Simon Carr:

The Sketch: Michael Gove muscles in with a daring ambition

 

Share
Related Topics

He's looking bigger these days, Michael Gove. Deeper chest, broader shoulders. Maybe he's been through a Charles Atlas course in muscular Conservatism.

You can tell that he actually believes what he is saying. Perhaps even at a deeper level than Tony Blair. As long as he doesn't get hold of an army, we may be all right.

Announcing the return of O-levels, he told the House that the current education system has been one large crime against social justice. And he declared one daring ambition – possibly insane – that our children should compete with Singaporean children. Do the exams they do and be measured against them.

Nothing would show more clearly the true condition of our educational achievement. Kevin Brennan suggested the inevitable collapse in results was a conspiracy to "disguise a fall in attainment" following Tory education cuts. That may be too clever even for Gove.

The behaviour of the exam boards was denounced. True, it's a rare sighting of the beast called "market failure".

Brennan spoke derisively of "rote learning" (or "learning" as we used to call it) and an exam system which "divides children into winners and losers". As exams tend to do, when they are marked.

Gove tested opposition figures. They said 25 per cent would be left behind? Currently 40 per cent are left behind.

And as to Peter Lilley's call to build "esteem" in vocational qualifications – just publish what plumbers and electricians take home in cash and wages – the middle classes will go for the money and leave the esteem for those who need it.

NB: The demeanour of the Speaker must be recorded. There is an Early Day Motion deprecating Chris Bryant's use of the word "lied" last week, and how Speaker Bercow allowed it. There are 13 signatures on the EDM, at the time of writing and the total is climbing. Bercow was therefore calling his right-wing critics with warm, indulgent geniality in his voice. He should be told: it nauseates them.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Appointment Maker / Telesales

£15000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading supplie...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Field Sales Executive - Dereham

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organisation is proud to b...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Field Sales Executive - OTE £30,000

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organisation is proud to b...

Recruitment Genius: Audit Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Graduate Opportunities are available at a lead...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Conservative MP Louise Mensch has made enemies in high places through her fearless pursuit of the hacking scandal  

Thank heavens for Louise Mensch and her foul-mouthed tweets to world leaders

Grace Dent
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London  

When rents are so high that you have to share a bed with a stranger, surely the revolution can’t be far off

Grace Dent
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project