Mr Sloppy v the Blond Behemoth: impresario Cameron orders Gove to attack London Mayor, says Telegraph

Janet Downs's picture
Education secretary Michael Gove has been unleashed, according to the Daily Telegraph. And this time his target for an (allegedly) ferocious mauling is not the “Blob” but London mayor Boris Johnson.

Apparently, Boris wants more power to intervene in failing schools. But two things prevent his doing so. The London Mayor has no remit over education and the many academies in London are outside the stewardship of local authorities.

Ultimately, power over academies lies with the Education Secretary via academy trusts. Gove’s not going to give that up. His fear is, the Telegraph says, that if he gives Boris influence over academies then it would set a precedent. Other local authorities (LAs) would lobby for the same. And Gove’s spent the last few years, helped along by the Telegraph among others, peddling the myth that LAs “control” schools*.

But there is, of course, more to this than who runs London schools. Underneath, there appears to be infighting among the Tory faithful. There’s a two-headed anti-Gove movement in Westminster, says the Telegraph. One resents Gove’s influence over the PM while the other is annoyed by Gove’s habit of grilling other ministers in meeting.

The upshot, according to the paper, is that Dave has given permission for Michael to “sink his teeth into Boris’s ankles”. Boris’s allies are being less violent – they’ve begun a “whispering campaign” against the education secretary.

Team Boris won’t have far to look for evidence against Michael. They just need to read the many LSN threads which harpoon what Gove has said: the dodgy surveys, visits to non-existent schools, hyping up sponsored academies when evidence shows they do no better than similar non-academies, his misleading use of statistics, his incontinent attacks on anyone who opposes him…

And so they stand, like greyhounds in the slips, each ready to maul the other: The Blond Behemoth v Mr Sloppy.

I wonder if William Hill has calculated the odds.

*See faq above "Do local authorities control their schools?"
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Phil Taylor's picture
Thu, 13/03/2014 - 11:24

Interesting. Part of me welcomes the thought of a 'dog fight' between these two. If both of them, as a result of the mud that would be thrown up, were to lose their status as 'possible future prime ministers' that would be fine by me.

But we know that even more disreputable candidates are waiting on the wings.

In any case, Boris can't make a case that he needs the power to intervene in London schools to improve them since, as has been highlighted on LSN, London schools generally are now doing very well and any that aren't have their heads instantly 'disappeared' and become academies overnight. Even Boris couldn't improve on that.

Janet Downs's picture
Thu, 13/03/2014 - 11:35

Phil - yes, Boris's alleged desire to "intervene" in failing London schools rings a little hollow because London schools are mainly doing well. It may be more to do with Boris's "London Mayoral Academies" - he might want to be able to set up his own academy trust (I have no proof of this - it's just my opinion).

Janet Downs's picture
Fri, 14/03/2014 - 11:40

It appears that Nick Clegg's advisers have found the best way for Clegg to win back dissenting Lib/Dem voters is to attack Gove.

Thanks to agov for spotting this.

agov's picture
Sun, 16/03/2014 - 07:21

Hi Janet

It's that subgroup of dissenting LibDem voters who are public sector workers that are attracted by LibDem attacks on Gove by name.

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