Let none presume to wear an undeserved dignity
All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…
With the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death upon us, we have a major casting decision ahead in our own company of thespians. And with the lead role of Chief Inspector up for grabs, who stands in good stead to be selected as our lead protagonist? In what has the potential to become a veritable comedy of errors, there are a number of notable characters and, on closer inspection, it’s arguable that all that glisters is not gold.
As our curtain rises, we find our troubled hero, Macbeth. Statesmanly, brave and noble, he equivocates, torn between good and ill. Does he continue as Thane of Glamis or is the lure of King Duncan’s crown and power too enticing?
Also among our dramatis personae is one Malvolio. A “humble steward” with ideas above his station, he is reaching for a grander title. Though perhaps only if that title is accompanied by even grander riches.
Surveying the scene, weighing up his own prospects, is Prospero. Clever, determined and ruthless, he is a frustrated ruler of a tiny island, thwarted by those who are seemingly less powerful than him. He is master of his own domain, but longs for greater influence and a reach of power that stretches beyond his current lonely isle.
Pacing in the wings, we find our Lady Macbeth. Extremely well connected, this strong woman is willing to do whatever it takes to secure power. The question is, if she gets it, will the sleepless nights be her ultimate downfall?
Another female candidate is the lesser known Portia. Much like her character in The Merchant of Venice, this individual is definitely not to be underestimated – with sound judgement and wisdom to match, this particular Portia will have her pound of flesh.
And, lastly, we have our bloody king: Titus Andronicus. Having seen off enemies and foes in foreign lands, don’t rule out some blood-letting on these shores if he is the chosen one.
Watch out for General Secretary Pie being served up on the menu.
But whomsoever wears the borrowed robes of King Duncan, and takes the crown of this septic isle, one thing that we must all hope for is an era of change, and a new beginning for the role of the Chief Inspector and his or her armies. Something is deeply rotten in the state of Ofsted, and it needs to change.
And, in reality, what we really want is a combination of attributes, rather than any individual playing to type: the courage of Henry V; the nobility of Mark Antony; the shrewdness of Viola; the wit of Beatrice; and the subtlety of Richard II. These are the qualities that we should hope for in our next Chief Inspector.
Heavy will be the head that wears that particular hollow crown, and he or she would do well to heed the warning that the evil that men do lives long after them.
The Secret CEO is the chief executive of a multi-academy trust somewhere in England