Mr Gove seems to be very successful at his main raison d’etre, i.e. getting people to talk about him. In this respect he is probably the most successful UK politician (battling for this spot with Boris Johnson). Love or hate Mr Gove most UK people have an opinion of him, and in this respect alone he has managed to rise beyond the fallow fields of lobby fodder.
As public sector workers, the left, soft left and disinterested liberals are moved to ever higher levels of ire with Gove, I wonder what the future holds in store for this ever newsworthy individual.
I strongly suspect that Mr Gove’s future may be very bright.
2015: Conservative & Lib Dem Coalition Govt re-established after Gen Election. Gove promoted to one of the big 3 jobs.
2017: UK Referendum on EU membership, Gove leads withdrawal campaign, narrowly loses the referendum, but wins the vote in Tory party.
2018: Cameron steps down as PM / Tory Party Leader. Gove runs against Osborne for leadership, and wins.
2020: Gove fights UK General Election on populist, patriotic, ticket, gaining back former UKIP supporters. PM Gove.
Mr Gove’s potential (and actual) success is demonstrated in the very opprobrium reserved for him by the left / public sector. He has a knack for populism which the left find infuriating, but such populism will only see him further elevated up the greasy pole of power. He has adopted the egalitarian-mobility narrative of the left and used it against the vested interests of the public sector. This tactic plays very well with some private sector workers and with many passive right wingers.
Finally, Mr Gove is from a relatively modest background, yet he made it to Oxford, to the top of journalism, and now to the top of government. This sort of social mobility is magical stuff in the media text, and it demonstrates real ability. It’s a sort of ‘lived meritocratic ideal despite the limiting functions of the nanny state’. Mr Gove shares much in common with the last UK politician to inspire such malevolence from the public sector and the left. She also came from a modest background, and started out as Secretary of State for Education. She became Prime Minister for 11 years, and had a whole era named after her. Watch out, we may be on our way to Govism !