It’s probably too early to settle on how the Gove revelations will affect his leadership campaign, but as of today it seems like there’s and awful lot of criticism, hypocrisy, conflict and smug triumphalism flying around the poor man. On the one hand he is acknowledged for having come clean, then on the other he is admonished for the taking of drugs that clearly damage lives (though not his, apparently, nor many people who carry on the party popping with impunity). Also, the calling out of blatant hypocrisy for having taken stances against drug use as a poltician, while knowing all along he was one of them. There will be more stances, of course. The media love a good drug scandal for some reason. Perhaps it is because it is so straightforward. Drugs are bad, man takes drugs, man is bad. You can modify the syllogism however you like, but Govey doesn’t come out well.
Except, he should be able to. OK, not ‘well’ so much as ‘human’. I doubt it will go that way, and as the crowds flock to witness another public figure laid low by their own frailty, I can’t help being saddened at how it always goes. Still, there’s always Donald Trump to get you thinking.
Trump, where all roads lead, merely admitted to grabbing a woman’s genitalia, and also bragged about it. He has been shown to have shaken hands with terrorists, he has all but had to acknowledge he had a sexual liaison with another woman whilst married to his present wife, and then paid her off to keep quiet. He openly speaks of people as nasty, dumb as rocks, crooked and so on, and belittles anyone who crosses his path, and yes, even Trump is human.
In all likehood, however, Trump (unlike Gove) will continue to succeed in his political career and be re-elected in 2020, whereas if Gove is lucky he will simply fade away as a leadership candidate and the media will move on.
The differences between these two men? Arrogance, humility, frailty and self-awareness. Also access to power and influence that leaks from his own narcissistic greed. Pick out which relates to whom. Your choice.
Gove is hardly my favourite poltician. He has behaved ridiculously as a minister throughout the 2010s. Before that he was pretty silly as a shadow minister. He introduced wrong-headed policies into the education system, showed a degree of arrogance with his own ‘authorised’ KJV gift to schools. He lied to us all on the side of a bus and then denounced his support for Johnson after the referendum debacle. He fills me with little confidence as a serious politician, and yet I warm to his admission and his openness regarding his regret about his cocaine use. He is a good example, and yet his goodness is being hidden away by a media who can only report on black-or-white narratives. They offer no analysis into the public arena, only throwing fallen politicians to the lions and then reporting on the savergry that follows. They breed lions and then are filled with faux remorse when one gets a bit peckish.
Trump, on the other hand, withstands the horror of the media frenzy by just powering through, with his appalling ego and his arrogant followers. He is invincible because the editors realise that in him they have a permanent story, the goose that keeps laying the golden egg. His groping hands, his lying and cheating, his whole life, is the story itself. The people love it because it reads so easily., there are no policies to get caught up in, only outspoken and desperate attempts to be stern and harsh. He has no idea what either of those mean, although he has heard about them, and so he throws them around like a child mimics their parents’ profanities. Trump has no grounding in a moral structure. Gove is knee deep in structures. Trump knows that people think he’s done bad stuff, but he simply does not care because he has never had to. Gove, for all his oddities and peculiar attitudes, grew out of a sensible family structure. He was a typical middle class kid, taught humility even though he never quite got it (until now, perhaps?) Trump has nothing on which to base his ethics other than the fight to win and the need to reframe losing so it seems like winning.
Don’t get me started on Johnson, B.