It was an education to watch Michael Gove in action against Faisal Islam and then in conversation with the audience on Sky. It is always an education to listen to Michael Gove. He is a very clever man, erudite too. When he speaks on a given topic I invariably feel that I have learned something about the subject.
Watching David Cameron was also something of an eye opener. He appeared flustered, his nervousness was exposed, he was not comfortable, particularly when questioned by the audience. Perhaps he was not used to the idea that people don’t believe him. That is a fact that he would be wise to come to terms with.
I understand that Jeremy Corbyn has a short fuse. This has been seen several times when pushed hard in interviews. It is as though the professional politician feels that he has a right not to be challenged, that it is simply impossible for his view of the world to be out of kilter with the view held by the ordinary people out there on civvy street. Well, Cameron and Corbyn, have I got news for you………
I sometimes liken people to fish. It is a strange idea I know, but it works for me. It probably started with being one of six children living in a very modest home childhood home. With every new arrival we moved closer to having to sleep in drawers. We were sardines. Corbyn and Cameron; I would liken them to red snappers. The red snapper is a very aggressive little fish. It is, as its name suggests, red, or a dusky shade of pink. Cameron blushed with inner rage the other evening when a mere commoner dared to suggest he was waffling, “I’ve got you, I’ve got you,” he chunnered, trying to break it off. She was having none of it and continued to make her point, speaking over the Prime Minister when he didn’t respond directly to her question. We need more of this. It was a telling moment as the PM turned puce. A red snapper. He looked gutted.
Now, back to Mr Gove. I always feel I should call him Mr Gove, (Not Lord High Chancellor) or whatever it was that Islam called him in a smarmy attempt at belittlement!). I suppose that is because I recognize that Mr Gove is a gentleman, in true British style. He carried himself with a calm dignity, he was well mannered, he remained personable, he smiled a genuine smile, he treated his questioner/s with all the politeness that we were once taught that we should show to all people, regardless of whether they could be bothered to reciprocate. Despite all that, or perhaps because of all that, his message came across as genuine, and if you looked at the faces in the audience there was a sense that people were inclined to hear him out, to consider the message, to hear as well as to listen.
I noticed something else about Mr Gove. All the charm and grace that he brought to the moment did not in any sense make him appear as weak. Where politicians do sometimes appear to hope for the interruption as a means of getting off the hook of a difficult question, he continued his sentence until the point had been revealed. Yes, you can be a gentleman and still have backbone.
So, what sort of fish would Mr Gove be? Well, it would have to be one from our home waters, or what is left of them. With stocks being as low as they are because of foreign overfishing, the choice is somewhat limited. So, I shall go for a fish that knows both wide open ocean and inland river and stream, the majestic Atlantic Salmon (no ‘d’ in Salmon). This is a mighty fish. It knows from whence it came, and has the capacity to return thence when the time comes. Coming back to the river of its birth is a dangerous and tortuous journey. There are many traps and dangers to prevent it from reaching its destination, yet, it has a deep desire, somewhere within the genes of its being, to reach that place against all the odds.
I hope that Mr Gove is able to bring us home to that place where we long to be, the river of our birth and that we might once again swim freely in the fresh clear waters in which we were spawned.