The image of Michael “Oiky” Gove that he and his pals in the press love to cultivate is one of exceptional good manners and courteousness, that he is someone who does not indulge in all those personal attacks, would not dream of sinking to the level of those who oppose him. What this picture does not paint is the motley convocation of polecats, attack dogs and abuse merchants who do that sort of thing for him.
Yes, "Oiky", you've been rumbled
This highly original way of doing business was illustrated excellently after Gove’s claim that “his father’s firm ‘went to the wall’ because of the EU’s fisheries policies, and that the common fisheries policy ‘destroyed’ it” was debunked … by his father. Ernest Gove came clean in response to an enquiry from the Guardian’s Severin Carrell.
The real story was that “he had sold the business voluntarily because the fishing industry in Aberdeen was being hit by a range of different factors. Those included competition for space in the port from North Sea oil vessels, the Icelandic cod wars, dockworkers’ strikes and new 200-mile limits [around Iceland and Norway] to control over-fishing”.
It got worse: the Guardian, while also telling readers that Gove’s father would be backing the Leave campaign, noted “Gove Sr said he was now nearly 80 and could not remember when he had sold the family firm. Michael Gove told reporters on Monday that it had happened while he was sitting his school exams. That timescale puts its closure in the early to mid-1980s - before strict fishing quotas were introduced under the CFP”.
In other words, Gove’s father blames the EU for the collapse of the Aberdeen fishing industry, but EU fishing quotas did not force the sale of his business. Gove had been caught over-egging his pudding, as well as avoiding the real issue behind imposition of quotas - the decades of over-fishing that had started many years before Britain joined what was then the EEC. But rather than admit he had fibbed, Gove’s pals went on the attack.
Euro Guido, one of many Twitter accounts under the control of the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, told of “Remainers new lies today: false claims about Gove's father”, but the Guardian has released the transcript of the conversation between Severin Carrell and Ernest Gove. (Thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch went a lot further, and was considerably more dishonest.
“The Guardian are lying. Disgusting and sick. NOTHING Ernest Gove said to them contradicts Michael Gove … The first paragraph is not contradicted by the second paragraph. Apologise for these filthy lies Guardian … Disgraceful. The Guardian editor who lied about what Ernest said should resign”. Gove himself has said in his courteous but dishonest manner that the Guardian “put words into” his father’s mouth. They did not.
Michael Gove twisted the available facts to fit his prejudices. He got caught. The reason the Outers are so upset about it is that Gove is being presented as a straight and honest politician, which he is not, and never has been. He got rumbled. End of story.