Inchworm

21st May 2010 at 01:00
The policy wonk whose heart isn't in it

Monday Lunch with my old friend Sandra, whose uselessness has somehow propelled her steady rise through the civil service. Under the New Reality, she's now seconded to something called the Policy Tasting Unit. Its purpose is to distract and reassure the small herd of nervous, spindly Lib Dem education advisers who are still wandering patiently round the Department in search of desks. Bless. Sandra leans forward conspiratorially. "We're working up plans for a completely new set of league tables," she hisses through a mouthful of ciabatta. I'm astonished. I thought The Gove was supposed to be freeing schools from all that bureaucratic interference. Sandra leans closer, whispering. "League tables of PARENTS." Whoa. One bit of useful information deserves another so I tell Sandra her necklace is trailing in her soup.

Tuesday The Gove calls. As usual, he's cross. "I've been talking to Sam." I make a puzzled noise. "Sam? From Team Clegg? He tells me that before the election you were really taking the piss out of me ..." I make an outraged noise. "Yes, he says it was you who posted that horrible comment on my campaign blog saying I looked like a (quote) fucking veal calf in a Savile Row suit (unquote)". I take theatrical umbrage and say I have been maliciously dropped in it by some suck-up Lib Dem, admittedly after Michael has hung up in a huff. And for his information it was a Next suit. Memos to self:

1. Be much more wary of confiding in anyone, about anything, from now on.

2. Post sycophantic note on goveblog e.g "Keep up the good work. As the Beatles *nearly* said, All You Need Is Gove!!! LOL!!!".

3. Hunt Sam down.

4. Waterboard him to death with his own frappuccino.

Wednesday Drinks with Sandra, who's looking stressed. The Gove apparently has "convictions" and that means much more work. I'm not saying Ballsy didn't believe in anything - he did believe in anything - but it's going to be brutal under the Gove Terror. First everyone had to de-clutter their desks, moans Sandra, now we have to de-clutter the Departmental portfolio. "Do we have to strive for happy AND healthy children? To keep them safe AND sound?"

Thursday It's official. Now the Department has been split up, education and "family issues" are separated. The Gove insists he'll concentrate on schools, not telling people how to live their lives.

Friday With his legendary poker face, The Gove announces a crackdown on poor parenting, confirming there will be two Parental Leagues. One for good, child-nurturing coalitions who deserve support for their free schools, one for Labour types who watch ITV. Informally they'll be known as "bossy parents" and "dossy parents".

Please send your suggestions to inchworm@tes.co.uk.

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