Gove and Cameron need to start getting into a bit of detail
Posted on 12 February 2011 | 9:02am
Well done to those councils which felt Michael Gove was exceeding his powers when bringing the Building Schools for the Future programme crashing to the ground.
Yesterday’s High Court ruling was a victory for them, and even though Mr Gove retains the ultimate power over which schools get rebuilt, hopefully the powerful slap on the wrist will make him and his colleagues think a little more carefully about policy-making.
There is something a touch cavalier about the way they go about things, and this is but the latest example. On the news last night, its unravelling was followed by something similar in relation to their latest No Mandate offering, the sell-off of our forests.
And of course Mr Gove has already hit troubled waters over the casual scrapping of School Sports funding, and his arbitrary approach to so-called free schools.
There is, as I discovered when I made the jump from the media to the political side of the fence, a world of difference between writing an article on a subject, and devising a policy. Mr Gove seems not yet to appreciate the difference. It is about time he started to, or else even his specially anointed status as a fully fledged Cameroon, close to the leader, will come under pressure.
Of course the chief Cameroon is the problem. As we learned from the NHS reforms, which took him by surprise when health secretary Andrew Lansley presented them, the PM is not one for the policy detail.
But if the minister has a cavalier approach to the policy, and the Prime Minister’s is even more so, then the kind of car crash we had yesterday is likely to become a common happening.
Time for a pep talk for his ministers methinks. He could wheel out the slogan from his famous airbrushed posters. ‘We can’t go on like this.’