Dominic Cummings, the idiosyncratic political adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has published a bizarre blog appealing for “weirdos and misfits with odd skills” to help shake up Britain’s government.
In a sign of how Johnson intends to rule with his new parliamentary majority, the unusual job advert says fresh thinking is needed to tackle “profound problems at the core of how the British state makes decisions.”
Cummings, 48, was the architect of the Vote Leave campaign that secured a majority vote for Brexit in 2016 and is also credited with Johnson’s landslide election victory in December.
But concerns have been raised at the extent of his involvement in running 10 Downing Street and his reluctance to face scrutiny.
‘Don’t complain later’
Cummings, a self-styled political disruptor. has signalled that he wants to loosen the grip of civil servants on policy, and has little time for convention.
“We’re hiring data scientists, project managers, policy experts, assorted weirdos,” he says in the rambling, 3,000-word blog. “We want to hire an unusual set of people with different skills and backgrounds.”
It calls for CVs to be sent to a private gmail address — [email protected] — for roles including “unusual economists” and “unusual mathematicians.”
“I’ll bin you within weeks if you don’t fit,” he warns. “Don’t complain later because I made it clear now.”
Public school bluffers
The job specifications — listed from A to G, although G has two entries — include experts on “computational rationality” and “the intersection of technology and story telling.”
It adds: “If you’ve done something weird, this may be the place for you.”
Cummings is also hiring a “sort of personal assistant” requiring long hours.
“You will not have weekday date nights, you will sacrifice many weekends — frankly it will hard having a boy/girlfriend at all,” he warns. “I don’t want confident public school bluffers. I want people who are much brighter than me who can work in an extreme environment.”
‘Horrors of human resources’
Workplace behavioural conventions are also off the agenda, according to Cummings, who says: “We need to figure out how to use such people better without asking them to conform to the horrors of ‘Human Resources’ (which also obviously need a bonfire).”
The advert has raised eyebrows across government.
Dave Penman, general secretary of civil service union FDA, said: “If Dominic Cummings surrounds himself with people who are recruited simply because they believe the same as him and whose employment is at his behest, is that the best way for the civil service or advisers to speak truth unto power? I don’t think it is.”