Anyone who thinks it is a good idea to give all children the chance to learn Latin and Greek at school has my backing. It was a good idea defeated by the teaching unions, utterly despicable and nihilistic.
I have no doubt Michael Gove is flawed and has made some mistakes but he does seem competent.
Good luck to him.
I put it to you that Gove was merely “playing to the gallery “ when he made that paean about reviving the Classics.
He knew full well that the irredeemably marxist teaching unions, who regrettably ‘educate’ 93% of our children would have none of it.
Incidentally didn’t the Ancients Greeks believe that physiognomy revealed something about the individual? Apropos this, on my first spying Gove I thought ‘weirdo’. Am I alone in this?
I think and hope you are wrong.
Scepticism can be useful, cynicism No.
It’s a fairly fine line between scepticism and cynicism as I am sure both Zeno and Diogenes would have agreed.
I don’t know about Zeno and Diogenes, I am not a classicist or a philosophy graduate, but scepticism means to have doubts until more facts are produced, and cyncism means to disbelieve everything, thinking that everyone’s motives are always venal. It is as nihilistic as neo-marxism and post-modernism.
A good reply, thank you.
I have been a huge PG Wodehouse fan since my early teens.
Many years before Mr Gove ever came to public attention, whenever I read Wodehouse and Gussie Fink-Nottle was involved in the action, in my mind’s eye I pictured him looking precisely like the young Govester.
During one of Mr Gove’s first appearances on a Question Time panel I remember shouting ‘It’s Gussie!’ at the screen (much to my wife’s confusion), and I’ve never been able to take him very seriously since.
An excellent comparison!
I must confess to more prosaic thoughts, likening Gove to the “Milky Bar Kid”on first observing him
but not of the status of Bill and Ben The Flowerpot men, or Andy Pandy…
Or even “WEED”!
no: perfectly ghastly little ” central casting line manager” little man- would make a moderate footman or under-butler or valet.
I am 75 years old and attended a grammar school in the 60s where I had to study Latin for two years – can anybody tell me how this has enriched my life? It used to be a compulsory subject for those going on to study medicine although not sure if even that policy has been abandoned? Far more useful would be Spanish or Mandarin, unlike here in Wales where Welsh is mandatory in all schools – totally useless outside of Wales unless going to live in Patagonia!
Only you can answer your question, but I would point out that there were other children in your class, a few or some or many of whom were enriched by learning Latin. Just because you as an individual gained nothing by it should all children be denied the opportunity ?
I have found an answer to your question, you might want to consider whether it is true for you. According to one university “the benefits of learning Latin are, as a highly organized and logical language it sharpens the mind, cultivates mental alertness, creates keener attention to detail, develops critical thinking and enhances problem solving abilities.”
I enjoyed learning both Latin and Greek as a schoolgirl more than sixty years ago and agree with Winston Churchill who said that ‘learning Latin is a privilege and Greek is a treat’, despite his having also written humorously of his own struggles with Latin.
There is much evidence to support the claims that skills acquired from studying the classics are transferable. Dilly Knox, who headed the team that broke the Enigma code was a classicist, as were many of his colleagues.
A young man of my acquaintance, a mathematician who works in high finance, tells me his brightest colleagues are all classicists.
My late husband’s brilliant mentor when he was a young engineer, took a first in Greats at Oxford, decided there was no money in the classics so returned to Oxford and took a first in physics.
I found my knowledge of Latin very useful in law school. It has also helped me in studying Romance languages, which are all descended from Latin.
Yes, also very useful in studying history, especially medieval and early modern.
There is absolutely no point in studying Mandarin in schools for multiple reasons (and I say this as someone who studied it for two years in China and has a good command of both French and Spanish): (1) we have no wide ranging Mandarin language infrastructure across the education system and it would take decades to develop it (2) you will never get to a standard where you will use it professionally or even at tourist standard (and, even if you did, I don’t see China as a mass market tourism destination (3) English is, for better or worse, the “de facto” (sic) language of commerce and (4) the reason we learn a language anyway (given (3)) is to train the brain rather than for commercial or cultural reach. In short, any language is useful rather than a specific one.
Both my sons learned latin at school and as a result gained a sound understanding of grammar and some useful insights into etymology. They both enjoyed it far more than the modern languages they were taught; an indictment of the poor quality modern language tuition in the uk.
Hello Susan. Latin is not required (or expected) of a prospective medicine student. Last time I checked, an A-Level in Chemistry is the only qualification specifically required, although the courses are popular and academic standards are typically high.
It has given you – though you probably do not know it – an idea of the anatomy of language. This clearly enables you to express yourself succinctly and clearly. French and Spanish do not do this as their syntax and grammar is almost as chaotic as those of English. If children do not learn Latin, they should learn German, which is at least inflected.
Gove’s role in the Covid lockdowns, and his obvious appetite for statism, destroyed any sympathy I might have had for the man.
Gove (and Cummings) got Covid wildly out of proportion. He was instrumental in enforcing the tyranny that followed.
I fancy he now recognises that as a serious mistake. All that is left for him is facing the public enquiries to follow. Why bother to fight for such a political life?
‘We’ hanged better men at Nuremberg than those two male hysterics.
As for an ‘enquiry’, it will be yet another pointless waste of public funds, when we can ill afford such luxury.
To be fair to Gove, he is a champion of education. His policy of shutting down schools achieved record GCSE results last year, even now we are still above pre-pandemic levels.
The one thing Gove did recently that revealed his political intelligence was support Kemi Badenoch’s bid for number 10.
Michael Gove was Minister for the Cabinet Office from February 2020 to September 2021. Boris Johnson wasn’t running No.10, Gove was. And Gove’s fingerprints were all over every major failure in Johnson’s premiership.
Gove along with Cummings needs to be thrown into the “pit of eternal stench” and forgotten.
Between them these two cretins have squandered the greatest Tory election victory in a generation. There can be no forgiveness.
Not them, others. I don’t especially like or trust either, but they both have a very clear idea of what will have to be done to stop this chaos and incompetence
Gove is the one who authorised the £1.8million and title of “Children’s City of Culture” for ROTHERHAM.
This act alone has undone any good work he may have done at the Education Dept.
He’s a disgusting individual.
Gove is too bright by half and tragically most of the rest are quite the opposite.
Was this article written by his old pal Dominic Cummings under an alias?
Gove is a minister who fully wanted Covid lockdown and Net Zero to be even draconian .Arguably the 2 policies history will most comdemn as destroying the British economy and civil liberties.As a journalist he was an ultra hawk on the Iraq War.As a student he was a Marxist.
In short he is one of many of his generation who has gone from Marxism to being a Neo-Con to being an Enviromentalist.All 3 Utopian ideas.Conservatism was originally about stopping Utopian ideas destroying affluent freedom loving stable societies.
Imagine if Britain over the last 40 years had never had Marxists,Neo-Cons or Enviromentalists influencing our politics
He lost much credibility for me when he was photographed clapping the child Greta Thunberg.
Gove was undoubtedly correct in his assessment of Boris, but I honestly can’t believe he hadn’t known these facts for years. Surely anyone with eyes and any sense of propriety was well aware, at least as early as Boris’s term as London Mayor, that he was completely unfit to lead the country. I assume most Tory MPs all knew this as well, but just felt Boris would win the election for them and they could worry about the implications of that later.
Fine article but Douglas you are too fine a thinker to come out with that too stale cliche so meant to impress: a “world-class” education. An education does not need to be “world-class” whatever that means it simply needs to be good.
I am still reeling from the dreadful punishment of George Osborne’s departure from government.
me too. So sad.
“It seems unlikely that Gove will actually remove himself from frontline politics.”
I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see MG back in a Liz Truss cabinet, she’ll need some people around her who have proved at least halfway competent..
Besides, it would seem fitting as the latest chapter in her rather slavish Thatcher-Cosplay drama.
An Iron Fist in a Velvet Gove
Sadly Truss is no Napoleon.
So true.and an understatement, ..like Prof. Hawking was no Ice Hockey goal minder…
He may have been right about Boris, but certainly wrong to put himself forward as a future prime minister. From what I’ve seen his “mastery of his brief” essentially means that he’s good at parroting the leftist groupthink of Whitehall. The man has seldom expressed a conservative idea.
We can deride the wasted years of the Boris Johnson government, but what’s more sobering is that he was still better than May.
I’ve glanced back through the article, and no mention of Covid. So the “wasted years” of the Johnson government largely consist of pushing Brexit through the seemingly intractable fog he inherited from Theresa May and the House of Commons before immediately becoming embroiled in the pandemic and finally, the aftermath. Absolutely, Johnson allowed himself to be consumed by the howling media due to his faults, but they were faults that the UK electorate pretty much recognised and it’s hardly a positive for Gove that he could see them too. Nor did they make Johnson “unfit to be Prime Minister” – he might’ve done better had Covid not hit, but that’s history now.
In short, this article is politically illiterate, which is something of a surprise given that i normally rate Douglas Murray (no relation!)
The truth is we are all being made poor that is a act of slavery in itself by are dibble dumb leaders.They do not speak for us or deliver for us.The whole media is controlled by the government in this country like we see in China & America nowadays.It’s only when Trump came it shake up the system of the over bearing globalist now they want us too forget he was President.The leaders now rule the world like the Chinese emperors with a India like system by keeping people at the bottom if we don’t do as they say or cancel us for speaking out and being free.
We will let you live like we do if you do as we say like what we like & think and do vote are way.
most of all be a good citizen & do not Judge your leaders.
People’s only freedom now is going too the mall too eat out at Burger King & buying a sofa & I phone.But if you can’t afford it tough with the cost of living tough luck you get too watch them talk about the good times they had at party with god awful people.
Talking about god awful people that’s what Liz Truss will be the moment she’s in office.She seem too be care less about the migrant crisis & the crime wave happening on the streets & young people having knives or anything,All she seem too care about is low taxes that will be promise broken already and talking too ordinary people like a Oxford student.She’s more hell bent on ramping up the war that could get us all Nuked in one blast & I feel that is her mission.The endless pushing of diversity in all of our faces is something they seem too be going ahead with even if people like it or not is one of their policy.The whole woke thing is out of control people get cancel now for saying good morning & expressing a opinion that does not go with the whole system it is madness.
‘after the vote, as the country desperately looked around for a leader, Johnson decided it was the perfect time to host a “boozy barbecue” and a cricket match’.
Oh, shock, horror…
A colleague has met and worked with a number of ministers in the recent Conservative governments and is pretty dismissive of all except Michael Gove, who was, in his view, head and shoulders above all the rest in terms of brains, competence, and the ability to get things actually done.
There was a great article in the DT a couple of months back by Matthew Lynn about how Gove is a one-man economy wrecking-ball. Douglas should read it.
Yes Gove was right about Johnson, the most appalling person to ever hold the keys to Downing Street, but he was also a swivel-eyed lockdown fanatic. He could not have been more wrong about NPIs. To me, that means he can never be forgiven.
So Andrew, as a consequence of Gove’s ‘rightness’ on Johnson, you think it was a good decision to put May in charge as PM, with the subsequent fiasco over the Brexit agreement?
I, as I suspect many others, have mixed views about Gove. There’s no doubt that at Education he overcame the Blob to improve standards. But, on Covid, he was plain wrong. At Ministry of Housing, he seems to have little idea how to “level up”, but maybe that’s not his fault as Housing is hardly the place to start.
Gove. Who cares?