keep him was not only immoral and upsetting to the locked-down nation, but BoJo essentially opened himself up to further criticism and scrutiny (not that this was undeserved).

But now we have seen him leave Downing Street with a box in hand. The right decision – finally.

Will we now see a restoration of confidence in the government? Personally, I think it’ll take time. Cummings wasn’t the only cause of distrust in the government. However, as the Transport Minister said earlier today, perhaps this will pave the way to a “different phase”.

Will we see a complete reshuffle of the cabinet? A true shake-up of the Civil Service? Or a complete shift to the centre of the political spectrum for the Conservative Party? As of now, it is too early to tell. What I know for sure is that the next couple of weeks could be a turning point for Boris Johnson and UK politics.

Written by Co-Chief Labour Writer, Abi Clargo

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Max Jablonowski
Conservative Writer | Website

I am Max Jablonowski, a second year student studying French and Politics at the University of Exeter, and I am about to go on my year abroad to Paris to complete two internships. I was Academic Events Manager of the Politics Society in Exeter and I was privileged enough to organize events such as Question Time, co-host the 2019 General Election Hustings with MWEXE and host the Rt. Hon. James Brokenshire MP, the current Minister of State for Security.

Max Anderson
Publisher/ Founder at | Website

I am currently in my second year of reading Politics at the University of Exeter. My first interaction with politics was at the tender age of four years old.

Abi Clargo
Junior Labour Writer | Website

I’m Abi! I am a liberal, political enthusiast from the Welsh valleys. Since I was young, I have been captivated by politics. I used to spend so much time watching the morning news before school, and have paid close attention to political campaigns for as long as I can remember. It was a lot later that I decided I wanted to pursue politics academically. Now, I have just finished my second year studying Politics and International Relations at the University of Exeter.

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