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michael-gove
  • Michael Gove is the greatest reforming Education Secretary since at least Kenneth Baker – arguably since Rab Butler.
  • He has also somehow acquired a knack of talking his way into trouble – his Eurosceptic confession, his First World War Commemoration row, the war with Theresa May…a long list.
  • In place, Dominic Cummings helped to make Gove as Education Secretary by pushing reform.  Since leaving, he has said what he thought.  Most of it is bang on. Almost none of it helped Gove.
  • The best course for David Cameron to take would have been to leave Gove in place – as Iain Duncan Smith has been left in place – or to move him sideways.
  • James Forsyth is tweeting that Gove will ” is doing the broadcast round this afternoon, and will be on every Cabinet sub-committee and in both Downing Street daily meetings”.
  • Culture Revolution 1) This suggests a Whips Office overhaul – that gone are the days of silent Francis Urquhart, and here are the days of loquacious Gove.  This is an election appointment.
  • Culture Revolution 2) It is also perhaps points to the Office furthering its gradual change from an officers’ mess to a human resources department – an end to the Black Book Age.
  • None the less, for all of its dressing up, this is a demotion.  Gove was a full member of the Cabinet, running his own department.  Now he is not.
  • It is very hard to believe that Gove wanted this move, whatever may be said today: his circle was briefing strongly only recently that he wanted to stay at Education.
  • The appointment solves what we might call the Greg Hands dilemma – namely, would the new Chief Whip be Cameron’s man or Osborne’s? We now know the answer: he will be both.
  • A Chief Whip has to be able to bang desks, inspire fear, manage numbers, project silent command. From that point of view, this is a wacky appointment.
  • In short, we had a great Education Secretary who had run into some trouble. He has thus been demote him into a job which ill fits his many talents – and which itself looks to change.
  • Jeremy Thorpe’s summary of the Night of the Long Knives doesn’t look out of place: “Greater love hath no man than this, but to lay down his friends for his life.”

66 comments for: A wacky move as Gove feels the lash

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