Sunday 24 March 2013

Gove's Red Planet

Is this the same Michael Gove who, even after his adoption as the Conservative candidate for one of that party's safest seats, was using his Times column to pen love letters to Tony Blair, once a contributor to Marxism Today and then the only MP to attend the launch of Demos (for all that that is getting better now) out of the considerable financial rubble of the Communist Party, and to heap praise on the old Trots Stephen Byers and Alan "Haze of Dope" Milburn?

We may also assume his support for the Coalition's resumption and acceleration of the health "reforms" pioneered by Milburn and devised by Paul Corrigan, who still describes himself as "a Marxist" and an adherent of "dialectical materialism", having been a Communist Party parliamentary candidate in a Labour seat in 1979.

Corrigan's and Milburn's dreamt-of privatisation of the NHS as, Corrigan makes clear, an expression of those principles and of none other, comes into effect next Monday, 1st April (appropriately enough), in a blaze of non-coverage from the BBC or from anyone else, and in a blaze of non-Opposition from the Liam Byrne Party. Corrigan's wife was Blair's Chief Whip, including at the time of the invasion of Iraq.

Gove is a noted disciple of the American neoconservatives,  whose entire intellectual system is explicable only in terms of their Trotskyism, the terms in which they initially framed it without any sort of window dressing. Gove is also, and this makes perfect sense as bound up with his neoconservatism, a devotee of Margaret Thatcher, who replaced O-levels with GCSEs while she was Prime Minister, having, as Education Secretary, closed so many grammar schools that there were not enough left at the end for her record ever to be equalled.

And Gove is a courtier of the patron of all three of the neocons, Thatcher, and Blair and the Blairites. He still has regular, off the record meetings with Rupert Murdoch, on whose instructions he was given first a parliamentary seat and then a Cabinet position. On coming down from Oxford, he had applied to the Conservative Research Department, only to be rejected on the grounds that it could find no evidence that he even was a Conservative, or indeed political in the slightest. Yet look at him now.

In point of fact, while Gove's heroine was giving effect to the policies of the then New Left to whom a shared allegiance to that transnational power, the Murdoch Empire, was to attach him, the Soviet Union was maintaining a very traditional system of education, in which teachers who were universally assumed to know more than their pupils stood in front of orderly rows of uniformed young charges and simply imparted their knowledge, with the result that, once the veneer of Marxist vocabulary was stripped away, that system's products were often significantly better-educated than many of their Western contemporaries.

But it was against this that the people who now surround  Gove defined themselves. Defined themselves, that is, within Marxism. Or, if you will, defined themselves among the inhabitants of the Red Planet. They still do.


  1. This whole post is based on the false premise that it's not possible to be right about one issue...and wrong about other issues. Where do you get that bizarre idea from?

    Gove is wrong about neoconservatism, the Iraq War etc.

    But that doesn't make him wrong in his desire to restore rigour, knowledge and traditional teaching to the primary school system-nor does it make his 100 academic critics any less rabidly Marxist than their published work reveals them to be ("Marxism as relevant today as ever" indeed).

    Gove is right on that issue, just like he's right on making pupils recite poetry, and learn proper history and grammar, just like he's right in his desire to abolish GCSE's and his private support for grammar schools-which he would bring back were it not for Cameron.

    A good friend of P. Hitchens (despite their differences) he's also one of the most deeply principled and intelligent principled men in Parliament-as we could see during his recent BBC QT performance.

    But Gove's noisiest critics (who oppose his desire to reintroduce traditional teaching, of history and everything else) are all on the Left.For obvious reasons.

    I now see the problem with this blog-the author simply has no idea what the Left has become.

  2. his private support for grammar schools-which he would bring back were it not for Cameron

    If you believe that, then you really will believe absolutely anything!

    I do not necessarily blame Gove. He does not know much or all of what I set out here. He is almost as non-political as Boris Johnson or Tony Blair. None of them ought therefore to be or have been in politics in the first place.

    But then, none of them is or was in it on his own behalf, for all the perks and the trappings. Other forces are or were at work behind and through each of them.

  3. I make that assumption about his support for grammar schools, because he's admitted it to P. Hitchens in private correspondence, before he became a Minister.

    He wouldn't lie, in private, to his friend. That's why I believe that.

    Gove is "non-political" in the sense that he cares more about things like giving poor kids a high standard of education than he does in the redundant political 'ideologies' and labels of policy wonks, which have no connection to people's real lives, and experiences.

  4. That is the exact opposite of Gove, or at least of the people running and handling him.

    What he might have said in private correspondence years ago is neither here nor there now.

  5. Anybody watching him speak about education can see he cares passionately about giving poor kids a the high standard of teaching he benefited from, and that his zeal for reform is motivated by that passion.

    Even Emily Thornberry admitted he is sincere and has noble motives, in his desire to restore rigour to education (she just doesn't agree with what she called his "1950's view of education").

    I don't know about the people around him. But he is deeply principled-no doubt about that.

  6. Mr Gove ought to consider today a very good day.

    He's just received a vote of no-confidence from the filthy Marxoid teacher's unions who are the principal reason we come 17th in international league tables for education.

    It's a badge of honour he should wear with pride.

    With enemies like these, he can be confident he's doing something right!

    Full speed ahead Mr Gove, ram these reforms down their throats. If they don't like it, they can resign.

    They'll be no loss to Britain.

  7. The ATL "Marxist"? You are barking mad as Gove is, with his paranoia about "The Blob" and what have you. And the teaching unions will still be there long, long, long after he has gone. Mere Ministers are nothing to them.

    "His heart's in the right place"? Is that really the best that you can do? Heaven knows where his brain is, though. Or if he even has one. It is ever-more apparent that talk of his intellect is part and parcel of his creation out of nothing, absolutely nothing, by Rupert Murdoch. He is as thick as two short planks, but utterly convinced of his own brilliance and entitlement. Just the way that Murdoch likes them.