Is Mr Gove the most impressive Cabinet member? And if he is, what does it tell us about the rest?

Janet Downs's picture
Quentin Letts describes Mr Gove as being “by some distance, the most impressive member of the Cameron Cabinet.”

This, according to Letts, is because Mr Gove rushed legislation through Parliament to free schools from the tyranny of control. Perhaps Letts hasn’t realised that Mr Gove is giving more powers to the Secretary of State for Education than any other previous education minister. And these powers can be used, or abused, by future holders of this post.

And did Letts really mean to write this: “This was not some small gesture. The statistics were terrifying. A third of all teachers had been accused of mistreating pupils — an absurd situation which was pretty obviously the result of unruly teenagers trying it on with a weak system”

A third of all teachers mistreating pupils! Where did that figure come from?

Letts continues: “Mr Gove kept his nerve. He has, like the best sort of teacher, used reason and argument to win his case. That he has done so in a Coalition Government all too quick to U-turn in other policy areas makes his achievements all the more admirable”

If Mr Letts read this site he would know that Mr Gove distorts data and uses misinformation to promote his policies. He ignores opinions that do not chime with his own ideology even if those concerns come from the highly-respected Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

And as for U-turns – has Mr Letts forgotten the Schools Sports Partnership debacle and the anger over Bookstart?

However, I think Quentin Letts is having a joke . Only a couple of days before he described Mr Gove as being a ham actor with corrugated brows and a “blackbird’s beaky pout”? This is hardly the words one would expect from an admirer.

Letts wrote that Mr Gove “spoke of the strike as a Shakespearean messenger might announce losses at Harfleur.” Rather an odd metaphor considering a Shakespearean messenger announcing such losses would have been French and on the losing side. Is Letts trying to tell us something here?

And if Mr Gove is the most impressive member of the Cabinet, what does it tell us about the rest?
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Nigel Ford's picture
Sat, 02/07/2011 - 15:06

Quentin Letts wrote a book called "50 people who buggered up Britain" and one of the 50 featured is Kenneth Baker on account of the fact that as a Cabinet Minister he introduced "The Dangerous Dogs Act" in 1991, and the other being that as Education Secretary five years earlier, he was responsible for the removal of corporal punishment in English state schools from the statute book.

In view of Letts's endorsement of corporal punishment, it is obvious that he has pretty regressive ideas of what measures are needed to benefit education.

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