The night Michael Gove nearly joined the Labour party

As Michael Gove reads the headlines tonight he can bask in the glow of a day’s work well done. He ingratiated himself with the Daily Mail with a proper Tory exclusive, serenaded his party’s frothing right-wing and sent the Lib Dems into apoplexies of public rage.

All with a policy that neither he nor anyone in government seriously thinks is going to become law. An entirely confected debate with no other purpose than to help define Michael Gove as the true blue, king over the water.

Which it has.

But it was not always this way. Word reaches Uncut of a very different Gove.

It was October 1997, Conservative conference. The mood was one of shell-shocked despondency. The howling wind and rain of Blackpool matched the demeanour of many of those going through the motions in the Winter Gardens that year.

But for some, things weren’t quite so glum.

Michael Gove for one. He was there, working for the Times, gambolling from reception to bar to reception, fizzing with enthusiasm.

He had seen the light. The light had a name. And that name was Tony.

Gove was full of the joys of the previous week’s Labour conference and the sainted leader of New Labour. He luxuriated in the company of Labour lobbyists who had worked for the party in the recent campaign, quizzing them on their campaign methods and the political faith of their master.

In one exchange at a reception, Gove laid bare his personal theological struggle.

Temperamentally he was a Conservative, but for him, Tony Blair was a game-changer. A politician who redefined the rules and offered hope of a new way. Dare we say it, a third way.

Young Michael was dazzled and, as the gathered throng of ex-Labour staffers looked on, professed that he was seriously thinking of joining the Labour party. In fact, he was going to look into it and get the forms the following week when he was back in London.

How different today’s Tory party might have been.

Had Gove joined Labour in 1997, he would have been inculcated into the New Labour way. Perhaps even enticed into standing in the Labour interest.

But it seems without the champagne, the desire to fill out that Labour party application form was just not strong enough.

Still, it’s one to remember, the next time this new knight of the right tilts at his windmills. Even now, it’s clear that memories of that first, hormonal flush of excitement at New Labour still smoulder.

In the Commons earlier today, a certain somebody made a point of saying, “In matters of ideology, I’m a Blairite – I believe that what’s right is what works”.

Political first loves, they never die.

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5 Responses to “The night Michael Gove nearly joined the Labour party”

  1. Doesn’t all this worry what is largely a Blairite website? Are you sure you want Gove to be claiming to be one of your own?

  2. Red Rag says:

    Thank god he changed his mind. I wouldn’t want that poor excuse for and Education Minister “that is three out of ten, and for those on the opposite bench who are poor with maths, that is 60%” stinking the party out.

  3. Anon E Mouse says:

    Gove is one of the few ministers respected on all sides of the house but I thought he was a member of the Communist Party in his youth along with Eric Pickles!

    Like the rest of the country Gove realises the electorate will not accept any childish socialist nonsense and his school’s policies, although really a continuation of the Labour government, are a breath of fresh air.

    I do notice that Ed Miliband is supposedly going to apologise for the mass immigration through the Labour Open Borders scheme and as soon as they apologise for the financial incompetence in their party and how it wrecked the country the sooner they may be considered credible again.

    One thing’s for sure, after his private polling last week we can now hope to see less of the unpopular idiot Ed Balls despite him still claiming for his food bill on the taxpayer.

    Individuals like Balls make Labour unelectable but at least Ed Miliband (and Ball’s wife yesterday) seems to be acknowledging what we all know which can only be a good thing….

  4. swatantra says:

    I do wish people would drop all this ‘blairite’ and ‘thatcherite’ nonsense.
    The fact is both were game changers. New leaders can only build on radical role models that came before them. So Blair was a Thatcherite in the sense that she was pivotal in bringing about change, grabbing Britain by the scruff of the neck and dragging it kcking and screaming into the C20, certainly when it came to dodgy industrial practices. But she went too far. Blair also gave society a kick up the backside by introducing change in equalities and devolution and localism and modernisation of govt, area that Thatcher simply didn’t comprehend.
    Although beng a member of Progress Moderniser, I wouldn’t describe myself as a blairite, because I didn’t agree with all that Blair did particularly in Foreign Affairs and cosying up to the USA, when he should have been fully integrating into Europe.
    But I can understand why Gove was attracted to Labour; Labour is pretty ‘broad church’, in fact very broad church; it’ll take in practically anyone.

  5. Les Abbey says:

    Probably not that much difference in views between Gove and Blair even now.

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