Coffee House

Key David Cameron aide to quit Downing Street

2 April 2013

2 April 2013

Sky News has revealed tonight that Rohan Silva, one of the Prime Minister’s key advisers, is leaving Downing Street. Silva might not be a household name but he has been a hugely influential figure there these past few years.

In opposition, he worked for George Osborne before moving to work for David Cameron in government. He has been the driving force behind spending transparency, Tech City and crime maps. There have been few more pro-enterprise and pro-reform voices in this government. His departure is a big blow to Tory radicalism.

Subscribe from £1 per week

One of the things that marked Silva out was a thirst for new ideas that is all too rare in British politics. He was the man who got the Cameroons interested in behavioural economics—Nudge and all that—and has kept a steady tide of intellectual and thinkers flowing into Number 10.

There’ll be much speculation about why Silva is leaving. Already, tonight commentators are chalking it up to a lack of radicalism in Number 10, the state of the Cameron operation or the stultifying influence of the civil service. But Silva has been keen to go and start a business for years now—hence, the earlier, erroneous reports of his departure. The surprise shouldn’t be that he’s leaving but that he has stayed so long.

More Spectator for less. Subscribe and receive 12 issues delivered for just £12, with full web and app access. Join us.

Show comments
  • Smithersjones2013

    So its his fault we are wasting money on pretty pictures and flashing lights for the Westminster dimwits rather than funding the front line properly is it? The last refuge of the impotent and unachieving is ‘transparency’. If they were actually getting the right things done it would be blatantly obvious what they were doing. There would be no need for ‘Transparency’.

    Is he the idiot responsible for the Crappiness index then?

  • Seldom Seen

    Wasn’t he the baddie in Skyfall?

  • George_Arseborne

    Fast move. He knows that bloke will be kick out of Number 10 by 2015. Why wait for the dying hour.

  • Russell

    Apparently leaving to set up his own education business. I sincerely hope this not a business totally reliant on taxpayers cash via the Education department as ‘grants’.

  • rhys

    Any chance he might appoint as a replacement someone who has actually worked for a living for twenty years before entering politics ?
    Silly me !!

  • Colonel Mustard

    Good riddance to “nudging”. Governments should govern on behalf of the people, not attempt to manipulate and control their behaviour from ideological or “we know best” perspectives. English people are born free, as individuals, and the state is there to serve them not rule them.

    • telemachus

      And what the people want is growth

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        Not the most perceptive insight. I cannot imagine there are too many people clamouring for economic contraction, apart fro Caroline Lucas of course.

    • Chris lancashire

      That said Colonel, the flys painted on the urinals in Schipol airport work very well.

    • Theodoxia

      Surely not. Only yesterday the BBC was claiming (The Human Zoo, Radio 4 15.00) that in future there would be more psychologists employed by government and fewer economists, so more nudging. How could they possibly be mistaken?

  • Austin Barry

    This news is extraordinary. I can feel the sudden scrotal tightening that heralds fear and dread. My life will never be the same again, just arid and pointless. Even my dog has been affected by the news, the dry husks of his breakfast remain untouched.

    • Barakzai

      I sense that this has had the same North Koreanesque, visceral impact on you as has the departure to pastures profitable of the political colossus that is Miliband major on the Guardianistas. Steady the Buffs!

    • gladiolys

      Thank you for getting my day off to a splutteringly good start.

    • Daniel Maris

      He was as the Sun, and now the vaulting clouds do mock our sorrow.

      • Robert Evans

        Porfiry tells Raskolnikov, you are the sun. Rohan can be the one.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      So Rohan has gone away

      Alas! Alack! Benighted day!

      Bold furtherer of new Ideas

      And never lets his rent get into arrears

    • Tom Tom

      Cheer up Pippa Middleton has joined Speccie as Deputy Editor so soon she will be at Dave’s right hand

      • Austin Barry

        I see that comments are closed on Pippa’s first effort. I wonder why?

        • Tom Tom

          Copyright. Her publisher wants to launch the book without the reviews

      • Barakzai

        Huh, Pippa Middleton? The name’s familiar . . . ah, got it, she’s the celebrated, soi disant style guru and author. I wonder what future opportunities will knock for this wunderkind: Guest editor on ‘Today’, UN goodwill ambassador, or Anglican bishop? (Or she might write Hilary Mantel’s biography).

  • Tom Tom

    So he has a Law degree and worked for Nigel Griffiths until he found Labour was not in power

  • Tom Tom

    Makes a vacancy for James Forsyth….

  • Daniel Maris

    “He has been the driving force behind spending transparency, Tech City and crime maps.”

    How we laughed! :)

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Dave should be embarrassed that this unaccomplished little runt is actually considered as a “key adviser”.

    • jazz606

      I don’t suppose he needed to be very smart to stand out amongst Dave’s coterie.

  • Jules

    WHO GIVES A FVCK, about someone no-one has ever heard of?

    350,000 people have now signed a petition, in only 30 hours, calling on IDS to put up or shut up and prove he can live on £53 per week. Sign it:

    • jimmy mac

      Why not just take his word for it that he would if he had to. I know I would. Some of you whinging lefties need to get over to countries where REAL poverty exists.

    • an ex-tory voter

      Who gives a flying fcuk how many state teat seekers and socialists sign up to this awesomely unimportant petition. Only 350,000? a drop in the ocean when one thinks how many actually depend on the state for their living, or their artificially elevated position.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Add up the membership of all the socialist parties currently infecting Britain and there must still be a ways to go. Try something meaningful for the country instead. The constant politics of hatred from the party that introduced anti-hate legislation is getting tired.

      • telemachus

        It is incumbent on us all to love our fellow man
        That is why in practical terms we want growth for the Nationnto improve the lot of all not just the home counties set

      • Mynydd

        Is it wrong to expect a minister of the crown to live up to his words.

    • Hookeslaw

      The petition is based on a lies. It is signed by the thick ignorant and stupid. It undermines the whole principle of petitions.

      A man tweets a load of lying invective and gets invited on by the BBC to peddle his lies.

      He does not live on £53 pw – indeed because of his alleged low wage he receives a load of benefits on top. The implication allowed by the BBC and encouraged by their complicity is that the limit of benefits is £53. A lie. We need a petition to stop the BBC being a labour party propaganda machine.

      You Mr Jules are a fvcking moron for not realising this and are yet another example of why voting tory is essential at the next election. it is a disgrace that the Spectator allows you to link to such a farrago of lies.

  • Cornelius

    none of these were original ideas, they were all just copied from the american government.

    • telemachus

      So why cannot we copy a growth blueprint from America

      • Tom Tom

        We did after 2001 and made Alan Greenspan a “Sir” and Adviser to the UK Treasury…..and here we are !

        • telemachus

          They are growing at 3%

          • Colonel Mustard

            That is a forecast. First actual estimate for Q1 growth is not until 26 April. Q4 2012 growth was 0.4%.

            Stop Lying for Labour. You are on the wrong website for that nonsense.

            • telemachus

              The right are in power
              Their thought needs to be moderated until accession of the just

              • Colonel Mustard

                No they are not. A Coalition is in power which includes the Liberal Democrats. More lying.

                And it is not up to you to moderate anything. Stop conflating politics and morality.

                • telemachus

                  If we cannot conflate politics and morality then our nation is on the road to ruin
                  All societities that failed to recognise the sanctity of human life and spirit ended badly often after years of human misery

                • Chris lancashire

                  Like the last Labour Government.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  I know this might be a difficult concept for you to grasp but you are not the nation. You are just one left-leaning, Stalin romanticising, commentator who seems to see it as his purpose in life to troll on a right-leaning website mainly by regurgitating scripted Labour party slogans or articulating left-wing provocations. If you wish to further your beliefs in a meaningful way I suggest that you stand for parliament rather than wasting your time in missionary zealotry here.

                  And it is some arrogance to suggest, given the lessons of history, that the sanctity of human life and spirit can only be found from a socialist perspective. There are cogent arguments for the exact opposite of that – that the pursuit of socialism brings loss of life and crushing of spirit on a monumental scale. I know that my own spirit was crushed from 1997 to 2010 I as watched my once beautiful country being destroyed by Blair’s national socialism. Socialism invariably involves the bringing down of the human spirit rather than the rising up, the coercive politics of spite and envy where counter cultures must be brought down. As indeed you demonstrate here daily. Your growth mantra persists only by espousing the destruction of the present government and by the harassment of commentators who do not share your political views – and do not have to.

                  Stop conflating your view as the only view. Stop promoting Labour party politics as instruments of faith, religion and morality.

                • telemachus

                  I wish to entreat Osborne to espouse growth for the good of you as well as me
                  I have no shares in Labour but they do rather seem to have vision

          • Tom Tom

            and the growth in incomes for the bottom of US population since 1966 has been $59

      • Colonel Mustard

        So why cannot you write your own stand alone comment rather than always tagging on to the top comment in order to get maximum visibility for your Labour trolling?

        • telemachus

          Not sure of your substantive point except to endorse my firmly held belief that we should be emulating the US and building for growth
          If Downing street imported adequate advisers then they would have negated Osborne and we could be growing at 3%

          • Colonel Mustard

            Your “firmly held beliefs” are mainly tripe and propaganda. US Q4 2012 growth was 0.4%. Q1 2013 growth is not estimated until 26 April when it is expected to be around 3%. We’ll see.

            • telemachus

              It will be a quantum leap on ours
              Just why is Osborne not investing?

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                Firstly, because you need money to invest and we do not have any. Instead, we have a huge deficit and mounting national debt both of which need to be reduced. Second, successful investment requires that you achieve a return on your investment that exceeds the cost of making that investment in the first place. No government in the history of mankind has achieved that fundamental requirement. Finally, the only investment that will promote sustainable economic growth is that undertaken by the private sector which observes the need for an investment to yield a positive return. The very last thing we need is politicians of any hue spraying what little resource we do have on trying to create the illusion of economic growth.

                • RKing

                  Full credit to the Spectator for allowing telemucharse for continually spewing his leftie propaganda. When I posted on a leftie site “correcting” their wrongs I was impolitely pushed off.

                  That’s Labours idea of democracy/free speech I suppose!!

                • Hookeslaw

                  View all the socialist trash and decide what is important in 2015.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No doubt, and as we see, the Cameroonian socialist trash appears to be falling short in that viewing.

                • telemachus

                  Did not Baron Tilton argue that we needed to stimulate aggregate demand
                  The problem is that the private sector are wanting so we must pump prime from the centre

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  By ‘pump priming’ I assume you mean taking money from private sector taxpayers or borrowing money (from whom and at what price) on the basis that the same private secor taxpayers and their hiers will have to repay those debts and then using that money to fund government expenditure. The government does not , thank the almighty, run any businesses so presumably the money will be spent on bridges, roads etc etc . Sadly, the multiplyer effects from this spending will not and never has generated the positive return that signifies ‘growth’. The net effect is that we simply add to the national debt to no positive effect and the private sector tax payer is left more and more disgruntled and poorer. No amount of wishful thinking and magic wand waving by Ed Balls will alter this basic economic truth.

                • Hookeslaw

                  We pump primed through the period 2001 to 2008 – ie the deficits went up every year. The debt rose £312 billion. The growth was not exceptional and our debt rose with no sign of tax revenues rising to compensate.
                  Your claims have no basis in fact.

                  It really ought to be clear to everyone how important it is to save the nation from people like you.

  • Will Honeycomb

    If he’s smart, he must be leaving Number 10 because he hasn’t been asked to do anything for the last few years

  • Jebediah

    Oh no, Silva’s leaving. No, please no.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Dave should be embarrassed to claim such as this unaccomplished little runt as a “key adviser”.

  • Hookeslaw

    Tech city spending transparency crime maps nudge.

    Yes well. This is a big loss.

    So long as he is replaced by someone who regularly points out that socialist endemically tell lies we can rest easy in our beds.

    • Dicky14

      Many moons ago I used to be a police analyst and even then crime maps were bandied about for internal reference but largely held to be useless. All crimes are incidents but not all incidents are crimes and if some curtain twitcher phones up every 2 minutes reporting a suspicious looking cat in her garden whilst Mick Philpott’s neighbours have largely stopped bothering; well, which is the high crime area? Pointless.

      • Tom Tom

        Not sure they are. In CA the LAPD used to have “Bear Facts” which listed areas of Burglary, Rape, Theft, Car Damage, Violence by Frequency and Zipcode. In West Yorkshire Police an officer was suspended for producing a similar report for his community beat in his own time. West yoekshire police did not want the facts to get out about its sheer incompetence in dealing with crime.

      • Hookeslaw

        I am not anti crime maps – not for them either.
        But all I hint at is that there is no great loss if this is all that is at stake.
        If Cameron appoints someone who feels we need more crucifixions of socialists, preferably lined up either side of the Mall, then it will be a big improvement. (I am not sure if I mean that metaphorically or not…)

        Unlike the loony toons and nutjobs I do fully understand the massive clear and present danger that our country faces.

Can't find your Web ID? Click here