Gove warns teachers, but went on strike too


9:10 am - June 27th 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


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Education Secretary Michael Gove “warned” teachers over the weekend that taking part in Thursday’s strikes would “lose them respect”.

The BBC reported:

But Mr Gove said he had been concerned for some time that teachers were not held in the same high esteem that they were in other countries – and although that had been changing in recent years, he said taking part in strikes could mean that respect is “taken back a little bit”.

But why shouldn’t teachers go on strike when it is their right to do so, in defence of their pensions? And some of these are unions who haven’t been on strike for over a hundred years.

Michael Gove seems so dead set against the idea of strikes that he doesn’t admit he went on strike himself.

On graduating from university, Gove took on a job as a trainee journalist at The Press and Journal in Aberdeen.

There he went on a strike for as long as four months, after his employers de-recognised the National Union of Journalists and made scapegoats of union leaders. Most of his colleagues too were opposed to the newspaper’s actions.

The New Statesman reported a few years ago that Michael Gove was, “an active striker, willingly taking his turn on picket duty and going on a small delegation to Strasbourg to press the union’s case”.

Maybe Gove does know why workers strike when they get pushed too far by employers, but just won’t admit it.

Maybe someone should ask why Gove thinks its wrong for others to strike when he happy to do so himself.

Update: A picture surfaces!

(hat-tip @marmite_)

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Yeah, but that was then, and, er…

Anyway, “Hated MP threatens teachers with loss of respect” is hardly a threat as things stand. Is he actually a lefty mole?

He could be, Eric Pickles is an ‘ex’ member of the Revolutionary Communist Party who seems to be taking as many steps as possible to antagonise the working class into mass protests.

If we do eventually have an Egyptian style revolution, how much of it will have been down to the actions of comrade Pickles in fostering class consciousness through vicious attacks on the poor?

@2

Fat Eric was never a member of the RCP. The first Party he joined was the Tory Party.

The change in his outlook was from an idealist and liberal conservatism to a blatantly populist one, and what provoked it was the Honeyford affair (plenty of bedtime reading for those not familiar with it).

“he doesn’t admit he went on strike himself”

Except to millions on Sunday morning during the Andrew Marr show

I would humbly suggest the article seems to be confused between two things. Firstly, an attempt to persuade teachers that their strike is ill-advised which we would expect from any government minister surely? Are you really telling me a Labour government making cuts would have encouraged strikes against them. Secondly, the right to strike.

In effect, Mr Gove has not said teachers have no right to strike – which you will find most right-wingers accept unreservedly (indeed, the right for government employees to strike against government must surely be present in any properly thought-out right-wing philosophy – otherwise the state has excessive power over its employees in the manner of a totalitarian dictatorship). He has, probably correctly (feel free to dispute this, but remember parents are unlikely to blame Mr Gove for having to arrange childcare for their child on Thursday), pointed out that striking now may damage the reputation of teaching as a whole. And he’s hardly said that teachings’ reputation will collapse, just be set back.

So basically, this is Sunny trying to blow a comment in which Mr Gove suggested striking was professionally a bad idea (not wrong or anything…) into something else. It clearly isn’t – even if I can’t actually find the quote on the BBC website to check context (things like it, but no quote – considering Sunny’s past form on this, I wonder what the rest of the article said?). As Sunny points out, Mr Gove clearly has no problem with striking, but that does not mean he always thinks it is a good idea, especially when it is against his government.

For as long as I can remember I have know teachers strikes. I can’t remember when I stopped respecting teachers, but it has happened. I think it’s about time that the privilege civil servants of this country started to realise that they are being propped up by hard working people who do not have pensions at all and can’t take half of their careers off with stress. It’s time for them to get real and pull their weight in these times of austerity.

7. Flowerpower

Maybe someone should ask why Gove thinks its wrong for others to strike when he happy to do so himself.

Well, the Times DID raise that point with Gove in an interview by Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thompson last week. Little point linking ‘cos of the paywall, so here’s ta paraphrase that captures the gist:

Gove said the strike didn’t do him or his colleagues any good. The experience taught him that strikes were seldom, if ever, the answer.

So, no inconsistency or hypocrisy here then…….

8. blackwillow1

So when he graduated, he understood the value of union membership? And now, he says teachers who strike will lose respect with the public. He’s treating teachers with no respect whatsoever, putting the pensions issue to one side, all the reforms he’s trying to push through will destroy state education. So go ahead and strike teachers, but remember that there are thousands upon thousands of children depending on you to stand up for their future.

Ignore my post about Eric the Red. Certainly no one should search out the Times article where he discusses it.

@5 Well Vince Cable did threaten the unions that if they didn’t toe the line then there would be “pressure” to review the right to strike. Course I’ll let others argue over whether he’s left or right wing. Or indeed liberal.

@ Bookeeping Wiz!

“I can’t remember when I stopped respecting teachers”

Maybe it was when you realised they hadn’t taught you to spell or think coherently. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to take my 6 months of sick leave…

Cylux,

Intesting that it was a Liberal Democrat who said that (never checked out the source mind – can anyone give a link). It does fit with my prejudices (which is not to say there are not right-wing idiots as well – they just haven’t thought things out) in that the Liberals are the least likely to support collectivism, as it provides something other than individual and government. I doubt many Liberals actually take their philosophy that far though…

But that is a very long way from Mr Gove’s statement.

13. Mr S. Pill

Cylux,

Thanks. So he said hit at a union conference? That’s playing to the gallery…

@15 He did get booed for his trouble, which given that his statement amounted to little more than a variation of “I’m not in favour of banning strikes, but…”, was quite generous on the part of the union members present.

Cylux,

To be fair, lynching a government minister would probably be more trouble than it was worth.

Any truth to the theory (which I just made up) that Nick Clegg kindly wrote Mr Cable’s speech for him…

@Thomas 11.

Hi Thomas (or should I say please Sir ?),

I can’t help feeling that you are all on the sick club, it’s my upbringing … I read the Daily Mail ( http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1102799/15-000-teachers-sick-EVERY-day-blamed-stress-ministerial-meddling.html )

Those who can do, those who can’t teach.

@18

” ….I read the Daily Mail ”

I think you’ll find most people on here stopped reading, let alone taking you seriously as soon as they saw that.

A Daily Mail reading not-quite accountant? ROFL!

@ 8. blackwillow1…Thank you! I am striking on Thursday.

So far parents are being supportive. Michael Gove is clearly a plonker. We already had reforms to teacher pensions a few years ago with painful concessions but they were agreed and were still affordable. They won’t be anymore if these new reforms go ahead as we will be paying approx £90 MORE each month on top of what we pay already for pensions.

poacher turned gamekeeper… the worst kind of hypocrit.

Do as I say as a minister not as I did when I was young principled free thinking member of an organised collective!!

It is not as though these changes are to make pensions affordable and sustainable it is simply to pay down the defecit. How can anyone in the private sector say that its ok for the public sector to pay for the defecit with their pensions?

Unless of course first to the bottom wins?

The fact that this article has not been corrected, in light of what SL has alluded to here (http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/06/27/michael-gove-warns-teachers-but-he-also-went-on-strike/#comment-282086) and what I tweeted to Sunny here (https://twitter.com/#!/misplacedswag/status/85261423743217664), is embarrassing.
Gove has admitted in two separate places that he went on strike, but that this didn’t change anything, therefore he believes strikes are seldom purposeful—a logically correct argument, which basically dismantles the premisses on which this piece is constructed. Arguably, it shouldn’t even remain extant.

He’s a media tart – the Katie Price of the Tory Party, but without the assets – he’ll say anything or do anything providing it gets his picture or a mention in the press.

He doesn’t seem to have the concept of thinking things through – private education seems to lack this segment of the curriculum.

He’s now hated by Mumsnet for suggesting that parents break the strike. So I expect his Eton Blue Bullingdon chums will have a quiet word.

26. Art Vandelay

I stopped taking Gove seriously when he appeared on the BBC talking about the student protests with his tie draped over his shoulder…

@25 “hated by mumsnet?” Oh my god! What politician would risk such a thing!

Most of the mums I know hate the quasi-fascist, smug, self-appointed harridans that run a website used by a few thousand (out of millions) mothers who can’t be bothered to get dressed and do other, more useful, stuff.

Gove is being neither deceitful nor hypocritical here. He has been open about his past and isn’t suggesting that teachers should never strike. Where is the story?

Eh? If one strike is OK then so are all?

I’m particularly amused at the “And some of these are unions who haven’t been on strike for over a hundred years.”… because as I remember only too well from the yearly strikes when I was at a school, some of them have.

Perhaps we could have an article detailing what financial concessions the teachers have already made?

HA. HA.

Muppet.

That is all.

If you read into the history of that strike it was a disaster for the workers and for the union – a textbook case of militant strike action to make leaders feel good rather than to actually help their members. Perhaps Gove has learned from the experience, something that Sunny has signally failed to do? See here for more:
http://www.crashbangwallace.com/2011/06/28/the-secret-history-behind-michael-goves-opposition-to-strikes/

More to the point, why is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad standing infront of the banner in the white jacket? O.o

michael gove is an idiot without a sense of balance

Look at this u tube clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAqyf7a4xFM

33. HampsteadOwl

It thus came as some surprise to discover, as the questioning continued, that Mr Gove had himself once been, in the words of Labour member Bill Sefton, a “staunch trade unionist” and had gone on strike. A picture has surfaced of young Gove on the picket line, the future Secretary of State being instantly recognisable as the only one whose placard contains semi-colons. “I lost my job as a result of taking industrial action”, Mr Gove solemnly informed the House, using this observation to draw the deeper moral that going on strike never solves anything. If there was a shallower moral for teachers to draw that going on strike gets you fired, Mr Gove was too refined to say so. One would no more expect such Tebbitry from him than you would dockyard language from the Queen at an investiture.

Read more from my review of yesterday’s Gove statement here:
http://organisedhypocrisy.wordpress.com/


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike http://bit.ly/jnn1fT

  2. Aaron Chandra

    Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike http://bit.ly/jnn1fT

  3. sunny hundal

    Education sec. Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike after graduating http://bit.ly/jnn1fT (via @marmite_)

  4. Sam Morecorft

    Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike http://bit.ly/jnn1fT

  5. Joanna Nadin

    Education sec. Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike after graduating http://bit.ly/jnn1fT (via @marmite_)

  6. Ed Brown

    Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike http://bit.ly/jnn1fT

  7. David Colquhoun

    RT @sunny_hundal: Education sec Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike after graduating http://bit.ly/jnn1fT (via @marmite_)

  8. Oliver Jones

    Education sec. Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike after graduating http://bit.ly/jnn1fT (via @marmite_)

  9. Samuel West

    Michael Gove thinks it's wrong for others to strike but is happy to do it himself. RT @libcon http://t.co/UDnkzrt

  10. marilyn

    Michael Gove thinks it's wrong for others to strike but is happy to do it himself. RT @libcon http://t.co/UDnkzrt

  11. Rupert

    “@libcon: Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike http://t.co/VXt9B05” Mouth open an story jump out! RT!

  12. Geoffrey Pearson

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  13. Just Another Gooner

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  14. Karen Shane

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  15. sham raj

    Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike http://bit.ly/jnn1fT

  16. Andrew Girvan

    Michael Gove condemns strikers, but took industrial action himself as a trainee journo in Aberdeen http://bit.ly/jnn1fT /via @exitthelemming

  17. Jack Scott

    Education sec. Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike after graduating http://bit.ly/jnn1fT (via @marmite_)

  18. Max Hernández Calvo

    RT @libcon: Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike http://bit.ly/jnn1fT

  19. Steve Ainsworth

    RT @libcon: Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike http://bit.ly/jnn1fT

  20. Motivated&Competent

    Education sec. Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike after graduating http://bit.ly/jnn1fT (via @marmite_)

  21. Kayleigh Anne

    Education sec. Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike after graduating http://bit.ly/jnn1fT (via @marmite_)

  22. Darren Swee Kong Lee

    Education sec. Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike after graduating http://bit.ly/jnn1fT (via @marmite_)

  23. Concetta Sidoti

    Michael Gove thinks it's wrong for others to strike but is happy to do it himself. RT @libcon http://t.co/UDnkzrt

  24. Paul Shipstone

    Don't let Gove put you off striking… http://t.co/fGYE9HC

  25. Kath Allen

    Michael Gove thinks it's wrong for others to strike but is happy to do it himself. RT @libcon http://t.co/UDnkzrt

  26. Nadine Ishani

    Michael Gove thinks it's wrong for others to strike but is happy to do it himself. RT @libcon http://t.co/UDnkzrt

  27. Sarah Harris

    Education sec. Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike after graduating http://bit.ly/jnn1fT (via @marmite_)

  28. Sandwell Green Party

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  29. Hali

    Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike http://bit.ly/jnn1fT

  30. Andy

    Michael Gove thinks it's wrong for others to strike but is happy to do it himself. RT @libcon http://t.co/UDnkzrt

  31. Bern O'Donoghue

    Education sec. Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike after graduating http://bit.ly/jnn1fT (via @marmite_)

  32. Jason Mcintyre

    Education sec. Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike after graduating http://bit.ly/jnn1fT (via @marmite_)

  33. Michelle McCabe

    Michael Gove thinks it's wrong for others to strike but is happy to do it himself. RT @libcon http://t.co/UDnkzrt

  34. Jill Hayward

    Michael Gove thinks it's wrong for others to strike but is happy to do it himself. RT @libcon http://t.co/UDnkzrt

  35. Zoe W.

    Michael Gove thinks it's wrong for others to strike but is happy to do it himself. RT @libcon http://t.co/UDnkzrt

  36. Claire

    RT @sunny_hundal: Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike after graduating http://bit.ly/jnn1fT (via @marmite_) FOR 4 MONTHS!

  37. Dan

    Education sec. Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike after graduating http://bit.ly/jnn1fT (via @marmite_)

  38. Jo Watkins

    Michael Gove thinks it's wrong for others to strike but is happy to do it himself. RT @libcon http://t.co/UDnkzrt

  39. gwyn bailey

    Hypocrite or what? Or another u-turn? RT @libcon: Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike http://t.co/atp2mEU

  40. Theo Smith

    Education sec. Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike after graduating http://bit.ly/jnn1fT (via @marmite_)

  41. Matthew Cochrane

    Michael Gove went on strike for 4 months when he was a journalist http://bit.ly/lLxIj6 Though that wouldn't really discredit the profession…

  42. Michael Wombat

    Michael Gove went on strike for 4 months when he was a journalist http://bit.ly/lLxIj6 Though that wouldn't really discredit the profession…

  43. LJ O'Sullivan

    I see Gove is employing the old "Do as I say not as I do" Tory paternalism http://t.co/MXUGqdi

  44. alezed

    Michael Gove went on strike for 4 months when he was a journalist http://bit.ly/lLxIj6 Though that wouldn't really discredit the profession…

  45. Michelle Graham

    Michael Gove thinks it's wrong for others to strike but is happy to do it himself. RT @libcon http://t.co/UDnkzrt

  46. Roger Willis

    Michael Gove thinks it's wrong for others to strike but is happy to do it himself. RT @libcon http://t.co/UDnkzrt

  47. joker

    Michael Gove went on strike for 4 months when he was a journalist http://bit.ly/lLxIj6 Though that wouldn't really discredit the profession…

  48. Griffin Brighton

    “@libcon: Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike http://t.co/UYVK2P1” what pension does give get? Anyone know?

  49. Brodie Ross

    Michael Gove thinks it's wrong for others to strike but is happy to do it himself. RT @libcon http://t.co/UDnkzrt

  50. Mark McCormack

    Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike http://bit.ly/jnn1fT

  51. Claire

    Michael Gove went on strike for 4 months when he was a journalist http://bit.ly/lLxIj6 Though that wouldn't really discredit the profession…

  52. David Cameroon

    Oo-er, ok, so Michael Gove is something of a hypocrite: http://bit.ly/jnn1fT /via @sunny_hundal

  53. Lucy Johnston

    Oo-er, ok, so Michael Gove is something of a hypocrite: http://bit.ly/jnn1fT /via @sunny_hundal

  54. Emily Davis

    Education sec. Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike after graduating http://bit.ly/jnn1fT (via @marmite_)

  55. dolly daydream

    Oo-er, ok, so Michael Gove is something of a hypocrite: http://bit.ly/jnn1fT /via @sunny_hundal

  56. Thomas Hemingford

    Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike http://bit.ly/jnn1fT

  57. Jami Rogers

    Michael Gove thinks it's wrong for others to strike but is happy to do it himself. RT @libcon http://t.co/UDnkzrt

  58. Clive Burgess

    Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike http://bit.ly/jnn1fT

  59. Pictured: Hypocrite Michael Gove on a trade union picket line | Political Scrapbook

    […] and Journal, distributed across the northern counties of Scotland. Liberal Conspiracy reports that he went on a strike for as long as four months after his employers de-recognised the National […]

  60. Vegan Panda

    Michael #Gove's a fucking hypocrite!! http://t.co/XILeuS7 #workersrighttostrike #J30 #Unison #PCS #NUT #RMT #GMB #ATL #ToryScum #June30

  61. jonathan percival

    Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike http://bit.ly/jnn1fT

  62. Esma Levendoglu

    Education sec. Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike after graduating http://bit.ly/jnn1fT (via @marmite_)

  63. Esma Levendoglu

    Education sec. Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike after graduating http://bit.ly/jnn1fT (via @marmite_)

  64. Esma Levendoglu

    Education sec. Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike after graduating http://bit.ly/jnn1fT (via @marmite_)

  65. Esma Levendoglu

    Education sec. Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike after graduating http://bit.ly/jnn1fT (via @marmite_)

  66. Amber of the Island

    Gove warns teachers, but went on strike too | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/bk3sB9a via @libcon

  67. Natacha Kennedy

    Gormless, hapless, witless, brainless, hypocritical, cack-handed, unprincipled…#Gove http://bit.ly/lLxIj6

  68. Natacha Kennedy

    Gove warns teachers, but went on strike too | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/bk3sB9a via @libcon

  69. Reni Eddo-Lodge

    Gove warns teachers, but went on strike too | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ToimNZz via @libcon

  70. kirst

    Gove warns teachers, but went on strike too | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ToimNZz via @libcon

  71. Kevin Donovan

    Gove warns teachers, but went on strike too | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/RijbWUw via @libcon

  72. Chris Barker

    One rule for Tory MP, different rule for everyone else – http://t.co/h5fs9E1 via @libcon

  73. Matt Pope

    Gove warns teachers, but went on strike too. http://t.co/nJsozs0 via @libcon

  74. Chris Bramall

    @Indepedant Thanks for RT @davecameroon "Oo-er, ok, so Michael Gove is something of a hypocrite" http://t.co/Toj6nnv /

  75. Kath Posner

    so it's ok for Gove to go on strike, but not for teachers apparently http://t.co/Cu8ZW0N via @libcon

  76. Joe Flatman

    Gove warns teachers, but went on strike too. http://t.co/nJsozs0 via @libcon

  77. The secret history behind Michael Gove’s opposition to strikes « Crash Bang Wallace

    […] Conspiracy have unearthed an interesting fact about Michael Gove – the Minister who strongly criticises striking teachers this week was himself once a […]

  78. Dave Bonner

    Gove warns teachers, but went on strike too. http://t.co/nJsozs0 via @libcon

  79. Daniel Pitt

    Michael Gove warns teachers, but he too went on strike http://t.co/FyWxGtV #ConDemNation

  80. Broken OfBritain

    Gove warns teachers, but went on strike too | Liberal Conspiracy http://fb.me/JLVIQB3k

  81. Stella K

    Gove warns teachers, but went on strike too | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/FXl1hFA via @libcon

  82. tamar feast

    Gove warns teachers, but went on strike too | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/cQXa1jR via @libcon





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