‘Unacceptable’ that Cummings is on scientific advisory group ‘but no Welsh representative’

Dominic Cummings. Picture by Radical Larry (CC BY-SA 4.0).

It is “unacceptable” that Boris Johnson’s advisor Dominic Cummings has a spot on the UK’s independent scientific advisory group while no representative from the Welsh Government can contribute, according to Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price.

The Guardian newspaper revealed this weekend that the chief medical officers and chief scientific advisers from the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are only classified as observers on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).

Meanwhile, scientists Sage were “shocked, concerned and worried for the impartiality of advice” after Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s Chief Adviser, began attending, they said.

This morning Wales’ First Minister, Mark Drakeford, told the BBC that he did not believe Wales was “disadvantaged” by only having observer status on the group.

Unlike Cummings, however, Wales’ representatives are unable to ask questions unless they are submitted in writing in advance.

Plaid Cymru called on the Welsh Government to publish details of what it agreed to in terms of its SAGE membership.

The party’s leader Adam Price said that public interest demands that the Welsh Government be transparent about the nature of the scientific advice it has requested and received.

“It would be unacceptable for Downing Street’s chief spin doctor to have more rights on the committee than Wales’ Chief Scientific Adviser,” he said.

“It’s also in the public interest for the Welsh Government to publish the questions it has put to SAGE and the replies it has received.”

However, Welsh Conservative leader Paul Davies played down the suggestion that there was anything untoward in Dominic Cummings attending the meetings.

“From my membership of the Covid Core Group of the Welsh Government, I know full well that special advisers within government attend these meetings,” he said.

“This is how governments should and do operate in both Westminster and in Cardiff.”

 

‘Impartial’

According to the Guardian, which reveal Dominic Cummings’ role on Sage, two attendes have expressed alarm at Cummings’ involvement on the group.

One said they were “shocked” when the political advisor first began participating in Sage discussions in February. Until then they believed the group should be providing “unadulterated scientific data” without any political input, they said.

Another attendee told the newspaper they felt Cummings’ interventions had sometimes inappropriately influenced what is supposed to be an impartial scientific process.

“I have been concerned sometimes that Sage has become too operational, so we’ve ended up looking as though we are making decisions,” they said, making clear that Cummings had been involved on those occasions. “It contravenes previous guidelines about how you make sure you get impartial scientific advice going through to politicians, who make the decisions.”

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CeriCharles L. GallagherPlain citizenHuw DaviesSteve Duggan Recent comment authors
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Plain citizen
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Plain citizen

Everybody is either ‘shocked’, ‘amazed’, ‘in a fury’, ‘appalled’ or ‘stunned’ in today’s media. Cummings is there to cut through the scientific waffle to get to what it means for practical government. Every government of every stripe does the same thing with their appointees. It’s no big deal. Save the emotion for something worthwhile like what Starmer is up to.

Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

I would accept your analysis if Cummings was a data rational analytical person. But he isn’t. He is driven by an elitist supremacist ideology. Only weeks ago he was rumored, and may still be, well disposed to a higher level of deaths among older people as that would inter alia lead to a reduction in the UK ‘s state pension liability. So remember this bas***d, he regards you and me and all others only as costs especially when we reach pension age. The fact that we’ve paid our taxes to keep this t*rd and others like him in a decent… Read more »

Plain citizen
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Plain citizen

If he was looking for a future reduction in state pension liabilities you might think he WAS a data rational analytical person. Bit of a contradiction there Huw. You ascribe his alleged motivation to a rumour, hardly evidence but never mind. Not seen any evidence of his alleged supremacist ideology either. If you have it please let us ordinary mortals have a look. Useful to work on facts not feeling, evidence not emotions. I hope you’re not still worried about 7 years bad luck from that mirror you broke a while ago. Never mind.

Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

You evidently share his fanatical supremacist view which invariably contains a great deal of denial. Had he been data rational he would find that most people of pension age or approaching it have spent their lives paying their way and contributing to the nation’s tax take. However he sees them as “past their prime” and “disposable”. That you appear to share those views doesn’t come as a surprise any more as you seem to know the price of everything and the value of nothing. As for mirrors, take a long hard look at yourself, not a vanity glance. If your… Read more »

Plain citizen
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Plain citizen

Ha. Very good.

Ceri
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Ceri

Cummings may well be a lightning rod, helping to get otherwise good, measured analysis of Tory policy focused on him and his nefarious ways…mission complete! Cymru has observer status within a union that we are supposedly an equal member. Focus on this – play the ball not the man.

Steve Duggan
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Steve Duggan

It reminds me of what the Soviet Union was like and probably China today – a Politburo representative sitting in on all meetings with nothing to contribute but ideological nonsense. How does this guy get into these meetings – I wonder if he slips something into Johnsons coffee or something!? I understand there is a need for special advisors but how much power do they have, how much do they wield? There must be a limit – they are unelected. Already this broken ideology of Cummings will ruin the country if we leave the transitional period without a deal in… Read more »

Ceri
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Ceri

Careful with the casual comparisons to the very worst governments ever, a bit like Nazi comparisons, keep it in the back pocket until it is truly needed. I think the UK political model is terrible, I’d like an independent Welsh state, I don’t like the cronyism in the Conservative and Unionist party, I don’t like this particular situation. This is not Soviet Russia, this is not Communist China, this is not Nazi Germany. Let’s not clip our own wings before we take off.

Charles L. Gallagher
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Charles L. Gallagher

Ceri, we in the Devolved Countries (Remember, this precious union) did not create the problem that is Cummings. The man is dangerous and must be got rid ASAP.

Ceri
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Ceri

That is for sure, I am no fan of Cummings or his ilk. But his role in UK politics is not akin to The Holodomor, he is not Auschwitz, he is not The Uyghur concentration camps. Now I don’t think that was the original intent of the above comment but see how easy it is to discredit? This type of bombast has been the bane of the pro-indy commentariat since the 30’s. If we drop the tendency to lazy language we gain credibility and can no longer be labeled as crack pots (even if we aren’t, let’s not make it… Read more »