Chalk Talk: Politics? It's just like 'Game of Thrones', says Michael Gove


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To the annual Brighton College conference, where the leading private school usually attracts the great and the good in education to address the assembled ranks of, mainly, private school heads. This year was a slight exception, though, as only Michael Gove represented the world of education. Other speakers ranged from Max Mosley, the former Formula One boss now campaigning for more press accountability in the wake of a bruising encounter with the News of the World, to former Cabinet minister and ex-con Jonathan Aitken.

Hugh Grant was also invited to attend, but, much to the chagrin of many of the pupils at the college, and possibly the female teaching staff, he had to pull out.

What might be slightly worrying is the enthusiasm that Mr Gove – in fireside chat mode in a question-and-answer session with the heads – showed for Game of Thrones. "The best representation of political life you get anywhere is Game of Thrones," he enthused. It was, he added, "an uncanny representation of Westminster life".

To the uninitiated, it is an extremely gory drama in which characters use mass murder to get what they want and further their power. Any similarity between it and Prime Minister's Questions is coincidental.

Mr Gove was introduced by Richard Cairns, head of Brighton College. He recalled being in a pub in Brighton, where he overheard someone declaring that they "loved Michael Gove" and that "a heated argument then took place".

Presumably, this conversation could not have taken place during the Easter weekend, when hundreds of delegates from the National Union of Teachers descended on Brighton for their annual conference.

* During a tirade against the tabloids, Mr Mosley took a sideswipe at Paul Dacre for what he described as a "particularly over the top attack" on him. He described him, though, as the editor of the News of the World. Mr Dacre is, of course, the editor of the Daily Mail. Perhaps they should stick to the world of education for their speakers next time.