James Forsyth

Why shouldn’t Cummings attend SAGE?

Why shouldn't Cummings attend SAGE?
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One of the key committees advising the government is SAGE — the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies. At the weekend, there was a rumpus after the Guardian reported that Dominic Cummings had been present for some of its meetings; though given the enormity of what was being discussed there would have been problems if no one from Downing Street was at these meetings.

Last night, Bloomberg reported on the SAGE meeting of 18 March. Alex Morales and Suzi Ring wrote that Dominic Cummings had at that meeting raised questions, including asking ‘why a lockdown was not being imposed sooner’.

I am informed that at that meeting Tim Gowers, a Cambridge maths professor and Fields Medal winner, and Demis Hassabis, the founder of the AI company Deep Mind, dialled in at Dominic Cumming’s request. 

There will be those who are outraged that a political appointee is inviting people to contribute to a meeting of scientific experts. But it is ludicrous to say that these people did not have anything to contribute; they are some of the most eminent individuals in their fields. Given the severity of the situation, there is surely a powerful case for drafting in the best brains that we have in this country.