While the @toryeducation Twitter feed is kept busy spinning away criticism from those who are actually interested in education – rather than personal attacks and smear campaigns – it comes clear from a little background reading that there is already enough evidence available to show that Education Secretary Michael “Oiky” Gove and his pals have been indulging in some highly questionable practices.
And here we have his most fervent supporters to thank, especially Spectator editor Fraser Nelson, who told in a Telegraph piece how Gove by-passes the civil service: “Baroness Thatcher relied on the Centre for Policy Studies ... Iain Duncan Smith uses the Centre for Social Justice ... Gove uses the New Schools Network”. Why, thank you for that outburst of candour, Mr N.
That would be the New Schools Network which was bunged £500,000 by Gove’s department, is run by a former colleague, and, to quote the deeply subversive Guardian, “No other organisation was asked to bid for the work, which was not publicly advertised”. And Gove fan Fraser Nelson says Gove is using this supposed charity to by-pass his own department.
The Speccy has also helpfully demonstrated how Gove’s SpAds routinely leak information for political purposes: when representatives from Unions ATL and ASCL were invited to Gove’s department to talk policy and gave a presentation, the content was almost immediately leaked to the Spectator, along with the appropriately hostile line to take in response.
One of the participants protested at the flagrant breach of confidentiality, which drew a response from Dominic Cummings of roughly “Can’t have been me as I wasn’t there, so what, someone once leaked something to the Guardian, you’re all rubbish anyway because I was meeting Oxbridge professors”. This correspondence, too, was immediately leaked to the Spectator.
Add to that the assertion by @toryeducation that a departmental restructure was undertaken by James Frayne, who was not a civil service manager but a political appointee, and the stench should by now be overpowering. And, as the man said, there’s more: Cummings was given a Parliamentary pass while at the New Schools Network, and broke the rules in not declaring his employment there.
That last revelation was made by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which helps to explain why so many on the right have been so eager to lay into it after the McAlpine affair. But it is principally Gove’s cheerleaders at the Spectator whose behaviour has been both reprehensible, and revelatory. Thanks to Fraser Nelson, we now know just how principled and professional “Oiky” and his pals really are.
And that is, roughly, not at all. Many thanks to the Speccy folks for their honesty.