First off, I need to fill in some background for those of my readers and followers who do not now live in the UK, or maybe have never lived in the UK, or if they have it is all so long ago it greatly predates May 2010, when this government, this Coalition Government (not Conservative Government - that party did not win a working majority, remember) was formed and took over the running of the country.
So here is a link to the Wikipedia article about Michael Gove, the present Secretary of State for Education.
And that is the first point I should like to raise, the little matter of a tiny grammatical splitting of hairs; he is Secretary of State FOR Education, not OF Education, a distinction he seems singularly to have lost sight of in the past three years that he has been in the job.
FOR implies service, an immense effort given to a greater cause than oneself. OF suggests a personal fiefdom, a power base, a launching pad.
I think few of us now have any illusions how Michael Gove sees it, even after disingenuously claiming earlier this year that he knew his limitations and declaring he would never lead the party or be PM.
Not after yesterday, anyhow, when he was the first to break ranks with the cabinet and voiced his willingness for the UK to leave the EU if the present terms of membership are not renegotiated to his satisfaction. While the PM is away in the USA.
Of course, a degree in English from Oxford, which Gove has, will make anyone who has undergone one very careful to use the exact right word in the exact right place, and not misquote even by one very short word, as the dons there would be all over it like a rash if one did. So I doubt Gove has ever used the OF word, but he sure as hell implies it every time he opens his mouth to give an interview or a speech. His entire demeanour and manner says it loud and proud. I am in charge. I know best. My team of "advisers" at the MforE (especially on Twitter) will stop at little or nothing by way of dirty tricks to discredit critics. I will be as scathing as I like about any opposition to my plans, views and ideology. I will undermine my detractors, and abuse and refuse to listen to any teacher who isn't in my camp. Any teacher active in a union, especially.
Months and months of this has lead to something that has NEVER happened before. At Easter, when the teaching unions hold their conferences during what could have been (if they weren't union reps and shop stewards) a well-earned rest from the chalk face to recharge their depleted batteries, the three main teaching unions voted in favour of a Vote of No Confidence in Michael Gove as Secretary of State for Education.
One-day strikes have also been voted for to take place this year as well, on the issue of alterations to teachers' terms and conditions (especially changes to pensions), but he has so far refused to talk to anyone from the unions in any meaningful or receptive way in advance of the the strikes taking place. This year even the slightest moves towards conciliation or compromise seem to be alien concepts in the MforEd, despite his embarrassing u-turns in the past.
I think that's all I want to say. I don't like his My Way or The Highway approach, his bookish-boy-at-the-front-of-the-class-with-his-hand-up-showing-off-what-he-has-memorised demeanour, and his yadda yadda bad manners in cutting across and not listening to his critics. I don't like him, and it's unusual for me to dislike people I have never met. But I will happily make an exception in his case, as I mistrust him even more than I mistrust the average politician. He has an agenda, and his agenda is the political advancement Michael Gove, and very little else. All the rest is attracting what he believes and hopes is mass support - not just for his educational "reforms", but for Michael Gove now and in the future.
To stray into the openly ad hominem I also cannot stand his conceited, insufferable, cocky-little-sixth-former, freshly-scrubbed but foolish face. Does his wife wipe it with a damp facecloth and smooth down his hair as he leaves the house of a morning? The way Sarah Vine writes so revealingly and yet flippantly about their marriage, and how she infantalises him for fun in her column in The Times, I shouldn't be at all surprised.
But he can't help what's been put on the front of his head, I suppose, apart from the expressions he pulls (and there are a fair few unfortunate photos of those if you want to Google them).
But he sure as hell can help what he is plotting inside his head. And plotting he is - you mark my words. Just watch this space...
...his being Scottish, and a graduate of English, I'm moved to assume he has often read Macbeth. In which case, if I am right, I think he'd be wise to re-read the last act in particular, before he imagines seeing daggers before him and loses his tenuous, overblown, narcissistic and deluded connection with reality altogether.
Now I have got all that off my well-endowed chest, I have been reminded by this brilliantly funny piece in The Indy-Pendy over the w/e, that the best way to reduce the size of a looming problem or an issue that is bugging you is to laugh heartily at it, shrink it in size through mirthful light-hearted derision, and then go to the pub for a halfway decent lunch with some wonderful friends who make you ROAR;