Donald Macintyre's Sketch: It seems the class of 2013 could do better
Michael Gove is addicted to taunting post-New Labour about Tony Blair
Donald Macintyre writes political sketches for The Independent, having been Jerusalem correspondent since 2004, covering Israel and the Occupied Territories, as well as travelling for the paper to Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Libya and Egypt. As Political Editor and then Chief Political Commentator, he previously covered the John Major and early Tony Blair era. He has written for the Daily Express, Sunday Times, Times and Sunday Telegraph, and Sunday Correspondent. He is the author of Mandelson and the Making of New Labour (2000).
Tuesday 03 December 2013
A shock international comparison of educational attainment levels has shown that the UK is languishing in mid-table. Attainment among politicians, that is.
The first worrying evidence of this came when Boris Johnson, who last week made a point of how 16 per cent “of our species” have IQs under 85, failed to answer a brainteaser on LBC. No, Boris, “brown” is not the answer to “A man builds a house with four sides of rectangular construction each side with southern exposure. A bear comes along. What is the colour of the bear?” (It’s a polar bear because the house would have to be on the North Pole.)
Then Tristram Hunt complained that he had only received a copy of Michael Gove’s statement on the OECD figures “11 minutes” before he made it in the Commons. Come on, shadow Education Secretary, do you think a little thing like that would hold back a 15-year-old in South Korea?
Finally, Gove showed himself deficient in political history. He didn’t want a Royal Commission on the education system, because as “someone” had once said, “Royal Commissions take minutes and waste years”. Someone? Only Harold Wilson, Labour PM and four times election winner.
Gove may have been following the example of the man he today claimed as his model, Tony Blair, who rarely mentioned Wilson. Gove is addicted to taunting post-New Labour about Blair. He invited Labour’s Luciana Berger – “like me, a Blairite” – to condemn “the failed, leftist, National Union of Teachers orthodoxy.”
All told, not especially edifying. Hunt chided Gove for his “partisan approach” and was just as partisan back, accusing him of “throwing chum at his back-benchers”?. Hunt argued that the top rating of schools in Asia proved his point that you had to have qualified teachers; Gove countered that it showed head teachers had to have autonomy.
More tellingly, Hunt invited Gove to condemn the “unpleasant whiff of eugenics” in his potential leadership rival Boris Johnson’s lecture last week. Gove declined to do so, possibly confident that Boris was in enough trouble without any help from him.
Co-creator Mark Gatiss dropped some very intriguing hints ahead of the BBC drama's return next year
London 'needs affordable housing'
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 2 Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
- 3 Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
- 4 These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
- 5 Pastafarian former porn star Asia Lemmon allowed to wear colander in driving licence photo
Duchess of Alba dead: Billionaire Spanish duchess who lived life by her own rules, dies at 88
New York snowstorm: Death toll rises to 10 as residents battle with further snowfall
These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? And why has nobody taken legal action?
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'
G20 summit: David Cameron warns Vladimir Putin that Russia's relationship with the West is at a 'fork in the road' over Ukraine
£8 - £12 per hour: Recruitment Genius: To assist a young family with the care ...
£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Executive is required...
£55000 - £70000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world lead...
Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world leading services pr...