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Sunday 14 February 2010

No Strength in Depth

A confession: on occasion, politicians irritate me. Some of them irritate me a great deal, and on today’s Andy Marr Show one of the greatest irritants has been given his say: Tory schools spokesman Michael Gove.

Gove is proof positive that Team Cameron has very little strength in depth: he lacks the charisma, presence and persuasiveness of his boss. His performance before Marr was less than convincing, being conflated from demonising a series of dog whistle targets.

The gallery of Gove’s villains was boringly predictable: quangos, lack of choice, lack of suitably rigorous teaching, the spectre of “Auguste” Balls, planning laws, and the suggestion that adopting other countries’ models will solve all problems.

The country that Gove wants to emulate is Sweden, but then he also enjoyed bringing up the example of Canada as somewhere that has managed to deal with budget cuts. Unfortunately, he failed to explain that the Canadian Government managed to cut budgets so easily because it pushed much of the responsibility down to individual states.

And, unless the Tories are really about localism, that isn’t about to happen here.

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