For so long, Michael “Oiky” Gove’s now former SpAd Dominic Cummings protested that he was not the operator of the @toryeducation Twitter account. Moreover, that account routinely ridiculed journalists like Toby Helm, who said that Cummings was indeed the culprit. What Dom may not have been expecting is that one of those on his own side of the fence would grass him up.
Yes, "Oiky", your polecat
Because that is exactly what happened yesterday: As if the language Cummings used to lay into the Lib Dems over plans to extend free school meals was not unfortunate enough, it was all too similar to that being deployed by @toryeducation as the same points being made by the former advisor were run through. And that was before David Laws dismissed Cummings as “frequently wrong”.
“Did [Lib Dems] ask officials to examine feasibility of FSM before they announced it ... did [they] check how many schools had kitchens before they announced FSM ... why did [they] pretend kitchen money came from “unspent” funds when they were warned no underspend existed ... why did [they] ignore official advice that £150m wouldn’t deliver enough kitchens?” As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point.
Now consider what Cummings said in an email exchange with Radio 4 World At One yesterday: “Officials in the Department were unanimous that it was a bad gimmick and introduced in a way that makes it hard to avoid implementation chaos ... Our opposition was because it is a dumb idea, badly executed, that shows why politicians should have less power over schools”.
These give the impression of being from the same person. And that is not just one person’s opinion: it has been stated explicitly by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who added this to Cummings’ comments: “It is based on a supposed DfE underspend that did not exist and they were told it did not exist". See above for the @toryeducation version of that one.
Worse for Cummings, and vindicating everything that Toby Helm has been telling anyone who will listen, is the way that the Fawkes folks introduced the post: “Dominic Cummings, the ex-Gove adviser formerly known as @ToryEducation”. That would be a clear case of grassed up, bang to rights and hung out to dry all at once. The Great Guido says Cummings was behind the account.
Behold the word of The Great Guido
And, by the look of yesterday’s Twitter rant, he still is. Does Helm get an apology? Did a big boy do it and run away? Was Cummings not really behind it, but arguing in his spare time? Whichever way you slice it, what we have here is someone being paid out of the public purse using – or perhaps that should be abusing – his office to carry on a campaign of vilification on his boss’ critics.
Get out of that, “Oiky”. That kind of behaviour is not good enough.