Estelle Morris was never a big hitter. How could an unassuming PE teacher from Coventry ever hope to be a superhead, let alone light Alistair Campbell’s fire? Her departure from office was a typical Blair era tragedy – she felt obliged to resign because of a bet made by her macho predecessor, that he could produce a magical improvement in test scores, which never actually arrived.
So it’s entirely fitting that Morris should provide a more telling indictment of Michael Gove than anything the Labour front bench has achieved in the last twelve months. A typically calm, patient article, tucked away in Education Guardian, details how the English educational system faces two key crises – in the provision of school places, and the training of teachers. It may come as news to Gove that we don’t pay him to recommend Dryden, tweak the details of black history or promote academies. We pay him to maintain the system, and in this he has dismally failed. He didn’t try and failed; he didn’t even try. Maybe he thought the market would provide, but he disclaimed responsibility for planning the future, and we’re all going to suffer as a result.