Tag Archives: michael gove

Michael Gove is Britain’s environmental champion – no one is more surprised than me

In yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph, Michael Gove sets out his plans for an environmental watchdog post-Brexit. As education secretary under David Cameron, he was seen as a career hungry politician willing to risk quality education in a drive to create academies, open creationist schools and dictate what was taught in lessons. He was marginally better as Justice Secretary, but not much. Now, he is well on the road to becoming Britain’s leading environmental champion.

This is not the first conversion on the environmental road to Damascus but it could be one of the most important.

It is even more surprising because Defra …

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Is this why there is no rush to make Boris Johnson Prime Minister?

Theresa v Boris: How May became PM is highly recommended viewing. It’s available for the next ten days on BBC iPlayer. Made for BBC2, it is an attractive mix of key player interviews, contemporaneous news footage and dramatised scenes.

Theresa May is played very well indeed by Jacqueline King (who I might gratuitously point out is well known to the legions of Lib Dem Doctor Who fans!) and Boris is captured brilliantly by Will Barton, even though his hair and nose make him look more like Michael Fabricant.

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LibLink: Recalling Michael Gove is an act of environmental vandalism – Ed Davey

In an article in The Guardian Ed Davey writes:

Perhaps Theresa May has a sense of mischief after all. Putting Michael Gove in charge of the Department of the Environment is much like putting a wolf in charge of the chicken coop. To say that the Gove pulse is unlikely to race too much faster over environmental concerns would, from my experience of working with him, be an understatement. He probably regards global warming as an excuse to reduce winter fuel payments.

May bringing in her old enemy demonstrates her crippling weakness. This desperate attempt to buy off those who might bring her down may help her own survival for another few months. Sadly, it will do nothing to help the survival of the planet.

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Gove governing Defra is a bad move for the environment

Michael Gove now oversees environmental policy, food, farming and fisheries. His arrival in the cabinet is part of Theresa May’s struggle to avert a leadership bid. More than ever, we need an independent government-backed assessor for the environment, biodiversity and wildlife.

Politically, we live in curious times with no certainty that the government will be stable or strong enough to survive the Brexit process. Theresa May has reappointed most of her pre-election cabinet, but she moved Andrea Leadsom from Defra to become Leader of the House of Commons. Michael Gove has been brought back to cabinet as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. We have gone from a barely noticed Defra Secretary to one that will crave attention by swinging a wrecking ball through environmental regulation.

Andrea Leadsom was a climate change sceptic and even asked Defra officials whether climate change is real. Apparently convinced by them that it was, she nevertheless supported shale gas extraction through fracking. She also backed foxhunting and selling off forests.

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“A slightly erratic grip on the truth sometimes….” Who was Nick Clegg talking about

An interesting interview with Nick Clegg appears on the Huffington Post. Watch the video clips here to find out his views on Russia, the dynamics of President Trump and what he refers to as “Brexit by Daily Mail.”

He also outlines what he would have brought to the Remain campaign and is pretty caustic about George Osborne and David Cameron.

The answer to the question in the headline is Michael Gove, most recently pictured doing a very obsequious thumbs up next to Donald Trump. Listen to find out what else Nick thinks the two have in common.

And, of course, his well …

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Tim Farron on Gove’s interview with Trump

 

I expect that many of you will, like me, feel slightly sickened by Michael Gove’s interview of Donald Trump for The Times. Private Eye has a word for it…

Tim Farron has given a robust response:

Michael Gove has had a rare opportunity to put questions to the most divisive and reactionary President Elect in modern history and all we get is a puff piece from a clearly admiring fan.

In the same interview Trump told a German newspaper that NATO is obsolete, it will make for a more dangerous world if this view is strong enough for him to turn down his invite to this year’s summit.

This president warns that helping refugees, saving people escaping the horrors of war, is a bad idea and instead we should be lifting sanctions on Putin despite him backing Assad. This is a man lacking a moral compass who is about to be inaugurated as the President.

He has picked environmental protection and the desire to show compassion to the most needy as good reasons to leave Europe.”

I don’t know the shape of the Europe that Trump dreams of but I know it frightens me.

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What next Mr. Gove? Martians flooding your A&E departments?

 

It is always useful to know what you’re talking about when invoking possible EU expansions in any debate about Europe and European membership.

  • The Dutch army and society were traumatized when poor UN organization and a British/French/American No Bombing deal forced our DutchBat soldiers to witness helplessly how a Serbian massacre got underway at Srebrenica in 1994. The Dutch have been taking extra attention of Balkan goings on ever since.
  • Inside the past year, Erdogan has first interned and then expelled (or: allowed to slip away) two critical Dutch journalists working from Turkey. The first was Mrs. Geerdink, an expert on Turkish-Kurdish relations working from Diarbakir (Turkish Kurdistan); the second was the Dutch & Turkish columnist Ebru Umar staying with her Turkish parents in a sea resort. The Dutch governments have been closely involved in all kinds of talks about Turkey joining the EU since the formal EU procedure for that was started around 2005; that is because like Germany, we have a substantial segment of Dutch citizens from Turkish descent (holding obligatory Turkish passports as well, and voting in Turkish elections).
Posted in Op-eds | 6 Comments

Why IDS is still in his job is revealing of Conservative attitudes to social security

Iain Duncan SmithWhen Andrew Lansley’s health reforms ran into trouble – and his inability to take with him the public or those working in the NHS proved toxic – David Cameron reshuffled him out of harm’s way. Jeremy Hunt was brought in to make nice to the health sector and patients.

When Michael Gove’s education reforms started to run before they could walk – and his inability to take with him the public or the teachers proved toxic, especially in marginal constituencies – David Cameron reshuffled him out of harm’s way. Nicky …

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Clegg on schools, post-Gove: “We need to reset the relationship”

clegg - tardisNick Clegg has used a major interview in the TES magazine to signal a turning of the page in the Coalition Government’s relationship with teachers following the removal of Michael Gove from the Department for Education.

Clegg on Gove’s departure:

“It’s an open secret that Michael Gove and I did not agree on a number of important substantive issues … It’s an opportunity to turn a page on the somewhat acrimonious relationship that existed between the government – and the Department for Education in particular – and a number of teachers,” he said. “We need to reset the relationship. Not, I should stress, by summarily abandoning all government policy or reforms, but first and foremost by ensuring that, where there is debate and discussion between the teaching profession and government, it is conducted in a spirit and tone of mutual respect. And that we seek out every opportunity to celebrate, and not always seek to denigrate, the fantastic work that teachers do.”

Clegg on the teachers’ strikes:

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Clegg refused to speak to Gove “for months”, told Cameron “life is too short” to continue rowing

Nick Clegg Q&A 19That’s the claim in today’s Independent:

Nick Clegg has refused to speak to Michael Gove “for months”, according to a source close to the Deputy Prime Minister, revealing the extent of the breakdown at the heart of the coalition.

Mr Clegg was involved in a number of vicious stand-offs with Mr Gove over his unpopular, reformist agenda before his shock demotion from Education Secretary to Chief Whip in last week’s reshuffle. The row escalated after the Lib Dems forced through a free school meals policy for five- and

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Michael Gove: The Case for the Defence. And also the Case for the Prosecution.

Michael GoveUnlike most Lib Dems, I am not a Gove-hater. But nor do I share the adulation those one on the Right bestow upon him. The man we must now call the former Education secretary was more complex than his critics allowed and more flawed than his fans admitted.

No-one should doubt Michael Gove’s passion for schools reform, nor his sincerity. For him it is much more than political: it is also personal. Two men have shaped much of the education agenda in the last 15 years: Gove and Labour’s Andrew Adonis, …

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“What should the political parties promise on education in 2015?” – What I told Policy Exchange…

stephen tall px edu
I was one of the speakers at this weekend’s Policy Exchange conference which posed the question, ‘What should the political parties promise on education in 2015?’

Though I work in the education sector, I was there in a personal capacity to offer a Lib Dem perspective; very kindly Policy Exchange had invited Michael Gove and Tristram Hunt as warm-up acts for my seven minutes. You can watch what I had to say in the video at the foot of this post, starting at 2 mins in, or just read on… (If you check against delivery you’ll see I’ve tidied up some of my sentences, such as self-censoring my request to the

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Gove and Laws write for Times: We are committed to free school meals policy because evidence shows it helps kids achieve more

20120907-FNS-LSC-0544On his various media appearances this morning, Nick Clegg has been asked whether he ordered Michael Gove and David Laws to write an article setting out the background to the free school meals policy. He  said on Call Clegg that he had suggested it to them that they clarify the situation to reassure parents that the policy will be delivered on time.

This comes after a febrile few days when Dominic Cummings, Gove’s former Special Adviser, has been telling everyone who will listen that this was a policy drawn up pretty much …

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Fraser Nelson’s must-read guide to utterly and completely misunderstanding the Lib Dems’ Coalition strategy

Fraser Nelson has written a must-read guide to utterly and completely misunderstanding the Lib Dems’ Coalition strategy today. My guess is he’s reliant on Tory intelligence, which in this case is an oxymoron.

Much of it is the usual half-fair/half-unfair admixture of insults regularly thrown at the Lib Dems by the right-wing media. We are, says Fraser, “a hodge-podge of a party defined by its lack of definition”, “conservative in Somerset and socialist in Solihull” (has he met Lorely Burt?). Unlike the Conservatives, of course, where the small-l-liberal outlook of Ken Clarke and Nick Boles dovetails perfectly with the …

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It’s Laws v Gove again as Lib Dem schools minister says academy chains should be accountable to Ofsted

‘It’s civil war in the Coalition classroom’ – that’s how the Independent bills the latest row between those two very civil politicians running the education department, Conservative secretary of state Michael Gove and Lib Dem schools minister David Laws.

I wrote at the weekend about the first spat, which erupted after Michael Gove’s decision to sack Baroness (Sally) Morgan as chair of Ofsted for doing too good a job – at least, that seemed to be the gist of his argument, as he praised her to the skies for her “superlative” work before saying it was time for a …

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Gove and Laws scrap it out on front pages over sacking of Ofsted head. Here’s what the row is all about.

Today’s newspaper front pages are full of the scrap taking place at the heart of the Department for Education between Conservative secretary of state Michael Gove and Lib Dem schools minister David Laws:

gove laws - papers

  • Ofsted row: Lib Dems furious at Conservative plan to ‘politicise’ classrooms (Independent on Sunday)
  • Lib Dems savage Gove over sacked schools boss (The Sunday Times, £)
  • Angry Lib Dems accuse Michael Gove of bid to politicise education (Observer)
  • Why is there a row?

    On Friday night, The Independent broke the news that Baroness (Sally) Morgan, the Labour

    Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 28 Comments

    Opinion: A letter to Michael Gove

    Dear Michael,

    I hope this finds you well.

    A confession.

    Unlike Paxman, I’m a fan.

    You’re an unusual Tory with unusual origins. And your passion to change education is laudable.

    The 1960s Crosland reforms, implemented by your mentor Mrs Thatcher, were supposed to promote social mobility. The reality is mixed. Overall literacy and numeracy have improved. Higher education has become more accessible across class, gender and race.

    But this has come at a cost. Some think general mediocrity is better than a few attaining excellence while the majority attain little. I think it’s still mediocrity. Employers lament school-leavers’ inadequate skills. Our performance in the Pisa education …

    Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 23 Comments

    Opinion: Politicians should keep out of history debates

    Michael GoveMichael Gove’s intervention into the complex historical debate over the First World War was as bizarre as it was ignorant. Gove attacked ‘left wing historians’ for promoting the Blackadder (a satirical sitcom, not, unless I am mistaken, a documentary) viewpoint that thousands of young Brits were consigned to an early grave by an out of touch elite. The issue with Gove’s comments weren’t his interpretation of history, which is certainly arguable, but the idea that history and commemoration should be used to score political points.

    It is the diversity of opinions and interpretations within historical scholarship which makes it such an interesting and enriching subject. One does not have to be a Marxist politically to appreciate the contribution Marxist historians have made to historical study, rather, these historians make up a small part of a multiplicity of opinions based on rigorous historical research.

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 77 Comments

    Telegraph: Clegg and Cameron have to intervene in “daily” Coalition rows

    The Telegraph has a story today that is rather perplexingly filed under “news” but seems like a summary of what we knew already.

    David Cameron and Nick Clegg spend a “disproportionate” amount of their time attempting to resolve rows in the Home Office and Department for Education, in particular, sources said.

    Disagreements have also affected policy-making inside the Department for Energy and Climate Change, while rows between Lib Dem and Tory ministers from different departments are a frequent feature of government life, sources said.

    The difference in tone between the two sources quoted is interesting. The Tory source is snarky as anything:

    It’s

    Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 11 Comments

    David Laws writes… Nick Clegg and I have always been clear that Free Schools must also be fair schools

    On Thursday this week, Nick Clegg will set out the Liberal Democrat approach to improving standards in schools.

    He will set out what parents and pupils should expect from schools. This is an issue we have worked on together for some time, and which was debated and agreed at our party’s conference this Spring.

    The Liberal Democrats are instinctive supporters of freedom, diversity and choice. We believe in giving schools more autonomy and teachers more freedom.

    That’s why we have supported extra powers to innovate for free schools and academies and have taken steps in government to extend autonomy for all schools. We …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 31 Comments

    Nice try, George. But the Pupil Premium is happening only because the Lib Dems are in government

    Osborne -  Some rights reserved by altogetherfoolWho has made sure the Pupil Premium is being delivered in Government? Pretty straightforward question, you might think: the Liberal Democrats. Not if you’re George Osborne, though…

    “I sit at that Cabinet table and I know who has really put forward the policies that are delivering a fairer society. The pupil premium to support the most disadvantaged children: that was Michael Gove’s idea, front and centre of the last Conservative manifesto.” (30 Sept 2013)

    Erm… okay, George. Let’s take those two claims in order.

    Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 10 Comments

    Opinion: Performance related pay for teachers: does it drive up standards?

    Michael Gove’s most recent big idea to improve the teaching profession takes the form of performance related pay. Like many of Gove’s big ideas it has incensed teachers. But it’s also a populist move. One poll estimated that 61% of voters backed the idea. But will it improve teaching standards?

    The evidence for performance related pay leading to improving standards in education is inconclusive. Literature shows no causal relationship between performance related pay and standards and results vary enormously depending on the context. In India one study showed that “after controlling for student ability, parental background and the resources available …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 33 Comments

    Stephen Lloyd MP writes…Break point for Religious Education

    Watching Andy Murray storm to victory over Novak Djokovic on centre court, I couldn’t help drawing some unlikely parallels with one of my own passions – the plight of religious education.

    Like Andy Murray, RE has suffered from outdated perceptions. In Murray’s case an off-the-cuff comment to a tabloid journalist in 2006 unfairly implanted the perception of a grumpy, vehemently anti-English Scotsman in the eyes of millions.

    RE has suffered from a similar misrepresentation. Some people would like you to believe that the subject is about indoctrination and teaching young people to be religious. Often these views are simply outdated, stemming from …

    Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 27 Comments

    Opinion: Changes for the Better – LibDem wins on the new National Curriculum

    schoolsign“I still have serious reservations about it, but it’s a whole lot better than when Gove originally launched the consultation” – a headteacher friend summing up his feelings about the newly announced National Curriculum for schools. We know, behind the scenes, just how the Liberal Democrats in the Coalition have influenced some of the most significant changes. It’s time to let your teacher and parent friends know the difference the LibDems have made.

    One big win is that this new curriculum is so much shorter than Labour’s (468 to 224 pages). The history curriculum has been rewritten to include local and world history, and to recognise diversity. Speaking and Listening are back in the English curriculum. Creativity is stressed in Art, Music and Drama, and Design has been rewritten to include a broader range of industrial applications.

    Primary schools can now choose the foreign language they wish to teach – or even look at several languages. Climate change has been returned to the Geography curriculum. Biodiversity and seasonality of food and produce are added to the curriculum for the first time.

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

    Opinion: Does the School Food Plan really ban packed lunches?

    school mealsIf you’re an independent person involved in writing a report for Government, I offer some advice. Take a holiday for the week after the report’s published. Somewhere remote. Ideally without internet.

    How else to avoid your blood-pressure shooting through the roof as the media – both social and traditional – ignore 99% of your work and misrepresent the rest?

    For the latest example, look no further than the School Food Plan, a 149 page practical guide to improving the health and attainment of young people by improving their diet in …

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    Farron asks Gove to put mental health on the school curriculum

    Last Friday a new charity, providing online counselling to teenagers with mental health issues, launched in London. Mindfull, run by the team behind BeatBullying, built the service after feedback young people themselves. We’re talking about a third of our young people either self-harming or contemplating suicide because they are feeling so bad. The case stories in the report give some idea of how that feels:

    Jessica was 14 when she started to feel very down. She didn’t tell anyone about the way she was feeling until she was 15, and even though she started to have suicidal thoughts it took

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    Schools for profit? Not on my watch, says Nick Clegg

    From today’s Independent:

    Nick Clegg vowed today to veto any move by the Conservatives to allow academies and free schools to become profit-making businesses.

    The Deputy Prime Minister intervened after The Independent revealed that Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, is considering plans to redraw the rules to allow the schools to use hedge funds and venture capitalists to raise money.

    The Liberal Democrats will block any moves to change the rules before the 2015 general election.  During the election campaign, Mr Clegg’s party will claim that they acted as a brake on the Tories inside the Coalition.  “We will say we stopped

    Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 3 Comments

    A free-for-all on school term dates?

    schoolsignMichael Gove has had another ‘good idea’, produced without any reference to the professionals who will have to implement it, nor to the general public who will have to work around it. This time he is keen to allow all schools to set their own term dates, in line with the freedom already granted to academies and free schools.

    It sounds like a superficial change, but those of us who have examined the issue in depth know that the implications could be far greater than you might imagine.

    Some eight years ago I attended a series of meetings of councillors who, like me, held education portfolios in London boroughs.  Our aim was to co-ordinate school term dates across the whole of London, and, wherever possible, with the surrounding counties, and we did achieve that.  At the same time we looked at patterns of terms, considering some quite radical alternatives, such as six or seven equal length terms, with a shorter break in the summer.

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 30 Comments

    Clegg leadership plot: Gove’s ‘crazy grenade’ detonates, briefly, before Tories revert to arguing about Europe

    Hats off to Mr Gove! With the Tory party in its customary state of internecine warfare over Europe, the education secretary used his interview this morning on The Andrew Marr Show to allege a leadership plot to overthrow Nick Clegg. Here’s PoliticsHome’s account:

    Michael Gove has suggested Nick Clegg’s opposition to increasing childminders-toddlers ratio is due to an internal Liberal Democrat plot to unseat him as leader.

    Mr Clegg said last week that he was “yet to be persuaded” by the case for allowing staff to look after more children.

    However Mr Gove today said the reforms, which were defended by

    Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 32 Comments

    Opinion: Three flaws in the Government’s education reforms

    One of the things that seems to characterise Tory ministers in this government is a remarkable attraction to putting ideology and an assumption that they know best ahead of little details like “facts” and “evidence based policy”.

    A good example of this comes in the form of Michael Gove’s education reforms which have been characterised by a breathtaking disregard for decades of research into what works and an aversion to listening to anything or anyone who disagrees with the reforms.

    Nevertheless, I’d like to highlight the following facts about education. It would be nice if he paid attention:

    Starting maths early damages educational

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 45 Comments
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