Just a brief note on this guy. He’s in the news for claiming that the EU destroyed his Dad’s fishing business, when it didn’t. I was interested to learn that his father was in fishing; I always thought Gove’s face looked like a cod’s, which of course – as I was told when I tried to mention it in a newspaper article – is grossly unfair comment.
What gets me about Gove is his reputation as a bit of an intellectual, on the grounds, I believe, that he has ‘big’ ideas, and used to be a Times leader-writer. His speaking manner is very measured and certain, which seems to confirm this. In fact, whenever he pontificates on historical matters that I know something about, he is almost always wrong. The first time I noticed this was in his evidence to the Leveson committee on the press, where he tried to claim that the British press had always been as bad as it was said to have turned after Murdoch – and therefore always must be. (See below: https://bernardjporter.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/the-decline-of-the-british-media/.) The second was when he told us he thought that accounts of the First World War taught in schools should be more heroic than they tended to be: in order to make the next generation ‘prouder’ of Britain. He especially castigated Blackadder Goes Forth. Anyone who has studied the ‘Great’ War in any detail knows that in fact Blackadder hit the spot pretty well.
During the current Referendum debate his contributions have been no more ‘intellectual’. He’s just as likely as any of the other main participants (on both sides) to twist his facts to fit his arguments. That’s not ‘intellectualism’; it’s prostituting one’s intellect (and Gove undoubtedly has one of those) for propaganda purposes. But then what more would you expect from an ex-leader writer on Murdoch’s Times?
More on the Referendum later.
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Yes, Gove has a grandiose manner of public speech, no doubt developed at the Oxford Union together with the loss of his Scottish accent, and perhaps based on hours of listening to the recorded speeches of Winston Churchill. (ditto Boris Johnson). A speaking style encouraged by the House of Commons and more suitable for a public meeting c.1920 than a TV studio. He appears to be a buffoon, but somehow is regarded on the right as an intellectual.