The Curmudgeon


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Michael Does A Maggie

Education Secretary requests media discretion over vandalism of university industry

The Secretary of State for Private Education, Michael Gove, has responded to the student protests over university cuts by implicitly comparing people who break windows and frighten horses to IRA terrorists who blow people up.

Gove echoed Margaret Thatcher's pronunciamento that the media should self-censor in order to deny the "oxygen of publicity" to the enemies of property.

Gove is the first minister to quote Thatcher directly. Iain Duncan Smith, in his get on your bike moment a month ago, hastily denied that he was echoing Norman Tebbit. Experts say his denial is borne out by the fact that he used more words.

Gove denied that the government was trying to dictate media coverage, but he said people should reflect on whether policy decisions should be dictated by those committing violence.

Gove said that it was wrong to give airtime to those who engage in any sort of violence. The Conservative Party, of which Gove is a member, is noted for its long history of opposition to war, police brutality, corporal punishment and hanging.

British governments have a long democratic tradition of paying attention to peaceful expressions of discontent. Widespread peaceful protests in February 2003 were instrumental in motivating the Conservative Party to oppose certain aspects of the Iraq war, eventually.

But there was a big difference between listening with respect to people who "disagree with you" and those who reinforce their arguments by acting like members of the Bullingdon Club, Gove said.

It is thought that the violence which the Government's policies are doing to the educational system would benefit greatly from increased discretion by the media.

Nick Clegg said he hoped that, over time, people would realise how difficult the whole thing had been for the Liberal Democrats.


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