Thursday 17 January 2019

Michael Gove: the speech

Everyone else has done it so we might as well publish the barnstormer we enjoyed yesterday. Funnily enough, the BBC chose instead to feature Tom Watson’s effort, over which the spectre of an enormous  ‘elephant’ loomed.

I have to admit that many of my political and philosophical positions are primarily emotional. For example, I’ve loathed Corbers ever since he hove into view alongside his Judeophobic colleagues, like, say Andy Slaughter and, I don’t know, Chris Mullin. That was long ago. Back when the prospect of such a wrong-headed individual becoming leader of the Labour Party was simply unthinkable.

But I’ve admired Gove, particularly are reading his 2016 Times piece (£) on antisemitism, way before the issue became a hot topic. 

From an emotional angle, admittedly, I think the label ‘back-stabber’ is unfair because I can very well understand his misgivings about Boris’s leadership potential and his reluctance to be closely associated with what he foresaw as a potential accident-waiting-to-happen. With hindsight, it may or may not have been a big mistake, but I like to believe it was sincerely motivated rather than malevolent. 
One might consider how Tom Watson must feel, knowing that despite losing an elephantine amount of weight he’s still shackled to another humungous elephant.


  1. Gove is treacherous. Were it not for him there would simply be no prospect of a Corbyn government. Were it not for Gove's treachery we would have had a Boris Johnson government, which would have delivered Brexit by now and would be riding high in the polls. It is Gove who has imperilled Britain's Jews by allowing a disastrous and incompetent May government to sow chaos and division and provide manifold opportunities for Corbyn's Long March to ultimately bear the fruit of power.

    Gove's act of treachery was purely self-willed and was not dictated by events.

    1. “Gove is treacherous! Were it not for Gove’s treachery! Gove’s act of treachery! “

      Come on! What are you like? That comes across like an imperious and high-handed mixture of Lady Bracknell and Frankie Howard. I must have wandered into the wrong blog.

      In somewhat intimidating language you seem to be attacking me me for believing that Gove’s misgivings about Boris’s leadership potential were sincere.

      I actually like Boris whose wit and charm knock Theresa’s ‘vicar’s daughter’ persona into a cocked hat. It’s tempting to push for such a charismatic figure for PM. However, Boris’s Trump-like impetuousness has got him, (and others) into some dodgy situations. Look at his gaffe over Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe, for one thing, and for another, consider his vision for ‘Middle East peace’.
      In a typical slapdash Boris-ism, he recommends that Israel should go back to its indefensible pre 1967 “borders” (cease-fire lines) and, in Tommy Cooper fashion, adds “with equal land swaps to reflect the national, security, and religious interests of the Jewish and Palestinian peoples.” as if those ‘interests’ were automagically reconcilable, “just like that.”
      But of course, there is a huge “Islam-shaped” void in this thinking.

      In the unlikely event that Michael Gove were to put himself forward for PM (which he himself has said is neither likely nor desirable) he might at least approach that particular issue in a more circumspect and historically literate way.

      Lastly, when people automatically assume that raising one’s head above the parapet equals ‘making a bid for leadership’, that makes me wonder, a) who in their right mind would volunteer for such a task in the current circumstances and, b) if someone was indeed making such a bid, so what? What’s wrong with that? Someone’s gotta bloody do it.

      Maybe Boris would indeed have achieved a successful Brexit in an incisive, Churchillian-like manner, or maybe not. But as for “Gove’s treachery?” No.

    2. Boris like Trump? Well yes, Trump got elected.

      If Gove's action against Boris wasn't treachery then I think we will need to redefine the word treachery.

      The idea that Boris would have performed less well than May in elections when he held Labour London twice in Mayoral elections involving millions of voters is preposterous.

      I think that Boris,descendant of an Ottoman potentate and author of Seventy Two Vir gins, understands Islam.

      May has shown she can screw up elections. That means she could allow Corbyn to slip in despite his appalling history and unconvincing denials of anti-semitism.

    3. Gove is widely regarded as treacherous, which is hardly surprising. Boris and his several family members in the media, including the likeable dad, are I think very ambitious and would love for him to be PM. It would be no surprise if they eventually get their way. He is more appealing as a personality than Javid or Rudd or Gove or Hunt.

    4. In my original post (did you read it?) I clearly stated that my position (towards Gove etc) was ‘primarily emotional' and ‘from an emotional angle’. Now I put it to you that yours (towards Boris) is too. More so, probably.

      I contend that what you see as Gove’s "treachery" (betrayal of trust) was the result of some genuine, soul-searching - whereas Boris’s ‘soul-searching’ led him to abandon his friend Dave, at the last possible moment, to head the Leave campaign.

      No, I don’t exactly call that treachery either; perhaps ‘extreme political manoeuvring’. However, it’s more likely that Boris was motivated by personal ambition, whereas Gove's motive was more altruistic. In other words he was ‘doing what he felt was the right thing to do, for the good of the country’.

      As for Boris’s ability or otherwise to guide us swiftly through Brexit, well let’s say he’s not a ‘details man’, a trait that often gets him into all sorts of fine messes. (I see he’s in hot water again over Turkey)
      Much as I applaud his wit and charisma, I sympathise with Gove’s misgivings about Boris as PM., but if he succeeds, jolly good luck to him and I wish him well.

      Now I’m done with this particular matter.

  2. The speech was, indeed, superb but I still think history will recall Gove as the man who killed Brexit. If he had stabbed Boris in the front, and earlier in the process, he might have been forgiven.

    Re: The vote of no confidence: I was not reassured by the crazed smirk on May's face when Corbyn insisted on the abandonment of the 'no deal' option as a pre-condition of cross-part talks. - I suspect she was thinking, "Fear not, that's on its way!"

    1. "Cross-party talks" normally means all the parties are now cross about the talks. :)

  3. I have trying to decide after watching the speeches last night why I found Gove’s anger admirable but Corbyn’s obnoxious. Is it simply a matter of political allegiance? I think not, I believe there are good, sincere people on both sides of the house, irrespective of my own political views. The difference was that Gove’s anger was genuine whereas Corbyn’s anger seems more like a permanent psychological state. This really is the sinister side of the far-left, and worryingly this is the attraction for many of his supporters.

    1. I know what you mean - Corbyn's rant seemed to be fuelled by hatred.

      If you have a look at the video & comments on today's Guido article, 'When Dawn Pulled Jez,' some of the comments suggest it might be the early stages of dementia; it seems to me equally likely that he managed to give himself a transient ischaemic attack.

    2. Both playing politics. That's all it is. Gove is clever and quick on his feet. Good at handling attacking interviewers like that numpty at Sky or anyone the BBC cares to throw at him. Trustworthy and genuine? Doubtful. I don't know how he can be a Leaver and yet advocate for May's hogwash.

    3. Quite. Compare and contrast what Gove said on the Vote Leave stage with the pathetic May deal, negotiated by the equivalent of a five year old trying to play poker with a seasoned pro.

    4. Well yes, in a sense all politicians are playing at politics. But whatever you think of Gove, everything he said about Corbyn was true. I am obviously in a minority of one on this blog, but treachery or not I’m rather glad that Gove didn’t back Boris Johnson. We will never know, but as bad as the May deal is, and it is bad, I believe under Johnson it would have been an even bigger disaster.

      My real concern is’t whether this politician stabbed another politician in the back, or what that politician said before the referendum is not the same as they are saying now. That applies to most of them. What actually keeps me awake at night is the mental state of the man who may well become prime Minister of this country.

    5. Terry,
      Budge up! I think the minority has just doubled. There's at least two of us round here :-)

    6. Sue & Terry: We shouldn't just be worrying about Corbyn, but about the Labour party itself, since Momentum arrived on the scene. Suppose Corbyn were to be replaced tomorrow - his replacement would very probably be McDonnell, the Provisional-IRA-defending Shadow Chancellor, the man with Mao's little red book - a far more alarming prospect.

      As for Gove, the man is a modern-day Vicar of Bray, prepared to adopt whichever stance he thinks will help him to shin up the greasy pole.

    7. I’m no fan of Boris but the way the BBC repeatedly attack him and his character does demonstrate bias in my opinion.

    8. Hatred is the sincerest form of flattery. They clearly think he is the biggest threat to their project.

    9. He is a personality, potentially with mass appeal and accessibility, despite having blotted his copybook in various ways and not being particularly good or reliable or not being popular at present. But he was at one time and a serious threat to Cameron.

      He has that mysterious quality of being likeable, partly because he is amiable, witty and amusing, and makes you want to laugh because of that and because he is slightly shambolic and a bit of a comical figure in himself. That is his personality; he's a character and that is why people call him Boris.

    10. I hate to labour the point, but I don’t dislike Boris. I just question his suitability as leader.

      I completely agree with you.

  4. When Gove was at Education I was very impressed with him and his desire for all children to be properly educated. The Department and teachers hated him. But at Environment he seems to have gone native. It seems that he follows the green agenda. There are big issues facing british agriculture and he worries about cotton wool buds and scented candles.

    1. Like Cameron & May, he is eager to pander to the concerns of the BBC/Guardian Wet Left. Don't know why they can't get it into their thick skulls that the Beeb hates Tories.

    2. Formerly I think it would have been known as "battered wife syndrome": he loves me really...


    Tobias Ellwood seems to be very much in the snake category. Apparently he wants to "honour" the Referendum result by forcing on us an appalling BRINO solution. Freudian slip - says we are heading to "no Brexit" without compromise...

    Caroline Lucas arguing for BBC official policy ie the Second Referendum. (Portillo had a good whinge about how the BBC have consistently, constantly and repetitively promoted the Second Referendum).

    Anand Ghiridihaddas (??) Indian-American anti-Trumpist and clearly pro-EU. So that's three Remainers out of four so far. A typical Newsnight Panel it seems.

    Caroline Slocock - anti-Thatcherite... May not the person who can reach out and provide consensus...

    She's on to push her book...doesn't like May either...sounds like a fourth Remainer. Suspect she's a Lib Dem. Make that 4 out of 4 being Remainers.

    The BBC just don't care anymore. Brazen Bias.


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