Given the current situation I actually think policy was made ‘on the hoof’ in this instance. Little choice in the matter, nobody could plan for this and decisions had to be taken quickly.
Personally I doubt the DofE will have been excluded from that conversation - think they (with Williamson being their lead) will have played a large role. But as I said that’s just my opinion of course - your view is perfectly plausible that Cummings and Johnson are behind all the decision making (plenty believe that).
On the ‘massive pivot’ comment - Normally you argue to defend the government though, and against social media theories (Cummings running their government). So I’m just surprised is all.
The policy clearly couldn't have been made on the hoof because someone had to come up with the algorithms and apply them to all the A level students in the first place - exactly the same was being done by the respect Scottish, Welsh and NI authorities well BEFORE a the problem was even known about.
DOE would not have taken such a policy in isolation.
The question would be what decision making was done AFTER the shit hit the fan in Scotland.
There appears to be three obvious alternatives - stick with what was done with no appeals, stick with what was done with appeals, scrap it like Scotland did.
The DOE wouldn't have made what in effect is a political decision and neither would Williamson without referring it upwards.
Clearly the answer he got was that the appeals process was 'robust' enough to resolve things and he took that stance.
Clearly the scale of the problem swamped the system a few days later forcing the U-turn and again the DOE or Williamson would NOT have done a government U-turn without seeking out what the government wanted them to do.
So I would completely rule out decisions being made on the hoof at DOE/Williamson level.
I don't believe Johnson and Cummings take sole policy decision making themselves, there are undoubtable many more analysists, advisors, key politicians, others with vested interests, that feed in and have a greater or lesser voice in things but the decision would have been made at that higher level and not in a meeting chaired by Williamson at the DOE.
As for the positions I take, I do so on what I either professionally know or have had personal experience in - my career was as a company secretary and I had thirty years experience in the public service many at a senior level.
I don't claim to know all the answers and I don't doubt things have changed somewhat since my time but I'm pretty confident about what I say still about company law (thus what I said at the time about Anderson and more recently about Wigan) and how public sector works (it is a different beast to that of how the private sector functions).
As you know I don't normally 'do' twitter and thus am not influenced one way or another by the 'gossip' and crowd reaction to it.
No doubt I do miss some golden nuggets of information but I also avoid 99.99% of the uninformed and often factually incorrect shite that is spouted on there.
I am happy to read stuff on social media about stuff that interests me at the time - for instance the 'Howard' thread on ww at the time of the take over was worth it to listen to the professional knowledge and insights of Howard, Escobarp, Benny and Custard but there was a great deal of shite and uncalled for abuse to suffer through too.
I regularly read Iles (although he clearly now is not seen as a friend of the club by the current and previous owners) but he is the focal point for many and he gets a lead every now and again, given to him.
I read Nixon when he is relevant to Bolton, or recently Wigan and he usually is much better informed than Iles although you have to take into account that Nixon job is to sell stuff to national papers so not everything he posts is, shall we say, totally relevant.
As someone myself posting on social media - which of course Nuts is - I don't expect to be believed or even trusted in what I say - which is only fair as apart from one or two (custard for instance on accountancy or Escobarp on M&A) I do the same.
I post really to help and inform and because I enjoy doing so, I also have the time to do it. I don't do so to be abused or trolled although I am aware as that is seen part and parcel of normal social media behaviour.
I know it irritates many people with my style and lengths of postings (particularly those who view on their phones only) but if anyone is interested to really want to know why things are how they are you need someone with knowledge to explain so and I simply can't provide detail in 120 characters and a couple of emoticons.
People can simply take me or leave me, I don't mind which, it is only meaningless chatter on the internet when all said and done and helps me to happily pass my time away.