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Dominic Cummings’s naïve faith in the power of the state

The controversial adviser’s belief that mathematical wizards can transform public policy is a tad optimistic

By Giles Wilkes  

If anyone should know you need more than mathematical wizardry in politics, it's Dominic Cummings, says Giles Wilkes. Photo: WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto/PA Images

I ought to be a total sucker for the Dominic Cummings special adviser job specification, and its bracing philosophy of Hyper Mathmo Elitism, which calls for data scientists, genius project managers and “weirdos and misfits with odd skills” to transform decision-making at the heart of government.

First there is his furious disdain for the indefensible way that the government currently hires its “spads.” It is an unregulated mess: no serious vetting for ability or even political fit, no formal application, no…

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