When I was kid, I used to watch a television programme called Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons where the protagonist (Captain Scarlet) was an indestructible man; whether he was shot, blown up in a car or had stood on a Lego brick, he could never die. So, imagine my shock and utter disappointment to discover that one of the heroes of my childhood had been reincarnated in the depressing shape of Michael Gove.
Despite completely ruining our education system (managing to make it worse than what it was under New Labour – which is some extraordinary feat), Michael Gove avoided political fatality through David Cameron’s rigorous voter-pleasing cabinet reshuffle by being expelled as Education Secretary and moved to the position of Conservative Chief Whip.
Now in his new job, Gove will be at the forefront of the Conservatives’ election campaign; strange, considering he’s one of the politicians most disliked by the British public. A worrying announcement from No.10 stated that people should: “expect to see a great deal of Michael Gove on TV and radio.” He’s obviously capable of amazing things; allowing people to actually see him through their radio.
Naturally, teachers and students alike are mostly overjoyed that Michael Gove has been fired – the Prime Minister finally showed his caring side and (although he hasn’t gone as far as giving hugs and handing out roses to all those affected) acted on the public’s concerns. But, as the tears of unbounded happiness subside, the realisation that Cameron’s motives were not so rosy begin to sink in.
He’s known for years that Gove’s changes have brought nothing but misery for those who have had to suffer them, so why wait until now to sack him? Could it having anything to do with a general election in 10 months' time? Well, yes, it could; and it’s Cameron’s vain hope that by next May everyone will have forgotten about Gove’s decisions. Therefore, the Prime Minister’s caning of Gove is nothing more than a desperate PR stunt.
It seems that the legacy of the immortal Michael Gove will live on for years to come. Indeed, Nicky Morgan is extremely unlikely to decide to rip up all of his reforms and start again – she’s going to stick with them until the bitter end. As are Labour - it’s worth pointing out - after Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt declared Gove’s reforms “successful” and also said: “I don't think you want to waste political energy on undoing reforms, that in certain situations build actually rather successfully on Labour Party policy.”
Consequently, celebrations for the exit of Michael Gove are futile. The impact of his changes are to remain unchallenged by whichever party wins next year’s election. And you can bet all of your dinner money that if the Conservatives succeed in staying in power for a second term, Michael Gove will be back as headmaster of the Department for Education, inflicting teachers and students alike to years in detention – because like the best baddies, he’ll be back.
By James Morris