My perception of Michael Gove is somewhat different from the teachers. – and counterintuitive. Several years ago my blog caught the eye of one of Gove’s constituents who, after sniffing around, thought that my continued detention decades over tariff was perhaps a tad excessive and unnecessary. The constituent collared Gove – then at Education – and the outcome was that Gove wrote to Ken Clark wondering if my detention should perhaps come to an end?
Hmm. A Conservative Minister taking the time to look at the case of a murderer, and not even a voting constituent. This caused some minor cognitive dissonance. My whole adult life had been controlled largely by a succession of Tory Prison Ministers, and my experience told me that they were a vindictive, petty and plain malign bunch. So why would Michael Gove give his pleading constituent the time of day...?
For me, this is crucial. There was nothing to be gained for Gove in intervening in my case. None. If the tabloids had known at the time, I’m sure they could have made some hay at his expense. There was no earthly reason for Gove to touch any of this with a bargepole. Except..except...it was the right thing to do. My release demonstrated that Gove’s view of my case was actually accepted by both the Ministry and the Parole Board. At the end of this episode, all I could conclude is that Gove stuck his neck out solely because he looked at the matter and was honestly persuaded that I had, in sum, done enough time.
For a guy who had been royally screwed by Tory Ministers for 20 years, it took some persuading but in the end all I could conclude was that Michael Gove had taken the time and risk to do what he believed was right.
This is why I don’t write Michael Gove off as “just another Tory”. It would be childish to be so blinkered. A Minister who does “the right thing” is a rare beast and one who should be encouraged.