Wednesday, March 01, 2023

When Michael Gove failed to demonstrate parental responsibility

Yesterday Michael Gove suggested that parents whose children are persistently absent from school should have their child benefit stopped.

That was the headline that emerged from an event organised yesterday by the Conservative think tank Onward. Which suggests that the Tories are in real trouble.

Yes, the cruelty of it will appeal to the Tory membership, but they badly need to reach out to people who have become disenchanted with the party and intend to vote for someone else next time. This doesn't look like a way of doing it.

Gove was at least helpful to the Liberal Democrats, twice emphasising that this was a proposal we had put a stop to during the coalition.

And it was a reminder that when Tories talk about the individual freedom and the risk of an overmighty state, it is there own freedom they are worried about and no one else's.

It's wrong to reduce every political blog post to an ad hominem attack, but I'm afraid I can't resist finishing with this old story from the Sunday Mirror (29 October 2016):
Michael Gove left son, 11, alone in hotel for six HOURS while he went to showbiz party

Child was found by night porter wandering the corridors and asking for his parents before they eventually returned at 1.30am

Michael Gove’s young son was left alone in a room at a posh B&B for six hours while his parents enjoyed a glitzy celebrity party.

The ex-Cabinet minister and his wife Sarah Vine told hotel workers they would be back by around 9.30pm.

But the couple are said to have failed to answer calls from a concerned night porter who found the 11-year-old wandering the corridors, asking where his parents were.

The Goves are believed to have returned to the £250-a-night, 13-bedroom B&B at 1.30am the next morning – four hours later than they said they would be.

TV comic Dom Joly – among stars at the party thrown to celebrate the end of the Cheltenham Literary Festival – took to Twitter to reveal how the former Justice Secretary had enjoyed the evening. ...

And comedy writer Armando Iannucci, creator of political comedy The Thick Of It, is understood to have given a talk at the festival the following day in which he said he had seen Michael Gove "busting moves" on the dance floor.

Perhaps Mr Gove should address his own sense of parental responsibility before he worries about other people?

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