Special advisers

On the day the coalition was formed, Michael Gove entered Downing Street with his consigliere Dominic Cummings. Only one of them left with a job.

It was one of the clearest demonstrations of Andy Coulson’s power. On Coulson’s advice, David Cameron offered Gove the position of education secretary on the condition that he sacked Cummings. Gove did not take it well. 

There’s been lots of huffing and puffing about Andy Coulson’s pay since the government published the civil servant “rich list”.

But the truth is that most special advisers are working without a contract. Nothing has been officially sorted and no one has been paid a penny — yet. It’s almost Cameron’s Big Society in action.