The High Court ruling that a procurement contract was unlawfully awarded to a firm with apparent links to Dominic Cummings has this morning been overturned by the Court of Appeal. This latest defeat for Jolyon once again reiterates the pointlessness of the taxpayer cash-wasting vanity project. Will this latest ruling get the usual wall-to-wall BBC coverage awarded to Jolyon’s rare supposed victories?
The case relates to a contract awarded to Public First at the start of the pandemic. Responding to the announcement Cummings tweets:
“Lord Chief Justice crushes Kimono-fox-killer: total vindication for my decisions on moving super speedy on procurement to save lives (remember all the ignorant nonsense from pundits/minor social scientists/Remainiacs?)”
Here’s what Cummings had to say on the initial judgement back in July:
“Like the OWID decision, another decision I made at the height of the crisis last year was recently the subject of legal action. The High Court found that my decision to hire a company to provide insight into public understanding of covid was ‘unlawful’ because of ‘apparent bias’. Not actual bias, which the court agreed there was no evidence of, but ‘apparent bias’. This ‘apparent bias’ existed, the court said, because there was not a paper trail showing my thought process and the extent to which I considered hiring someone else. The judge inferred that I had not considered others therefore this could look like apparent bias — if the entire paper trail was made public in a JR into bias, which is obviously very circular reasoning!
In fact I did consider hiring others, I considered it extremely quickly and made a decision — one of dozens that day, and not the most important. I did not go through a formal process, I did not write down a list of criteria and pretend to ‘rank’ different companies. We had not time, we had a disease doubling every 2-3 days. I thought very quickly, made a decision, then moved on to another similar decision, then another. That was my job. My decision was expert, as the judge accepted. (Our data was appalling, PHE’s communication plans were no good, we urgently needed to figure out how to communicate better to lower the probability of killing people by mistake, so I hired a company I knew would do an excellent job and they did.)”
For some people the bureaucratic procedure is more important than the outcome. They are not the kind of people you want in control during an emergency…
Research from Public First’s Rachel Wolf has revealed that when asked to choose between higher taxes, borrowing, or spending cuts, a plurality of the public back spending cuts over the other options. Tax rises are most popular with high social status white collar ‘AB’ voters, and least popular with working class ‘DE’ voters, who overwhelmingly back spending cuts. Working class constituents in the red wall aren’t typical Islington socialists…
The other finding is that people are less opposed to taxes they think they don’t have to pay, and more opposed to taxes they think they do have to pay. In reality this translates to taxes they have to pay directly. Any tax that is indirect on business still has an economic cost that is borne in the end by individuals, for example dividend taxes reduce your pension income, business rates and carbon taxes increase consumer prices. The more taxes are understood, the less popular they become.