Posts Tagged ‘Number 10’

Uncut lookahead for 2021: The under-recognised triumph of Carrie Symonds

02/01/2021, 10:56:26 PM

The king is dead. Long live the queen.

Dominic Cummings defenestration from the top window of the Number 10 flat has been widely dissected. Less well written is scale of Carrie Symonds’ triumph in pushing him out.

Some of the ex post spin has been that a Cummings exit had always been planned but the reality is plainly quite different – one small example: would someone planning a swift adieu have spent so long poring over a reorganisation of Number 10, down to making changes to the layout of the office floor plan, a few weeks before leaving?

Carrie Symonds has featured in most of the stories as one of the protagonists but principally as “Princess Nut Nuts,” whispering (or shouting) in Boris’s ear, getting in the way of Dominic and the Leave team’s master plan. Agency has been with Cummings and as the drama around his departure played out, the reporting tended to focus on the gravity of his loss to Boris and what he might do next. The substantive question of who would run the political operation in Number 10 was almost a secondary concern.

But for politics in 2021, this is what matters most and the answer is now crystal clear. Carrie Symonds not only prised Dominic Cummings out of Number 10, she is the pre-eminent political counsel to the Prime Minister.

The key piece of evidence as to her primacy is in the identity of the new Chief of Staff: Dan Rosenfield.

When the appointment was announced, the general response across Westminster was “Who?”

As a former Treasury civil servant and close aide to Alistair Darling, there were some positive quotes from Treasury old boys as varied as Damian McBride and Rupert Harrison. But the reality is that this is not a Chief of Staff in the mould of most of his predecessors.

Think of Charles Powell for Margaret Thatcher, or Jonathan Powell for Tony Blair or Ed Llewellyn for David Cameron. Dan Rosenfield does not have either the long term political relationship with the Prime Minister or deep Westminster roots that mean his words on the government’s direction and Prime Minister’s preference will be accepted as sacrosanct.

He is the quintessential outside appointment and whenever anyone disagrees with his position, civil servant or politico, Rosenfield will be subject to being bypassed via side conversations and lobbying directly of the Prime Minister. What odds on Boris Johnson holding the line and backing his new Chief of Staff ? All it takes is one or two decisions to be overturned and authority evaporates.

The only vaguely comparable situation was when Gordon Brown picked Stephen Carter, former head of Ofcom, to be his senior lieutenant. Suffice to say, it was neither a happy nor long tenure.


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New figures from Number 10 reveal how government has lost grip of delivery already

11/03/2011, 12:00:27 PM

by Atul Hatwal

Uncut analysis shows almost half of delivery targets missed just three months after the launch of departmental business plans.

New figures sneaked out by Number 10 in the past week reveal the extent to which government has lost control of its delivery programme. Just three months after the prime minister personally launched the government’s departmental delivery plans, an Uncut analysis of the latest monthly updates shows that 43% of delivery targets were missed in February.

Looking at the activities due to be completed in February as well as those goals still outstanding from previous months, the department for transport managed to miss its one deliverable and the departments for education, home office and culture, media and sport each missed 75% of their targets.

Vince Cable’s ailing department for business, innovation and skills (BIS) and the gaffe prone foreign office failed on 67% of their targets while the department for health hit less than one in two of its objectives.

The initiative to develop and publish updates for departmental delivery plans was hatched by cabinet office minister Francis Maude, but his own department is among the worst offenders, missing 41% of its targets in February.

The story behind these failings is one of government U-turns and departmental spats derailing delivery. (more…)

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