Gove is gone but his legacy is in safe hands.
For a man who has had an online game dedicated to slapping him millions of times, it is something of an achievement that Michael Gove has lasted as long as he has.
Derided by teachers and the butt of jokes over his condemnation of strike action despite his union past (he was a member of the NUJ and took part in a strike), Gove it seems could not weather the final storm.
During the recent public sector strikes, Gove, rather than the prime minister, was the focal point for hatred and ridicule.
He has been an important fall guy for the prime minister, taking the flak over education ‘reforms’ as well as a friend of Cameron’s prior to parliament and a close ideological and political ally in cabinet.
There have been rumours about leadership challenges to David Cameron, possibly from Gove himself, but this reshuffle is about being seen to be changing things, while mission privatise education, privatise NHS continues unabated.
This becomes even more clear when you look at Gove’s replacement, Nicky Morgan.
The Oxford graduate and former corporate lawyer has a classic Tory voting record. She is a party loyalist who only voted against the government in opposition to gay marriage legislation in a free vote.
Among her other highlights, she voted strongly for reducing the rate of corporation tax and voted strongly against a banker’s bonus tax. She voted in favour of £9,000 tuition fees and strongly favours academies and so-called ‘free’ schools.
A trustee of the Conservative Christian Fellowship, Morgan said in an interview about being a woman in politics in 2011:
“Thatcher was a very strong role model and she was one of the reasons I joined the Conservative Party.”
What Morgan will bring is a change of personality – she has criticised Tory backbenchers in the past for overly negative campaigning and using ‘the language of hate’ over immigration.
However, education campaigners will not be holding their breath for a reversal in government policy.
By changing the education secretary, Cameron has made a smart triple-pronged manoeuvre. He has rid himself of a potential rival, quelled criticism that he doesn’t promote enough women to senior cabinet posts and can almost be certain education campaigners won’t make Morgan a hate figure like they did with Gove.
Gove is gone but his legacy is in safe hands.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.
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