We know the Secretary of State has a fertile imagination. My colleague Janet Downs has revealed how he claimed to visit schools that don't actually exist and quoted surveys which had not taken place. And now it seems he could be having conversations with teachers that only take place in his head.
Today on the Andy Marr show, asked about his new disciplinary advice, he defended it on the basis that "the teachers I've been talking to today" agreed with him. He gave the impression that he'd been in a school, or another place where teachers gather, and got positive feedback.
But the interview took place live at just after 9.30am on a Sunday morning. Who were these teachers he talked to very early on a Sunday morning? I have submitted an FOI request to the Department for Education asking how many teachers he'd talked to and whether he has a ready-made panel of teachers he calls? Perhaps the DfE operates a dial-a-teacher service to allow him to sample opinion?
It is possible that, as he was being whisked to the BBC studio in a taxi, Michael Gove was calls to teachers to find their views on his latest advice. Though he would also have had to send them details, as the advice was only issued this morning - and was too late for the morning papers. If this did happen (what are the chances?) it would presumably be the teachers he knows well and are likely to agree with him - certainly not a representative sample.
Or, more likely, he didn't talk to any actual teachers. Instead he had imaginary chats in his head, with what he hoped a teacher would say if he'd talked to them. So, journalists, if Michael Gove ever tells you he's talked to teachers and found they agree with him: ask him who, when and where. And whether it was a real teacher, or an imaginary one inside his head.
Did you talk to Michael Gove this morning?
I did put out a tweet to find the teachers that Michael Gove talked to. Despite over a hundred retweets, and reaching an audience in the hundreds of thousands, no teacher has yet said that they got a call from Michael. But I did get some very entertaining responses: