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Video: the assassination of Michael Gove

15 July 2014

15 July 2014

Michael Gove‘s departure from the Department for Education is the biggest shock of this reshuffle. Tory MPs have been even more surprised by it than they were William Hague’s leaving the Foreign Office.

Downing Street is keen to stress that the education reform agenda doesn’t leave the DfE with Gove. The changes to the junior ministerial line-up at the department bolsters this argument, Nick Gibb—no friend of the teaching unions—returns as Minister of State for schools and Nick Boles, a close ally of Gove and a man brave enough to take on vested interests wherever he finds them, takes over the Skills Brief.

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But, if the reform agenda is continuing, why not just make Liz Truss Education Secretary? She’s worked with Gove for the past few years as one of his junior ministers and knows the brief well. The decision to give it to a clean skin in Nicky Morgan, previously an effective Treasury Ministers, suggests at the very least a desire to move on from past battles.

As for Gove’s new role, it is clear he isn’t being silenced. He is one of the four musketeers who’ll be out and about defending the government and promoting the Tory cause in the broadcast studios between now and the election. He’ll also be an influential figure in  Number 10, attending the 8.30am and 4pm meetings as well as sitting on all the key Cabinet committees.

But Gove is no longer running a department and has been separated from his great moral crusade of education reform. One senior Cameroon counters that what’s most important now is winning the next election and bringing Gove into the centre makes that more likely.  If the Tories do win in 2015, I’m told Gove will return to running a big department.

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Show comments
  • George Scoresby

    I am glad “you are told.” But you’re full of bs.

  • Flamineo

    Hadn’t realised the Spectator was staffed by 12 year olds. I was hoping an ice cream van would drive by outside and all three would run out of the interview.

  • Mike Thomas

    First rational article I’ve read about Mr. Gove’s role. The BBC were just happy to rub salt in – analysis isn’t their strong point anymore.

    • Helena Handcart

      so true. Gove will be back. This is about winning May’s election. The BBC couldn’t analyse its way through a paper bag anymore. It is staffed largely by people with no capacity for critical thinking who genuinely believe they are entitled to a job there.

  • right_writes

    Isn’t David Cameron amazing…?

    Gove and Paterson, the only two effective members of the cabinet, demoted or sacked.

    The man is unerring in his ability to pick out the few remaining conservatives.

    And then, I don’t really care how good they are, he appoints three women… Cos that is what Harriet Harperson wants him to do.

    I think we better run, the choice between one bunch of social democrats and another, bent on imprisoning every citizen/subject in a ratcheting maze of stupid legislation, continues apace.

    • Helena Handcart

      No, this is pure tactics and Cameron was right to do it. Gove will get access all areas to government now. In some ways he/s in a stronger position. Don’t be too hasty to read today’s news at face value.

      • right_writes

        Ah, I see…

        Can you tell me why he has taken a £36,000 pay cut then Helena?

        Or is that all part of a ruse to make his detractors look like he is getting demoted?

  • HookesLaw

    The unions have run out of excuses. Gove is still in govt and in a good place in the run up to the election. The news is that the reforms are entrenched.

    BTW – good to see the ‘Stupid Headline Competition’ is still being run in Spectator Towers.

  • CharlietheChump

    Gove at Education was the best thing about this coalition. For 4 years they have been very poor in their defence and explanation of policy so, as an accomplished media performer, he will be excellent.

    Dave can always send him back to Education IF they can scrape a win in 2015.

    • HookesLaw

      I see no reason why he should go back to education. The question is which is the best place for him after 2015. Would a LD free tory govt have a deputy PM? After 2015 he will have about 3 years to make a case for himself as leader. This is a good move for Gove.

    • Helena Handcart

      Gove is a superb debater and orator. They will win in 10 months time.

  • you_kid

    Ohohoho – ‘the Gove education agenda continues’
    This good news day keeps on giving …

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …so, does good news always equal fascist news for your sockpuppet army, lad?

  • HD2

    Unless and until State schools are denationalised (ie can set their own curriculum, entrance exam *charge top-up fees* and have an entrance exam) UK educational reform is only partial.

  • Ringstone

    Gove has caused too much trouble on maneuvers for Gideon, his little contretemps with May being the latest manifestation. If he’d been serious about finishing what he started he should have kept his head down and dug in like a toad in a stone at Education. Sadly politickng took precedence over ultimate delivery on education, very disappointing. He’s been chastened (especially as May sails on undisturbed) but is too bright to sack.

    • Holly

      So going by your assumptions, Gove is now in the right position?

    • Steve Lloyd

      Gideon wants to lead the party. Who in their right mind is going to vote for him to be PM. Madness.

  • itdoesntaddup

    If the idea is that Gove is toxic it sits strangely with putting him up as front man on TV. If the idea is that GCHQ has tipped off Christine Blower’s plans for a series of teacher strikes and conniving at madrassas, then Cameron is signalling retreat before they happen.

    Nicky Morgan’s experience amounts to being a school governor and a commercial lawyer. Truss goes to DEFRA with no background beyond lobbying for constituents occasionally on flooding or the CAP. It is plain that both departments will be run by their civil servants, and surrendered to the left.

    • Sentinel

      After Gove has lost his temper a few times on the telly he will be redeployed to a ‘key organising position’ and able to spend more time with his charming SpAd.

      • CharlietheChump

        What odds are you offering?

    • HookesLaw

      Whips tend not to do too much telly but there will not be much of that for him to do in a run up to election day. Gove and Hague will do quite well I think with the media.

      • itdoesntaddup

        I guess you missed the announcement from No 10 that Gove would be spending more time on your telescreen.

  • Adrian Drummond

    Why are you not discussing the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill that was being forced through parliament today? Cameron deliberately chose his reshuffle to throw the media off the scent. Fraser, if you cared about this like you did about Levy you’d write about it .

    • Adam Carter

      I don’t think Fraser will have time to discuss this emergency legislation until he has completed his article on Neathergate.

      (For new readers: Neathergate referes to the claim by a Mr.Neather that the last Labour government deliberately promoted 3rd world immigration in order bto ‘rub the Right’s nose’ in ‘diversity’.
      Many people thought this was a very worrying revelation of an appalling policy. Fraser thought there was a scandal to be investigated and said he would write about it. But I guess he has been too busy.)

      • Slicer

        When did he start writing his article of Neathergate?

      • BarkingAtTreehuggers

        Every time I read this phrase a Pavlovian response it triggered. Allow me to give you a brief and unauthorised preview of what there is to say.


        A Brief History of English* Immigration

        If there was one thing I learnt in my short life then it would be that nothing ever remains static. Everything always changes, the drivers always move on, others are always left behind. The Irish to name one were once part of the country that could not be kept together, then perhaps India, or Australia, or Jamaica – not even the Isle of flippin’ Man could be kept together. Where’s the Bacon Butty Boy to rescue us when we need him? What a mockery indeed!

        There is no one left to milk. The colonies – all gone. The indigenous plebiscite is the only plebscite left to demand payments from. The credit-worthiness of the indigenous now matters most. Can we be seen to load all this debt onto an ever smaller number of indigenous people?

        Of course not, that is why we need to be seen to fill up this country with those from the colonies and of course with those from Europe. Everyone who wants to come can come. Please come! Yes, even Chinese investors – come and fill this land with the millions of your most affluent citizenry. The London-centrics will welcome you!

        There we have it – a summary of English economic policy of the last 307 years.

        * excludes Scotland deliberately, they are a different country.

        • davidofkent

          I was wondering what might have been the subject of your rambling comment.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Best you not bother with answering that question, not with this muppet.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Even more gibberish laddie.

      • fathomwest

        More importantly he gave a promise to Strapworld and the readers to write an article. Nothing came despite many ‘requests’ and strapworld being barred.

    • Adam Carter

      The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill is a serious matter. Not for the likes of you to discuss. Or me. Or anyone outside the close circle that goes along with the stitch-up.
      Those people don’t want us to know about or discuss important matters; they’re happy for us to chat about how many women are in the Cabinet.

      • Adrian Drummond

        This country was once a great bastion of free speech and democracy. How pitiful we are now…

    • Tony_E

      What is the difference between what is in the current bill, and what we were doing without it already?

      • Adrian Drummond

        If you believe Teresa May, then ostensibly nothing; however, if you understand how the security services work and how they run rings round politicians who are technically illiterate, then there is a great deal of difference; hence the importance of clear and detailed oversight. Because this legislation is being rushed through, it won’t get the attention it deserves. For a legal understanding I suggest you might want to read the following:

        • Mike Thomas

          And if you bothered to understand the law, this is a UK piece of legislation to replace a 2009 EU directive that was already on the statue books.

          Really, as someone that understands RIPA & Data Protection / Retention legislation – this is a good day to be a tinfoil hat seller and nothing more.

          • Adrian Drummond

            Very few people understand this legislation. If you had listened to the Home Secretary yesterday (and I doubt it), you’ll have realised from her confusing answers that she barely understood it.

            • Mike Thomas

              Oh brother. What Teresa May says in Parliament is for the benefit of MPs. I would imagine they are less technically savvy than my 5-year old. I can assure you behind the scenes they know precisely what it means and they have very, very clever people that understand what it means too.

              There has been no UK Snowden. Why? Because the data is under substantial levels of control.

              • Adrian Drummond

                That is not true; Snowden passed on the latest GCHQ surveillance techniques and that is why they are so ticked off.

                • Mike Thomas

                  Oh good grief….. What Snowden did was tell us what most of us already knew. GCHQ Bude is visible on Google Maps for pity’s sake. The location of the main atlantic trunk runs slap bang next to it.

                  The security services regularly run ops to obtain data, we knew that. They run through SSL to obtain it – we knew that. We knew they had information on how to compromise poor code in operating systems – Stuxnet told us that.

                  Really, it might be a big revelation to you, it’s all grist to the mill for people like me.

                  What to know why they were ticked off, Snowden probably exposed a number of people working to expose others. These people are now probably either dead, tortured or imprisoned.

                  Funny how the ‘civil liberties’ people forget that, there are people serving to protect us that are dead through Snowden’s actions. I am also not surprised he chose Moscow as his new home. Odd how they welcomed him with open arms, don’t you think?

                • ButcombeMan

                  I don’t have your patience to explain all this. You are spot on.

                  Snowden represents the most successful ever, leftist spying coup aimed at destroying our security.

                  Rustbucket should be in the Tower

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  So Snowden has been shown to have made people dead because of his actions? Perhaps you could be so good as to show us again who these dead people were, since this is a known-known?

        • ButcombeMan

          Well I understand how the security Services work. The legislation has a sunset clause. There will be plenty of time to review it

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …but none to debate it properly, apparently.

            • ButcombeMan

              Silly comment.

              Because very few MPs are Grauniad affected nutters, does NOT mean it is not being debated properly.

              It just means and you need to get over this, that not many agree with you

              • the viceroy’s gin

                So after having celebrated the lack of debate, you now attack those who want debate.

                That’s what makes you an authoritarian, lad.

      • Adam Carter

        We are told that there is no difference.
        But do you believe that? There hasn’t been an opportunity to discuss it, debate it and examine it, to see what might be in there that will be easy to abuse. We know that RIPA has been abused by local councils checking on where people live in relation to school catchment areas. Have all possibilities of that kind of abuse been removed from this one? We don’t know.
        This ’emergency’ Bill is said to be in response to a court ruling, but that ruling came in April. And this measure has to be put through as an ’emergency’ in July, with the connivance of party leaders before being put to MPs?
        Don’t you think there is something there to be suspicious about?

    • Holly

      Personally, I would rather have ‘dodgy bods’ thinking they could be implicated in future by their communicating with each other, than them not.

      The majority of stuff will be filtered out, and if not, the security bods would soon tire of reading the mundane stuff that makes up most of the inane ramblings by folk like myself….To folk like yourself.

      If email, social media sites, Facebook, twitter, mobile phones are enabling nutjobs to ‘arrange’ stuff, well the government of the day, has to have the power to make sure they fail.

      My concern is stopping the nutjobs, not the monitors.

      • Adrian Drummond

        You appear not to understand the implications; all the supposed ‘nutjobs’ – as you describe them – can circumvent much of this legislation by use of encryption and other methods. It’s the general public and business that needs to be aware; they will now be susceptible to far greater scrutiny than ever before; why do you think Germans are so wary of such an oversight? They had years of the Stasi watching them and they found it highly unpleasant,

        • HookesLaw

          Dear sir – why would anyoine draw attention to themselves by encryption? The law is about retaining data so that anyone who then becomes a suspect can if a court agrees have their emails etc searched. The police regularly use search warrants.
          So encryption is not the point.

          • Adrian Drummond

            As I’ve already suggested to you in an earlier message – do try and research this topic online; It is quite complicated but in essence, we – the public -, the media, the politicians – are all being hoodwinked.

            • ButcombeMan

              No we are not.

        • Mike Thomas

          Again, the Germans enacted the same EU2009 legislation without any complaint. All the EU countries implemented it – all of them are going to enact replacement legislation at a national level and some already have.

          • Adrian Drummond

            Maybe but not to the extreme extent as this government is doing.

            • Mike Thomas

              What extreme extent? Please give examples.

              They are patching up a hole in legislation ratified by the last government. RIPA is not their legislation either and they have certainly cracked down on local authority abuse of it.

              There are many systems in place, put there by the last government that would make your hair go white. They still lost the data of 26,000,000 individuals. It’s not the systems, many of them have been there for 40 years+, it’s the controls and people that use them. There has been a concerned effort to tighten up control of them that has been very successful.

              Like it or not, the internet is home to some of the world’s most determined people to either engage in acts of sheer evil depravity through to criminals/states wanting money/secrets. Social media is now pervasive and it also contributes to putting killers behind bars in the same way Ian Huntley’s phone location data did. Bad people are not excluded from using the internet.

              I’d love to live in a world where we use to internet to engage in a one billion man Kum-by-ya. It’s not the case. No-one is going to infringe your rights by some kind of V for Vendetta style plot. Seriously, the threshold to engage in cyber-forensics is very, very, very high. It’s also fully audited and independently assessed.

              It’s a very complex environment that I sadly have been involved in (a while ago). Sadly because you lose a lot of faith in human nature when you understand what people are capable of doing to people.

              • Aberrant_Apostrophe

                “We’ve had cloud storage since the 1960s – they were called mainframes in those days.”

                Mainframes were large single or multiple processors that users logged onto either directly, or in later years remotely, where their data were held on disks attached to the mainframe, or in later years on closely coupled high-speed networked disk arrays. That is not the same as ‘cloud storage’, where data are held remotely on disk farms and the processors are local to the users.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                “…you lose a lot of faith in human nature when you understand what people are capable of doing to people.”


                …which is exactly the reason why governments have no business collecting and storing massive amounts of data as part of a surveillance state. We all know what that will lead to, inevitably.

          • ButcombeMan

            You are wasting your time trying to persuade AD.

            Once someone has bitten by the mad dog Guardian & Snowden editorials they become an immediate expert. yet they know nothng.

            You are correct Mike, using encryption just draws attention.

            The resources to range across very much innocent traffic is just not there, can never be there in a country like the UK.

            China & Russia, where Snowden prefers to spend his time, are of course different!

            To find the needle, you have to at least secure the haystack for a little while

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …but it seems you authoritarians want to secure all the haystacks… forever.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Yes, I’d expect most of the socialist countries of Europe to go along with civil liberties encroachments, and a massive surveillance state. It’s in their nature.

            They won’t be going through “everyone’s emails”, lad. They’ll go through the ones they want, from the people they want to investigate. You’re being plenty naive if you think collected data will not be abused, or hacked.

      • itdoesntaddup

        With blanket authorisation all it takes is a few bent ones and the whole thing takes on a very different complexion. They might be relatively harmless – simply pursuing personal vendettas (which is nasty enough) – or they might be politically motivated, almost certainly in malign ways whether of left or right or other brand of extremism.

    • you_kid

      Well spotted, sir.
      The progression to impose blatant right wing fascism continues unabated.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …so it’s much like you Levesonista fascists, eh lad?

        • BarkingAtTreehuggers

          We can’t be seen losing all this mobile phone and email data can we laddie? We must oppose EU totalitianism by … being more totalitarian! Lokk, your tripe lines don’t work. Only eejjits would believe it. How many eejjits do you think you convince of your nonsense lines? It’s pointless, lad – you lose.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …so your entire army of sockpuppets are fascists, lad?

      • right_writes

        It’s a pity that lefties are so ignorant of their own history, they might be a bit less casual in the manner that they throw the “fascism” word around.

        Fascist ideology is left… Not right!

        It has its history in the schism between one bunch of lefty Germans and another, in the years that led up to WW2.

        A lone “right wing” politician was stating the bleeding obvious, and being treated by BBC and the like as a pariah… (Churchill).

        • you_kid

          UKIP are fascism light. They stand for restricting the pre-requisite of any free market which is the curtailing of free labour movement. That’s how all fascists start …

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …says the Levesonista fascist.

    • HookesLaw

      Boring. The law will be just the same after the bill passes as it was before.

      • Adrian Drummond

        Yes, thanks to your example blind subservience, you’re probably right

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