The Plastic Hippo

August 1, 2014

Laws unto themselves

The spin doctor at the back is saying; "He`s good. He just nicked that kid`s lunch and the dinner lady is rolling a big, fat bogie to plop into his rice pudding.

The spin doctor at the back is saying; “He`s good. He just nicked that kid`s lunch and the dinner lady is rolling a big, fat bogie to plop into his rice pudding”.

It is irrelevant to ask who Nicky Morgan is because the correct and only answer is that she is not Michael Gove. Elected to parliament as long ago as 2010, the member for Loughborough`s elevation to a senior office of state came as something of a surprise but the nation`s children can rest assured that nobody, with the possible exception of Rolf Harris, could damage education with the zeal of her creepy and now officially ugly predecessor.

To suggest that Nicky Morgan`s only qualification to be Secretary of State for Education is her lack of a Y chromosome would be maliciously erroneous. Like almost every previous Secretary of State of differing shades of political grey, Qualified Teacher Status or actual classroom experience is not listed on the essential requirements section of the job description. Instead, Ms Morgan`s CV contains invaluable expertise perfectly suited to the coalition government`s education policy. Before entering parliament, Nicky Morgan was a corporate lawyer specialising in mergers and acquisitions. Promoted to equalities minister, she has voted against equal marriage.

As if joy was not already unconfined at the prospect of a new Education Secretary albeit with Gove sitting under her desk pulling levers and strings, we have cause for unbridled celebration at the appointment of a new Chairman of Ofsted. This job became vacant when Michael Gove decided to sack Baroness Sally Morgan (no relation) in February. Her great failing was not the absence of a Y chromosome or passing a Postgraduate Certificate in Education or having teaching experience or having an MA in Education but was an unfortunate and unacceptable insistence of being a member of the Labour Party. At the time, Gove insisted that the decision was not political and said; “From time to time you need to refresh the person in charge…to bring fresh perspective”. Five months later Gove found himself being refreshed as Chief Whip.

The new man is David Hoare who arrives at Ofsted complete with two X chromosomes, an MBA from Stanford Business School in Stanford, California and a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Birmingham, Birmingham. As an old boy of Marlborough College, he is perfectly placed to understand the challenges facing state education. As Chairman of the DX Group, a private mail company set up in the 70s to break postal strikes by Royal Mail and as a former Chairman of Virgin Express Holdings plc which sacked Belgian workers who dared to take strike action and then moved the operation to Ireland and as founder of the secretive Talisman Management Ltd, he will no doubt be able to offer interesting additions to the national curriculum on economics and industrial relations.

Interestingly, the Department for Education stated that David Hoare has been appointed “for his business experience” and would step down from his role as a trustee of Academies Enterprise Trust, the largest Academy chain and by far the most failing. This raises two issues. Firstly; the reward for failing Ofsted inspections and not being allowed by Ofsted to operate any further schools seems to be having the top job at Ofsted offered on a plate to the bloke who was supposed to “improve” AET schools . Secondly, schools are not businesses required to make profits for already rich bastards and children are not punch bags to be kicked around by asset-stripping “entrepreneurial” vermin determined to make a fast buck regardless of consequence.

Astonishingly, the appointment of David Hoare has been seen as something of a victory for Liberal Democrat Minister of State for Schools David Laws. This, you might remember, is the chap who lasted 17 days as Chief Secretary to the Treasury at the start of this government after embezzling 40 grand of tax-payers money. Instead of two years in Wormwood Scrubs he did two years on the back benches only to return in triumph to cabinet. Ironically, because his offence and defence involved elements and evidence of a sexual nature, he is only allowed anywhere near a school because Gove did away with CRB checks. His experience of education is derived from a fee-paying school and a career in investment banking.

With Gove gone, Laws now sees himself as head honcho because, after all and according to the Tory patriarchy and Liberal Democrat libidinous tendency, Nicky Morgan`s chromosomes require improvement. Hoare`s appointment is being viewed as “less controversial” than some of the other suggested names on the government`s shortlist and Laws with the instincts of a loan shark is keen to take the credit. At one point, millionaire Tory donor Theodore Agnew was in the frame for Chair of Ofsted. This character is a trustee of Policy Exchange, a right-wing “think tank” notorious for concocting anti-Islamic propaganda and might or might not have had something to do with the Birmingham Trojan Horse hoax. Another contender was millionaire Tory donor David Ross, a co-founder of Carphone Warehouse who apart from being unable to spell motorcar and telephone would bring an inspiring knowledge of the taxation system and his considerable experience of how to use violence when settling a fee with a troublesome female “escort” to the education sector.

Sadly, these candidates were unsuccessful and we now have an uncontroversial asset-stripping businessman as Chair of Ofsted, a corporate lawyer as Education Secretary and a crook as Minister of State for Schools. Add to this a bible-thumping evangelical Christian as Ofsted`s Chief Inspector of Schools in the formidable shape of Sir Michael Wilshaw and the future of state education could not be clearer.

My advice to pupils currently enjoying the summer holidays is to do a little less homework and use the time to arm yourselves with whatever you can find to survive the new term that starts in September.

And when you get back to school, make sure that Gove isn`t hiding under the desk.

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