How Michael Gove passed his biggest test


No Coalition minister receives more sycophantic press coverage than Michael Gove. And few Westminster journalists can be more relied upon to propagandize for the government than James Forsyth, the well-briefed Political Editor of The Spectator. His Mail on Sunday column today gushes about the "determined" Education Secretary: "By June, relations between the [Nick Clegg] Deputy Prime Minister and the Education Secretary were at a low ebb. Clegg was outraged when he learnt from the press that Gove’s department wanted to scrap GCSEs and announced he would veto the idea. This made Gove, previously one of the most ardent Tory defenders of the Coalition, despondent about its ability to tackle big, thorny problems."

Then he goes on: "Gove was hurt that Clegg dismissed the idea out of hand,  seeing this as a breach of the reformist spirit that he believed had to underpin the Coalition. The Liberal Democrat opposition seemed so implacable that Tory strategists added introducing new exams to the list of things they would do once they were shot of their Coalition partners. But the two men will hold a press conference on Tuesday to announce the Coalition is getting rid of GCSEs after all. The aim is to replace this devalued exam with a far more demanding one. As well as changing the face of education in this country, this will, in the words of one senior Lib Dem, be a ‘big proalition moment’ – a sign of how the two parties have returned to working constructively together. The compromise is the product of exhaustive talks between Clegg and Gove, which began in July."