Remember the days when Gove used to passionately defend every last part of his policies? When he used to whip statistics out of his sleeve about kids in Shanghai, and then camp it up with a French Lesbian poem before berating some poor teacher who recently taught equations through the medium of mime? I miss that Gove. He wasn’t at committee today.
The reason I miss him is because Gove’s strength has never been detail but he was (almost?) forgiveable for being a person who was at least trying to *do* something. Love it or hate it, misguided or otherwise, there was at least energy and a willingness to engage with important issues. Instead, today we got a Gove who was admittedly handed a series of rather bitty questions but instead of engaging, he practically shrugged. On my count he said “I’ll write to you” at least six times (that’s short for “I don’t know but I’ll get a minion to find out”) and there was a lot of mention of other people – Edward Timpson, David Laws, Michael Wilshaw, Charlie Taylor. The impression became clear that these are the guys Gove thinks are actually doing stuff. Which can only leave one wondering what his own time is being spent on?