Politics

‘Force for creative destruction’: Dominic Cummings plots ‘colossal Whitehall shake up’

DOMINIC CUMMINGS is a “force for creative destruction” who is determined to revolutionise the way Government operates with a “massive shake up” of Whitehall, an economist who has known him for more than 20 years has said. Mark Littlewood, director-general of the Institute for Economic Affairs, made his remarks at the end of a tumultuous month which has seen the resignation of a special adviser recruited by Mr Cummings, as well as Chancellor Sajid Javid as a result of what is widely regarded as a power struggle with Number 10.

Mr Littlewood, who knows Mr Cummings – the former director of the pro-Brexit Vote Leave campaign – told Express.co.uk: “He is a professional feather-ruffler.

“In fact, if you don’t want feathers ruffled then tough, because that’s what he is there to do.

“Dominic is not at all in the mould of the stereotypical bureaucratic – he is a force for creative destruction.

“And if his approach prevails – which it is far from guaranteed to do, given the extent of the resistance he is likely to encounter – it will be the most colossal shake-up of the way Whitehall operates, the no-can do attitude etc, we’ve ever seen.”

Mr Littlewood suggested Mr Cummings would take a piecemeal approach to reform of British institutions, starting with the BBC.

He said: “I think probably he will do things one step at a time.

“If he is then able to show better performance as a result then it strengthens his hand for the next phase.”

Mr Littlewood stressed Mr Cummings was not a novice when it came to tackling red tape, as his time at the Department for Education under Michael Gove, which saw the introduction of Free Schools, had demonstrated.

He said: “Despite the naysayers, Free Schools are now an established part of the landscape.”

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He said: “Despite the naysayers, Free Schools are now an established part of the landscape.”

Mr Littlewood admitted he had been “shocked and amazed” by the resignation of Mr Javid.

Mr Javid’s resignation was triggered by his refusal to replace advisers with a team appointed by Number 10 – but Mr Littlewood said it was unlikely to have been anything personal.

He added: “An interesting theory I heard was that the Treasury – not necessarily Sajid Javid – has a slight tendency to be bureaucratic bean-counters and have I think been a put a break on imaginative policy-making.

“They are a powerful Government department and it seems like the plan is to clip their wings somewhat.”

Such an approach was risky, Mr Littlewood said, given the Treasury traditional stopped Governments from overspending – but was probably necessary to deliver on Mr Johnson’s commitments in terms of the NHS and HS2 for example.

As for Mr Javid’s replacement, Rishi Sunak, who Mr Littlewood also knows, he said: “He is a market orientated thinker.

“One of his challenges will be to find a way to cut taxes given the Government’s ambitions.

“As such his job will to some extent involve managing of expectations.

“Having said that, if the Government focuses primarily on GDP growth as its aim then a lot of the other problems are mitigated.

“Growth of three percent is very different to growth of one percent.”

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