Schoolteachers rejoiced across the country as the news spread that Education Secretary, Michael Gove has been reassigned to be the Chief Whip of the Tory Party. With little less than a year of the Coalition Government, the notoriously controversial Education minister has taken a significant pay cut to be demoted to a position made famous by the “Plebgate” scandal.

Critics are speculating that the removal of Gove is the start of a New Order within the Cabinet. In a reshuffle that saw the resignation of Ken Clarke and the removal of Foreign Secretary, William Hague (replaced by Philip Hammond) four more women have joined the cabinet. Is this a sign that perhaps the stodgy outlook of the Conservatives has changed?

This is highly unlikely. It appears that Cameron is only willing to make superficial amendments to his Cabinet and it is only a cursory move to allow more women into the Cabinet in the hopes of attaining more votes from women. As it stands, the highest profile female Cabinet minister is Home Secretary Theresa May. While Gove may have been replaced by Nicky Morgan, it is unlikely that in the last few months of this term that she will make too many waves in the Education department.

Gove certainly made himself unpopular. It is true that his ideas did have merit but too many of them were idealistic and hard to implement, his reforms and his plans were the bane of many schoolteachers across the country. Gove nicknamed his rivals as the Blob, too many of the most influential figures in schooling joined this group. From students to governors, Gove made enemies everywhere.

Not only did Gove rather unwisely name his rivals as The Blob, but he did not do too much better within the constraints of his own party. He had criticised Cameron’s inner circle for having too many Etonians, disregarding the fact that many would see him as one of the elite due to his Oxford University education. Even more recently, Gove’s high-profile slugging match with Home Secretary Theresa May made the headlines.

The party line for Chief Whip is that Gove will be more central in the Party, but it is not a promotion but rather a demotion. The job comes with a £30,000 pay decrease and Gove will no longer be able to continue his crusade against schooling. Perhaps Cameron’s hope is that pushing Gove away from the civil service will keep any offences he may have committed to a minimum level, alas for Cameron it may be too little too late.

As for the supposed New Order, there are only five women in the Cabinet as ministers, this is far from adequate. These late changes are shallow and show that Cameron is worried enough to be appearing conciliatory, but the truth is that while Gove’s replacement may be a woman and may cause less offence, the fact of the matter is that the damage has been done. In fact the impact may be so long lasting that saying goodbye to Gove will have done nothing for the supposed New Order.


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