The guru is back. Steve Hilton, fresh from his sojourn in the US, is to return to Number 10 to advise the new political policy unit, headed up by Jo Johnson, we have been told.
Except that’s not quite the case. Hilton, whose wife works for Google on the west coast, will stay in his beloved California. Number 10 advisers tell us he is expected to fly to London “a few times a year” to discuss policy ideas with the new policy board.
When Hilton left to take up a new role at Stanford University last year, some insisted the PM’s most unconventional of thinkers would be back in time for the next election. But those in the know insisted he would never return, saying he had become disillusioned with politics in government, and had lost a long-running battle with the more moderate factions within the Cameron operation. Read more
This morning we reported the perplexion in Downing Street around some of Steve Hilton’s more extreme ideas. Five of the following suggestions were made by Hilton, the PM’s head of strategy; five were not. Can you guess which are which? For the answer here’s our original story.
1] Abolish all maternity leave Read more
When Vince Cable said the coalition had “Maoist tendencies” no one took it as a literal suggestion that David Cameron was taking inspiration from Chinese communists.
But it has emerged that the coalition’s “Big Society not Big Government” slogan was originally devised by the heirs to Chairman Mao over a decade ago.
The initiative by the Communist Party of China in 1997 even echoed Mr Cameron’s Big Society flagship theme in its promise to encourage civil society and cut back the role of the state.
Chinese officials said their desire for “small government and big society” should mean less bureaucracy, with civic organisations taking a bigger role in society as the “bridges and belts linking the party and government with the mass”.
Steve Hilton, the Downing Street blue-sky thinker credited with coining the Big Society concept, is treated with suspicion by many on the right of the Tory party given his small-l liberal tendencies.
It is even thought that Mr Hilton voted for the Green Party in 2001, before going on to help Mr Cameron rebrand the Tories in a more modern and cuddly image.
News that the coalition’s main concept was first coined in Beijing could prompt bemused Read more