Thursday, February 13, 2020

Oliver !

The new Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, 41, only entered the Commons in 2015, as MP for Hertsmere, which includes Elstree.  In his maiden speech, he joshed "That allows me to make a legitimate claim to be the member of Parliament for Albert Square".  His only other Commons reference to the BBC since then has been to note the financial difficulties of Capita, who have the contract to collect the licence fee.  Outside the house, back in 2012, Mr Dowden, then David Cameron'a deputy chief of staff, admitted in an interview with US public radio that he listened to Today on Radio 4 to find out what was going on, and then usually spent the rest of the day in crisis management.

Mr Dowden was born in Park Street and grew up in Bricket Wood, nestling near the M1/M25 junction. His route to politics took him from Parmiter's comprehensive in Watford, to Trinity Hall, Cambridge, studying law ('not very enjoyable').  Student jobs included re-wiring imported lamps for the UK market in a warehouse in Dunstable. (Mum still works in Boot's in London Colney). He joined a City law firm, took a year off to teach English in rural Japan, completed his training, but swerved a legal career to join lobbyists LLM, a fledgling Tory in a largely-left leaning firm. He campaigned twice with David Cameron, with a year away at PR firm, Hill Knowlton.

As part of Team Boris, he's been largely at the Cabinet Office, and recently concentrated on the Government Digital Service, where he's noticed Amazon, Air BnB and Spotify, and says all roads lead back to data, whatever that means.

On Facebook, Mr Dowden lists his favourite film as The Godfather, and his favourite tv show as Dad's Army.

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