By Paul Goodman
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I like and respect both Michael Gove and Tim Loughton. So I can scarcely believe what's happened between them – whether before the last reshuffle or after it.
Earlier this week, Loughton compared Gove, the Education
Secretary, to "Young Mr Grace", the store owner in Are You Being Served?
"Most officials have never met the Secretary of State other
than when he will troop out a few chosen people for the new year party, Mr
Grace-like from Grace Brothers, and tell us we've all done terribly well and
Yesterday, a "senior Department for Education" went all Colonel Kurtz on Gove's former junior Education Minister.
‘Loughton spent his time pandering to pressure groups so they would
praise him on Twitter. Loughton wouldn’t focus on child sex abuse unless
it was all over TV and the DfE now has to pick up the pieces. Loughton was a lazy incompetent narcissist obsessed only with self-promotion."
You can be sure that when an MP as experienced as Loughton compares his former boss to a character in a sitcom, he's not exactly making a bid for return to Government. Perhaps Loughton is the bandit from Rangoon in The Dark Knight (see video above):
Alfred Pennyworth: "With respect Master Wayne, perhaps this is a man that *you* don't fully understand, either. A long time ago, I was in Burma. My friends and I were working for the local government. They were trying to buy the loyalty of tribal leaders by bribing them with precious stones. But their caravans were being raided in a forest north of Rangoon by a bandit. So, we went looking for the stones. But in six months, we never met anybody who traded with him. One day, I saw a child playing with a ruby the size of a tangerine. The bandit had been throwing them away."
Bruce Wayne: "So why steal them?"
Alfred Pennyworth: "Well, because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn."
But whether so or not, whoever in Gove's office gave the briefing about Loughton is clearly Alfred Pennyworth (see video below):
Bruce Wayne: "The bandit, in the forest in Burma, did you catch him?"
Alfred Pennyworth: "Yes."
Bruce Wayne: "How? "
Alfred Pennyworth: "We burned the forest down."