The Confidence of Michael Gove

New Labour’s micromanaging
They’re dotting every i
“Leave teaching to the teachers”
Is the opposition cry -
Until they come to power
And then they join the queue;
“I’ll tell you what we need,” says Gove,
“Curriculum Review.
Remember top-down changes?
You pour, and we’ll say when.
We knocked it under Labour
But here we go again.
It won’t be heavy-handed
Light framework is the style
But no, it isn’t ready yet
And it could take a while.
The schools will need our guidance
To complete what we begin
Except, of course, academies
Who’ll throw it in the bin.”

Gove raced in post-election
He hit the ground full pelt
He couldn’t wait to ask about
What anybody felt.
He scrapped the building programme
Judge said “abuse of power”
But this man’s on a mission
And he’s going to seize the hour.
Freedom of information
Makes everything go slow
He uses private e-mails
So the bastards never know.
“Academy’s the answer
We’ll set the teachers free
And if they don’t do what they’re told
They’re answerable to me.”
He gives himself more powers,
And uses terror laws.
To fill the vacuum of control
That arrogance abhors.
If schools think they’re improving
It isn’t fast enough
He can’t afford to hang about
He’s going to play it rough.
“Get parents in the classroom
To check what’s going on
If teachers are incompetent
Just tell me – they’ll be gone.
All those who criticise me
Are left wing ideologues
They’re clinging on to failure
And their standard is the bogs.”

What is this blueprint based on?
Exactly what’s the plan?
Don’t blur your mind with evidence
Remember – Gove’s the man.
He’s radical, he’s sexy,
He’s brutal and he’s bright,
His mission is to change the world
At twice the speed of light.
What will the landscape look like
When Gove has done his worst?
A level field of excellence
Or a battlefield cursed?
There’s teachers, governors, parents
With worries on their mind:
What of the gaps and casualties
The juggernaut leaves behind?
The powers Gove’s acquired
Gives academics pause:
A future tyrant might exploit
These overarching laws.
“You fail to grasp the benefits
That my reforms will bring.
By the time I’ve made things perfect
No-one will change a thing.”
This is no time for fainting hearts
There is no room for doubt
The power of his righteousness
Will sort the whole thing out.
The right wing Tories think he’s great
The best there’s been for years
They know the future’s bright ahead
When the smoke of battle clears.
No matter if it doesn’t work
No matter if we’re skint
There’ll be a ton of chances
For firms to make a mint.

A chunky grant, five hundred grand
For free schools – don’t ask why -
went to his ex-adviser;
No others need apply.
One group provides security guards
That most schools can’t afford
To help protect the Jewish kids
And Gove is on their board.
In power, he gives them contracts
For a cool two million quid
And then some cheeky journalist
Must question what he did.
“There’s no conflicting interest”
His trusty spokesmen say.
“How dare you raise such trivial points
On National Holocaust Day?”

With rampant homophobia
Response is much less quick
There’s Christian booklets in the schools
Which say all gays are sick.
“Equality legislation”
The minister decrees
“Does not affect currriculum.”
The union disagrees
But they don’t have the power
And Gove’s the man who pays
So it’s luchre for security guards
And nothing for the gays.

It’s rentaquote, it’s motormouth
He’s always on the go,
The only thing Gove never says is
“Sorry, I don’t know.”
The rioters should be boy scouts,
Let’s buy the Queen a yacht,
Vocational qualifications
Are rubbish - scrap the lot.
There’s cuts but he keeps spending,
A genius can’t be mean
Pay English Heritage to mark
The British History Scene.
“Read Dryden, have a Bible,
Go on, they’ll all be free
If only kids today could be
A little more like me.”

Back in the 1990s
A writer for the Times
Is praising Rupert Murdoch
And covering up his crimes.
“A godfather of mischief”
Writes this slithy little tove;
You guessed - the author of this phrase
Is bright-eyed Michael Gove.
He writes his column every week
For sixty grand a year
And he’s working on his image
So he’s happy to appear.
You can watch him on the telly
So plausible and wise
The angel intellectual
Is a demon in disguise.
Late Night Review’s a programme
At which most Tories baulk
But Gove has got the patter,
He’s learnt to talk the Wark.
He even got a contract
To write a history book
Took the advance and spent it;
You’ll never get a look
At anything he’s written
He’s far too busy now
But he knows who his friends are
And he backs them anyhow.

Now he’s at Education
Relationships are warm
With Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks,
Plotting their reform.
There’s loads of meals and briefings,
Gove’s hyper, on a roll,
Attracted by the magnate
Who has money and control.
At Docklands, near the airport
They plan a brand new school
Where online education
Will be the golden rule.
Murdoch’s hired a guru,
Ideas man Joel Klein
Who hates the school establishment
And Gove thinks that’s just fine.
He boosts him in his speeches,
Looks forward to the day
When Murdoch gets the profits that
Are due to come his way.
“IT in schools is boring
So we’ll change it overnight
And I know just the business
That will help to put it right.”
But when the hacking scandal
Makes socialists rejoice
The minister is loyal,
He’s still his master’s voice.

He knocks the Leveson hearings
“We’re quick to carp these days -
The owner of the Sunday Sun
Deserves our thanks and praise.
Forget the bribes and blackmail,
The peddling of smut,
We need a superhero
To lift us from the rut
Of boring ticking over,
Of always being the same.
It’s Murdoch’s special magic that
Will help us raise our game
From ordinary to special
From darkness into light.
He says I have his confidence
That’s why I’m sure I’m right.”

9.3.12