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Dominic Cummings has been firing out tweets like a nutter yesterday and today (more than 20 tweets) in the run-up to his expected appearance next Wednesday at the parliamentary inquiry into the government’s pandemic response. In one tweet he wrote that he holds “the only copy of a crucial historical document from covid decision-making” and he created a poll asking whether he should publish it, give it to the committee, or auction it for charity.
Imagine if a proper civil servant did that…or indeed a person who just happened to be linked to some issue and was asked to give evidence to a parliamentary committee. In either case they would be given at least a VERY stiff talking to, whether by the Attorney General or the Commons Speaker.
How does he know he has the only copy???
One explanation might be that everyone who held a copy had to give it back or destroy it… That would surely put him in breach of the Official Secrets Act and up for a jail sentence.
Watch this space.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen such pre-publicity before for an appearance before a parliamentary committee.
Clearly Cummings will be talking about the Chinese government’s success (and also the success of the government of Taiwan) in responding to SARS-CoV2 – a matter that has hardly been mentioned in the British media at any time, but which basically anybody who wants to talk sense about government pandemic policy MUST address.
Of course if he is so clever he will make predictions. He will say that because of the British government’s decision D there is probability P1 that X will happen, whereas if the government had made a different decision there would only have been probability P2. X could be something like “a third lockdown” or “100000 deaths”. P1 and P2 could be something like 0.99 and 0.01. This isn’t a video game.
I started reading his tweets on the assumption he was reasonably balanced…but when I got to this next one let’s say the assumption started to look very shaky:
“9/ Success seems to have blinded SW1 to important Qs. a/ We did it much better than Brussels, obviously, but Brussels is not a good comparison. How well did we do relative to ‘how well wd General Groves who ran the Manhattan Project have done it?’“
That’s an insane thing to say. He’s losing it. This could be spectacular. I hope he minds how he goes.
This guy who is careful with his words writes
“The best hedge re a variant escaping current vaccines is PUBLIC SCRUTINY of Gvt plans. This will hopefully show it’s been taken seriously. If not, better learn now that the Gvt has screwed up again than when ‘variant escapes’ news breaks“
The word to zero in on here is “ESCAPES”. What’s he talking about? What news might break about a variant “escaping”? What variant? Escaping from where?
Then there’s this:
“15/ Having watched classified elements of covid response, Gvt cd make the vaccine plans 99% public without risks, ‘national security’ almost totally irrelevant to the critical parts of the problem, a few things cd be withheld while publishing all crucial parts of the plan“
What important features of its vaccine plan has the government NOT made public?
He also writes
“I urged inside Gvt to do a review of other contingency plans for more dangerous things than covid, a largely *open* process with e.g @wtgowers helping. Happening?“
Oh dear, oh f*cking dear! “WTGowers” is Old Etonian Tim Gowers, who is not a scientist of any kind but a posh Trinity College mathematician who is almost as in love with himself as Cummings is. At one point Cummings actually wanted Gowers in the CABINET. It’s quite funny really. Tim Gowers thinks he’s a great writer because his grandfather “Sir” Ernest Gowers wrote “The Complete Plain Words”, but the quality of his writing on his blog is ATROCIOUS. I doubt he has ever read any other book on how to write or that he has ever encountered the concept of “metadiscourse” in all of his privileged life.)
“18/ MPs shd force publication of vaccine/variant plan & require mostly open review of other contingency plans before we find out the hard way they’re as ‘world class’ as the covid plan…“
Sure. But MPs won’t force the government to do SHEE-YIT, and Cummings knows this.
And then there’s this
“19/ Such reviews shd seek out those were right & early on covid. Such people are more likely to spot that other plans have errors, gaps, that institutional planning has blind spots, failure to look at crucial operational details etc.“
That’s actually not true. They may have been right by accident. If you ask 80 people to predict the results of three coin tosses and they all predict at random, 10 will get all three predictions right. Will he be seeking them out?