Coffee House

It’s time for the Tories to rally to the aspiration agenda

13 March 2014

5:59 PM

13 March 2014

5:59 PM

School reform is economically essential for Britain’s future success, morally necessary for a fairer, more socially mobile society and politically essential for a centre-right party that wants to show that it is about spreading privilege not defending it. This is why Michael Gove’s agenda is so important to the Tories and their future success.

Gove was always going to face opposition. Members of the National Union of Teachers hustled David Blunkett and his guide dog into a room and then screamed at him for merely condemning school strikes from opposition in 1995. They were, obviously, going to do far worse to a radical Tory Education Secretary. Then, there was the Department for Education itself which was never going to be happy implementing a plan which involved it jettisoning most of its role, and a sizable number of the civil servants there losing their jobs. Furthermore, there was always going to be resistance from self-interested local councilors who will lose their grip over education under Gove’s reforms.

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Last but not least, there was the ‘quiet life brigade’—those who were exhausted by the Education Secretary’s energy. They regard his warning about how other countries were outstripping Britain as overblown.

Gove, as Toby Young says, has been taking on these opponents with vigour and has made considerable progress. But in the last few months, Gove has also had to battle with his coalition partners and recently he has also had to face a Tory whispering campaign against him.

As I say in the magazine this week, the loudest voices in this whispering campaign belong to Boris Johnson’s followers. They are under the mistaken impression that Gove is spending his time for a George Osborne leadership bid. Based on extensive conversations in the last ten days, I believe that not to be the case. Crucially, Gove only expressed his preference for George Osborne when pressed on the matter.

It is time for Tories to put aside these internecine struggles and instead concentrate on supporting and entrenching the reforms that Gove is making.

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Show comments
  • Paul W

    But, why oh why does he spout the “great teacher” platitude. The
    teachers don’t like him so there is little point in him fawning to them.

    Many
    of our teachers are not as good as in times gone by, many are are not
    as committed as earlier generations and they are scruffier than their
    predecessors.

    Whilst we have producer interest pushing the agenda
    (normal in the still bloated public services) sub standard outcomes are
    inevitable.

  • ohforheavensake
  • Frank

    Surprised that the Spectator and the Telegraph are not allowing any comments on Tony Benn.
    Even more surprised by Dave pronouncing Benn as magnificent.
    Impressed but not surprised by the whitewashing of Benn’s wartime career!

  • Frank

    As a first step, the Tories could stop UCAS selling the names and addresses of all children going through the university application scheme – why do UCAS think that they have anyone’s authority to sell these details (ditto the NHS)?
    Do the Tories have any agenda other than to be re-elected? If they wanted to achieve this, they could worse than to start with a clean sheet of paper and listen to the people on the streets rather than a clutch of male MPs sitting in 10 Downing Street advised by an Australian.

  • global city

    The Tories have finally been caught out by most people who used to assume that aspiration was the natural territory of the party. It never has been. They have merely squatted on the slogan in order to gain the votes of the aspirants, same as they have done to parasatise the gullible eurosceptics and entrepreneurial.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    No, no reason to get excited about little boy Gove. That cartoon is perfect though. Gove has the Leninist mindset, for sure. And like Lenin, it’s all about what’s said, never mind the results. He’s perfect for the marketeering socialist Cameroons.

    No real conservative can support a progressive-neocon zealot like Gove, who is beavering away at the long-sought socialist holy grail, sucking-in the entire education structure into a full central control, to facilitate a progressive-neocon globalist narrative, imprinted on all from the first.

    Don’t be fooled because today’s useful idiot educrats are being bypassed. That might give a temporary sugar buzz, to see a long-standing enemy sidelined, but their illegitimate hold on education is being replaced by a far more sinister and soul-murdering central control, courtesy of Gove and his fellow shiny eyed authoritarian zealots.

  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    The privatisation agenda continues, that a utterly convincing and much liked Greenie delivers it is a joy to behold.

  • George_Arseborne

    I always enjoy seeing the Tories tearing themselves apart. Please let the continue like that and in opposition after 2015. They should never come closer to power ever.

  • ohforheavensake

    Meanwhile, out in the real world, the government’s education policy isn’t working, and Gove is loathed-

    http://community.tes.co.uk/tes_opinion/f/31/t/653438.aspx

    • Wessex Man

      You Gove must be working to get you lot foaming at your mouths, good to see!

  • Tom Tom

    There is no possibility of improving education without Discipline, Selection, and Fear of failure

    • Daniel Maris

      Why does Finland do so well then?

      • Tom Tom

        Small population and high levels of homogeneity and DISCIPLINE, 5 million people makes Finland smaller than Inner London

  • London Calling

    The Tories need to close ranks, not bitch……………..:O

    • London Calling

      That aspiration ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,:)

  • southerner

    “…and politically essential for a centre right party…”

    And that’s why it’s seen as entirely non-essential to the un-conservatives.

  • Count Dooku

    They can start by scrapping the utterly ridiculous 40% tax. This is the first tax an alleged party for the strivers should have cut.

    • Tom Tom

      Cut spending then since 40% tax brings in >£50 billion

  • telemachus

    Gove
    Gove
    Gove
    Why oh why can Speccie not leave this evil force alone

    • ButcombeMan

      Because dear boy, he is the single most important politician, in any party, for the future of Britain.

      • telemachus

        Were that to be true there would be no hope for us
        Gladly Boris and co will do for him

        • ButcombeMan

          Your glorious leader T Blair said, education, education, education.
          It has taken Gove to actually do something. He is just not content, rightly so, with your socialist mediocrity. He wants to improve opportunity for all.

          • telemachus

            That is absolutely not what he wants
            He is creating a new tier of elite schools
            Worse he is plonking them next to indifferent LEA schools which will wither
            While the children within over key formative years will get progressively worse education
            Govian Educational Social Darwinism
            Not too different from the Third Reich

            • Colonel Mustard

              No, that is just a mantra from those who oppose him. One of those Goebbelsian Big Lies that is repeated again and again to dupe the stupid.

              • Wessex Man

                This telemachus is Hooky in disguise, so that we don’t think he’s the worse thing on here!

                • telemachus

                  There is only one telemachus
                  We have a team but would not accept Hooky

                • Colonel Mustard

                  That’s rubbish. You post here as telemachus, telemaque, telemachus associates, David Lindsay, Common Purpose and probably half a dozen other pseudonyms. You have already admitted you post at the other place using other names too.

                • telemachus

                  There is of course a Team Colonel, a Team
                  I am also accused of being Fergus Pickering, Patriccia Shaw, Mynydd, Dalai, huktra, Monty 61 and a good six more
                  There is only one telemachus

                • Wessex Man

                  oh dear.

          • telemachus

            As you know Blair was a revisionist
            It was only the last 3 years that Ed Balls under Gordon’s auspices began to imput positively into education

            • Colonel Mustard

              A revisionist you voted for three times and a revisionist whose bandwagon the present gruesome gang on the opposition front bench had no qualms about slithering onto.

        • Colonel Mustard

          There is no hope for us if your miserable gang lie their way into No.10.

    • kyalami

      Because he is not evil. He is the opposite, but people find change difficult and, almost by definition, left-wing people are not good at thinking.

      • ButcombeMan

        Or changing.

      • telemachus

        I grant that he may not be intrinsically evil
        But has evil intent
        And the consequences of his actions are evil
        The sooner he gives way to Hunt the better

        • Colonel Mustard

          Tripe.

          • Wessex Man

            Triple tripe!

        • global city

          the evil intent to do well by educating the children of the great unwashed and clean the Augean stables of the cultural Marxists?

          • telemachus

            No the intent which many abhor is the creation of yet another tier of elite schools

            • global city

              Really?

              The next generation of Tory grandees want their kids to go to Rotherham tech?

        • Frank

          Ha Ha Ha Ha, Hunt??? Are you deranged, Hunt has zero new policies, comes across as dim and needs a haircut.

          • telemachus

            But he is not evil and dangerous

            • Frank

              Neither is Gove, do grow up.

              • telemachus

                Gove is an educational radical bent on forcing his political agenda via our children
                What should we call that?
                Misguided?
                Our children only get one chance

            • Kitty MLB

              Poor slighted, beautiful but dim Tristram
              Knight of Camelot in search of his Iseuit
              to help him educate all those fair maidens, whose
              colours are red.
              Alas and Alack ! it shall never be done- they shall never read. We have the dragon
              to turn the wee knight’s policies to ashes- assuming he had any. Says I Lady of Shalott.

    • Colonel Mustard

      telemachus
      telemachus
      telemachus
      I think it is more a case of another evil force leaving the Speccie alone.

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