16 February 2020
Now Storm Dennis has passed and it’s produced a month’s rain in a single weekend, we can at least look forward to four dry weeks to balance the average back again.
Before Dennis (but after Ciara), Michael Gove told businesses it could take five years to get a smart border working. He then added what would, from anybody else, be a joke, except that Gove doesn’t do jokes: businesses will have to be ready for the change next January, even though nobody has the foggiest idea what the UK and EU can agree in that time, if anything.
Born Graeme Andrew Logan in Aberdeen, Gove was taken into care soon after he was born and, when he was four months old, he was adopted by Ernest and Christine Gove who changed his name to Michael Andrew Gove and were obviously really loving parents. (Thanks to the peculiarities of English, Gove doesn’t rhyme with ‘move’ or, especially, ‘love’.)
He was educated in local primary schools until he passed the entrance exam to Robert Gordon’s College and was later successful in gaining a scholarship when money became tight. Thence to Oxford where, after his earlier flirtation with Labour, he hooked up with the Conservatives and was un/lucky enough to meet one Boris Johnson, whom he later betrayed.
He started his working life as a journalist and went into politics full-time as an MP in 2005, subsequently becoming the only person ever to change the syllabus when a lot of children were already half way through studying for a completely different one (ask any teacher about his other attempts to destroy the education system). And, in the Leveson enquiry, he described Rupert Murdoch as “one of the most impressive and significant figures of the last 50 years”. He doesn’t appear to have made any attempt since to repair what reputation he used to have, if any.
Having researched this, I find I’m now feeling sorry for the poor old chap …
But he’s still in the cabinet, unlike Sajid Javid who demonstrated a hitherto unexpected integrity and resigned when his boss said he’d just be a ‘yes-man’ in future.
Is anybody else worrying about the financial and societal downsides of HS2? Remember Bonzo’s brilliant idea of a bridge from Northern Ireland to Scotland, and an airport in the Thames estuary with his promises to lie in front of the first bulldozer to start on a third runway at Heathrow (which he omitted to vote against in parliament) or dying in a ditch if Brexit didn’t happen on 30 September?
And also remember this is the man who accused others of “spaffing” millions up the wall although, when he was London’s mayor, he spent £50m on a new bridge over the Thames that never got off the drawing board, and even more millions on a cable car across the river which has just four regular users, bought hugely expensive new buses (whose rear doors – their sole raison d’être – are now to be locked shut) and a bicycle scheme, all of which demonstrated only too clearly that Bonzo doesn’t understand money.
(‘Spaffing’ is a particularly horrid expression, sadly typical of our PM. Those of a sensitive nature should avoid checking what the word means but it basically sounds like an alternative wall game played at Eton.)
Now he’s got the entire nation’s budget to play with and, after a reshuffle, a compliant cabinet of sycophants and a skilled adviser in Dominic Cummins (possibly a less sweary Malcolm Tucker) who is clever enough to tell Bonzo to disagree with him about something every so often so nobody thinks they’re working together to give the prime minister ultimate power over everything.
Further evidence for his ambition to achieve this appeared this week when the Court of Appeal ruled that the deportation of detainees unable to contact their lawyers must stop. Downing Street immediately condemned the decision as “vexatious”, with Bonzo claiming that the court was trying to “conduct politics by another means” …
This is no doubt linked to two threats buried deep in the Conservative party’s manifesto, the first to give ministers a say in the appointment of judges, the second to exclude certain governmental actions from judicial review. Both get Bonzo another couple of steps up the ladder towards becoming Dear Leader by reducing the independence of the courts and parliament, and increasing the power of the government (aka The Rt Hon Bonzo).
I find this extremely frightening and fear for both my children, and all of his, whoever and wherever they are.
Just think how the American system of selecting judges according to their politics has boosted Donald Trump’s power recently. The several prosecutors resigned en masse this week after the Department of Justice over-ruled their sentencing of Roger Stone, with Trump criticising the conduct of the case and hinting that he might give Stone a presidential pardon. Top lawyers in America have warned that the DoJ is being politicised and will lead to a “crisis of credibility” in the US justice system. This is where justice is going in America and Bonzo is playing catch-up.
So let’s hold onto this quote from Charlie Mackesy’s book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse:
“What do you want to be when you grow up? [asked the mole]
“Kind,” said the boy.