There can be no better example of ministerial incompetence than Michael Gove’s performances this week. Gove, the Education Secretary and Pob lookalike, first claimed that the money spent on the Better Schools for Britain programme was a ‘waste of taxpayers money’. On Monday he announced that the programme would be cancelled and cited some examples to add gravitas to his argument. Unfortunately for Gove, his gamble flopped. If he thought that he was having a pop at one of the last government’s spending commitments and that that would be the end of the matter, it backfired and blew up in his face. Some Conservative backbenchers have expressed their dismay at Gove’s announcement and it seems others are lining up to put the boot in.
Meanwhile Toby Young has gone off half-cocked (so what’s so unusual about that?) and is crowing with delight at Gove’s announcement. Pity he didn’t take a closer look at what was being said instead of acting as Gove’s cheerleader. Young also appears to have missed the fact that some Tory MPs had condemned Gove’s announcement. These MPs realise that they could lose a considerable number of votes because of this.
In a later blog, Young says that public schools should be forced to “reserve 25% of their places for the poor“. He is trying to appear reasonable after getting behind Gove’s plans but his thinking is muddled; informed entirely by his own social position (though he didn’t go to public school).
This policy would, at a stroke, reignite the engine of social mobility in the UK and ensure the survival of Britain’s public schools for generations to come.
Yeah? How did you work that out? So what will happen to those others who aren’t lucky enough to form part of that 25%? You didn’t think about that – did you?
Gove also faces legal challenges from local authorities too according to this article from the Daily Mail.
The reason behind Gove’s announcement was ideological: it follows on from his pledge to create funds for so-called ‘free schools’. It is likely that any money that wasn’t being spent on repairing run-down state schools was going to be used to fund his pet project. But are Gove’s copious apologies enough? They may placate some people but it is clear, at least to me, that this man is not fit to run an office of state.