The country is experiencing a fine fiasco around exam results, first the A-level confusion and the blame game variety show prompted accusations of incompetence; then another government U-turn over GCSC results, in that students will receive teacher predicted grades not the algorithm standardised grades. Even under pressure Gavin Williamson has not offered to resign, nor has Boris Johnson demanded he resign. Williamson posed for an interview behind his desk which displayed his red book and a whip, a possibly an intimidating reference to the time as government whip (2016-2017) he was the keeper of scandals and secrets (https://www.sundayguardianlive.com/world/11533-spiderman-gavin-unpopular-choice-uk-defence).
“Public First” bypassed a competitive tender under “emergency regulations”, it seems the work involved was top line reporting on the same day from focus groups. Inspite of circa twenty Tory MP’s and a few Select Committees raising concerns, the department of education and Ofqual- the exams regulator- had four months to prepare for the exam results moment but their performance has been manqué, and it is the students who have suffered tremendous uncertainty and anxiety. As it turns out there is some cronyistic handwriting of Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings in this education circus; Public First is a small organisation that claims “to understand and influence public opinion through research and targeted communication”, some folks there are old associates of Gove and Cummings.
Matt Hancock, health secretary, announced that Public Health England is going to be re-invented as The National Institute for Health Protection, it is arguable if this is part of the blame game variety show, as quangos seem to exist to pass the buck and avoid accountability. This time folks hope that the new NIHP will have extravagant funding and a suitably experienced team.
Nigel Farage is reporting daily on the Channel situation, Priti Patel has yet to get a handle on immigration; it seems Patel talks tough but does not deliver action and now a young Sudanese man has drowned falling off a stolen toy boat, his friend who could swim survived.
The Financial Times has just announced that Lord Francis Maude a former Cabinet Office minister and a favourite of David Cameron, at the request of Michael Gove will review the Cabinet Office’s performance and its relationship with other Whitehall ministries. Here’s why https://www.ft.com/content/5eeab074-9de8-45e5-9749-86898a089a69
Johnson has a magnificent reputation for having been a first class Mayor of London but a wobbly reputation as Foreign Secretary, conservatives and red wall voters hoped for the first manifestation to be repeated as Prime Minister.
What effect has this had? After the exams results casino and opposition leader Keir Starmer’s forensic questioning, YouGov reports that the Tory lead fell 2 points and for the first time polled Sir Keir ahead of Johnson as “best PM”. Incompetence is the buzzword of the week, reshuffle rumours persists but are unfulfilled. Optimists think the government and existing cabinet might muddle through till after UK finally and completely Brexits at the end of 2020, but whether this will be on popular terms remains to be seen, a few Brexiteers dread a more palatable repackaging of Theresa May’s Deal.