Well, Michael Gove’s wife, Sarah Vine, has made her views clear: tweeting that the reshuffle was ‘a shabby day’s work which Cameron will live to regret’. Crikey. Talk about ‘stand by your man’:
— Sarah Vine (@SarahVine) July 16, 2014
Should Vine be turning her ire on Lynton Crosby? It was Crosby, so the story goes, who forced Gove out after concluding that his polling numbers were irredeemable. The move has created the greatest conundrum of the generally pretty perplexing reshuffle. If the new Chief Whip polls so terribly, why has he been asked to prosecute the election air war?
Gove has taken to his new role with characteristic relish: wrapping his interviewer, Huw Edwards, around his little finger and hinting at his plans for an expanded media role. He told the BBC that he was a big fan of LBC radio’s ‘Call Clegg’ feature, where the Deputy PM spends a Thursday morning being grilled for half an hour by listeners (and the occasional opposition party press officer, putting on a funny voice). What could possibly go wrong by allowing Gove, a politician who loves to start a fire and has a tendency to be rather blunt, loose on the airwaves, live, for more than twenty hours by the next election?
If ‘Grill Gove’ or ‘Maul Michael’ gets the go ahead, it’s going to be a tough balancing act for Gove. As Chief Whip, he must instil loyalty and discipline in the troops, and put a bit of stick about — if you will. Lines must be stuck to rigidly; quarrels and rebellion stamped out. But, as a talking head, the opportunities to stray off reservation are endless.