The DeGoveinator

I’ve been working on an app. After all, nowadays everyone is working on apps, they are a clear way to fame and fortune.

I decided my app would draw on my previous expertise in English Language, Semantics and that kind of thing. The app simply takes speeches by Michael Gove as text input, and then, using a complicated algorithm I found in one of Douglas Hofstadter’s books, turns that speech back into the original politics which motivated it.

It is, if you like, a tool for taking the spin off speeches.

It is of course not perfect and still needs some tweaking, but here is what version 1.02 made of Gove’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference in October 2010.  You can read the original here.

There is a special beauty in a life well-lived. No life can be better spent than teaching.

Unless of course you want to earn some serious money or wield some serious power, in which case, just about any profession would be a better bet. In fact quite a few people teaching now are seriously gullible because they saw those schmaltzy TDA ads the last loony Labour lot made about ‘making a difference’ and brought the message hook line and sinker. Not realising that once in the classroom they’d be snowed under with paperwork so any of those cutesy Science experiments were well off  the agenda.

Teachers transform lives as very few others can.

They also pose a particular problem for us politicians, as they a recaciltrant bunch and to be honest, not even Thatcher, who had bigger balls than all of us in the current cabinet put together, could really sort them out.  The miners were easy, they wore black hairy jackets and tended to group together on cold mornings in horrible Northern towns. Bunging the police force a load of overtime to sort them out was pretty much a no brainer. But teachers, god they were a harder nut to crack, so we’ve been plotting hard about how to do it. And here is the master plan, dressed up as some kind of nonsense about tackling inequality in the system 🙂

Teachers are there at the moments in all our childhoods when new horizons beckon.

The moment mere shapes on a page become a set of budget figures with a gripping story to tell. ‘Cut cut cut quickly before the country is bankrupt and gets sold to Venezuala for 200 quid’ as my friend George Osborne would say.

The moment that Newton’s first law of thermodynamics is grasped by a child, who then realises that a gas fire in the room of an elderly person will stay at exactly room temperature until they get enough winter fuel allowance to have the confidence to turn it on. In other words, it will always stay at room temperature

The moment a child who has never seen the point of books, suddenly realises that Miss Havisham is not some distant and irrelevant verbal concoction of a long dead writer, but is indeed a living breathing entity, enriching their lives. A kind of Lady Gaga but in a wedding dress . . .  . . . but not one made of meat. Obviously that would be impractical given her need to stay an awful long time in that room in order to provide a dramatic denouement to Dickens’ tale.

The moment that child, newly enthused by the love of reading, goes down to the local library to join up, only to find it’s been sold off and converted to a nail bar.

OK, not that moment, but you get my drift, all of those kind of misty eyed moments when it’s a bit like the best scenes from the History Boys, but without the homoerotic bass notes.

These are the moments which teachers give and I believe no gifts are more precious.

Well except for that Tag watch DC gave me last Christmas, it’s worth at least 2K, loads more than some half-arsed quasi-epiphanic moment in some sweaty classroom with some badly dressed teacher poncing around at the front.


One of the tragedies of the last 10 years is we have fallen behind every other country in the world.  

From 4th to 908th for science,

from 7th to ‘well bottom of the class’ for literacy

and from 8th to dx/dy for Mathematics.

In this country there are about 480,000 teachers.

Out of those 480,000 how many do you think voted for the Conservative Party?

Just 45 . . .

More voters from a single cocktail party in Westminster voted for our party than the entire population of teachers in the country. 

This waste of talent, this squandering of perfectly good votes, this grotesque failure by our fellow citizens to do the right thing and make sure we get an enormous majority is a reproach to our conscience.

It can’t be allowed to continue.

And under this government the injustice will end.

People sometimes ask me why I’m in such a hurry to change our education system.

Slow down they say, opt for a gentler pace. At least try and engage some part of your brain before you talk to the media and pick up some random thought flitting in your head and announce it as a serious policy. And try and influence Willetts to do the same, as he seriously makes up shit as he goes along and we then spend at least a whole day running around the department while pretty young interns gorge themselves on Latte’s and try and work out how to clear the whole mess up.

But us politicians only have one chance. Five years in office is our entire political career, and I don’t want to see another generation of Tory Politicians travel through parliament only to leave without having given the teachers a real and proper kicking they won’t forget.

That is why we have to act.

That is why we have already passed legislation, using special powers which were only meant to be used in cases of terrorism,  –  the academies act which allows under-performing schools to be taken over and turned round without delay.

Unfortunately at this point the app crashed, so it’s back to the software testing bench to see if I can get it working again . .

Author: mjp6034

Education consultant specialising in educational technology and change management.

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