Friday, 22 June 2012

Gove is an idiot

I've said it before and I'm saying it again. The tories are so incompetent as to be unfit to be in government. And no one epitomises this better than Michael Gove, Education Secretary and a Class A idiot.

Not content with previous wheezes, such as scrapping regulations that prevented teachers from searching pupils of the opposite sex without a witness present (there's no way that could possibly go wrong, could it?), or wasting money in sending every school in the country an additional bible (despite the fact that nearly every school has several dozen bibles already), Gove has managed to outdo himself with an idiotic proposal to completely destroy the education system in England and to ruin the futures of thousands of children by determining their futures with a single exam at age 14 and dividing them permanently into winners and losers for the rest of their education by bringing back O levels and CSEs.

You see, Gove seems to think that the solution to everything is to turn the clock back to his rose-tinted view of the '50s as the pinacle of education. Back when men were men, when children learned poetry by rote and when the peasants knew their place.

Every single policy he comes up with seems based around the idea that we need to disregard every advance in educational theory and teaching methods since his childhood and to go back to the same system that he was educated in on the basis that it worked for him and therefore must obviously work for everyone else.

But, as people like my father, who went to school in the '50s, can tell you, the system that existed back then was not good for most children. The education was shallow and the system quite cheerfully separated children (in theory on talent, in practice on class) into factory fodder and the elite. And it completely failed hundreds of thousands of children who ended up leaving school without any qualifications whatsoever.

Not that that matters to Gove. The reality of how GCSEs actually work, evidence about which teaching methods and which types of exams are most effective matters to him at all. He's convinced, with the typical tory mixture of arrogance and ignorance, that he knows better than the entire teaching profession.

All I can say is thank goodness that we've got Lib Dems in government to kill this off before it can get any further. Because it's quite obvious that Gove probably had the story leaked deliberately and was convinced that the popularity of the magic word "O levels"would make the plans so popular that he could bounce Lib Dems into accepting the plans before anyone could do anything about it.

Fortunately, that plan has backfired:
Mr Clegg said the education secretary's announcement was "self-evidently not policy that has been discussed or agreed within the coalition".

"I am not in favour of anything that would lead to a two-tier system where children at quite a young age are somehow cast on a scrap heap."
It's very good to see Clegg show some backbone on this - if only he could also get Gove sacked and replaced with marginally competent then I'd be very happy indeed.

Of course, the truly scary thing is not the existence of a tory this idiotic, they're rather common after all, but rather that he's seriously considered a front runner to be the next tory leader. Which speaks absolute volumes about the state of the tory party when the best approximation to statesmen they can find are Michael Gove and Boris Johnson.


  1. It's a vexed question, this.

    I certainly agree that the idea of scrapping people at the age of 15 is a bad one. People change, and at that age they change quickly.

    The old Qualifying Exam that we had in Scotland (you had 11+ a year earlier)separated the men from the boys along class lines. And that's how it was seen.

    The well off, ergo intelligent people (by and large) "passed" their "Quallie" and went on to the academy whilst the working class poor people "failed" and went to the school where they taught girls how to cook and clean, and boys how to labour and sign on.

    But in fairness to that system, it was the British way of looking at it that let it down, rather than the actual idea.

    We insist, in Scotland as much as in England, that anyone who works with their hands as opposed to their brains is a failure.

    We seem, however, to overlook their "fail" status when the kitchen is flooded; the tv aerial falls off the roof; the car won't start or we need a new central heating or double glazing system installed in a day.

    In many other, much more egalitarian, European societies, there are different schools, and systems for people who have practical rather than intellectual inclinations... and that system works. It is flexible and there is no stigma attached to going to a trade school. That will be why we have to import our plumbers from Poland!

    That said, the idea that we can simply copy continental systems and import them into our own rather old fashioned, class ridden society, where, let's face it, the rich wouldn't be happy to see their child go to some "junior secondary" or "secondary modern" with the children from the local estate, and would somehow buy their kid's way out of that situation, is dubious.

    Mind you I agree with you about Gove. But a close friend of the Chipping Norton set, although not out of the top drawer himself, I don't see Camerass sacking him, do you?

    1. I think that even if Cameron was willing to sack Gove he'd struggle to find a tory to replace him who wasn't just as incompetent. I predict that the lack of talent in the tories will hit them very hard over the next decade or so.

    2. I predict that the lack of talent in the tories (enabled by orange book/free marketeering libdems) will hit all of us very hard over the next decade or so.

    3. Gove is one of those dangerous people who are clever enough to know that he is cleverer than the average but not cleaver enough to know that he isn't as cleaver as he thinks he is. Very good academically admittedly but he has a much too simple view of the world; he doesn't quite see the lower levels of complexity that exist below the surface of life.

  2. Gove an Idiot? I'm afraid you have got him very wrong Gove is very inteligent and very dangerous! He wanted for profit free schools, Nick said no, the first one is opening this September IES Breckland School( the clue is in the name). He wants a two teir exam system, Nick say no, He will introduce a single qualification with a two stage corriculum and two seperate exams.


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