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Reshuffle: ‘Gove Out’ is a hollow victory for education campaigners

GoveFor a man who has had an online game dedicated to slapping him millions of times, it is some what of an achievement that Michael Gove has lasted as long as he has.

Derided by teachers and the butt of jokes over his condemnation of strike action despite his union past (he was a member of the NUJ and took part in a strike), Gove it seems could not weather the final storm.

The recent public sector strikes which included thousands of teachers, Gove, rather than the Prime Minister, was the focal point for hatred and ridicule.

He has been an important fall guy for the Prime Minister, taking the flak over education “reforms” as well as a friend of Cameron’s prior to parliament and a close ideological and political ally in cabinet.

There have been rumours about leadership challenges to David Cameron, possibly from Gove himself but this reshuffle is about being seen to be changing things, while mission privatise education, privatise NHS, will continue unabated.

This becomes even more clear when you look at Gove’s replacement, Nicky Morgan.

The Oxford graduate and former corporate lawyer has a classic Tory voting record. She is a party loyalist who only voted against the government in opposition to gay marriage legislation in a free vote.

[Click here to see how she has voted]

Among her other highlights, she voted strongly for reducing the rate of corporation tax and voted strongly against a banker’s bonus tax.

She voted in favour of £9,000 tuition fees and strongly favours academies and so-called “free” schools.

A trustee of the Conservative Christian Fellowship, Morgan said in an interview about being a woman in politics in 2011:

Thatcher was a very strong role model and she was one of the reasons I joined the Conservative Party.”

What Morgan will bring is a change of personality – she has criticised Tory backbenchers in the past for overly negative campaigning and using “the language of hate” over immigration.

However, education campaigners will not be holding their breath for a reversal in government policy.

By changing the education secretary Cameron has made a smart triple pronged manoeuvre; He has rid himself of a potential rival, quelled criticism that he doesn’t promote enough women to senior cabinet posts and can almost be certain education campaigners can not make Morgan a hate figure like they did with Gove before the general election next year.

Gove is gone but his legacy is in safe hands.

This post was first published at the Daily Dreadnought

Image credit: Slap Michael Gove


  1. Andrew Baisley says:

    The sacking of Gove was not a hollow victory. He was driven from office by parents, teachers, governors and students who stood together, marched together, struck together and campaigned together for a change of direction. It was impossible for Gove to change direction and clearly Cameron wants the change in personnel to be the beginning and the end of the changes at the DfE, but the coalition that brought Gove down fights on for a change in policy then change will come.

  2. Mike says:

    Nonetheless, the sacking of Gove is a significant victory for education unions and campaigners who have worked over the last four year to expose not just wrong policies but also the abusive and confrontational way his department functioned.

  3. swatantra says:

    He upset a lot of people and had to go.
    Teachers have just had it up to here.

  4. Nick Wright says:

    It is a great victory not only for the most conscious opponents of the neo liberal agenda that Gove worked through in education but also for a much wider range of people, including people, especially local government figures, in his own party who found the consequences of his policies ran up against their own priorities.

    No minister from the Coalition ranks is going to be able to adopt such a distinctly right wing ideological stance.
    Of course, the elitist assumptions that underly much of Coalition education policy will find new ways of expressing themselves but there will be a gradual attempt to stabilise the school system, neutralise teacher opinion and keep parents, at least middle class parents, onside.
    Even a smidgeon of boldness from Labour would go a long way, a robust defence of local government backed up with money, a balanced approach to governance and inspection, a repudiation of 19th century payment by results for teachers and an assertion of the principle of the common school is probably too much to hope for.

  5. Robert says:

    Lets see what takes it place first before screaming success. We may well ending up asking for the moron to come back.

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