Michael Gove

While claims that Michael Gove will replace the chair of Britain’s schools inspectorate with a Tory donor splashed the papers earlier this week, regular Scrapbook readers may have been less than surprised — as the education secretary is absolutely shameless in placing Tories in supposedly non-political roles.

Leaving genuine political advisers to one side, here’s a run-down of his cronies:

£2M EDUCATION CONTRACTS TO 25 YEAR-OLD TORY ADVISER

Gove didn’t trust civil servants to deliver his Free Schools policy. So he awarded a £500,000 contractditching the tendering process designed to ensure impartiality — to his 25 year-old former adviser Rachel Wolf. This was followed up by another £1.5m contract. New Schools Network is now led by the former deputy director of Policy Exchange, the think tank founded by Gove.

SHOE-HORNING TORIES INTO THE CIVIL SERVICE

While the rest of Whitehall endured a money-saving freeze on external recruitment, Gove ignored this to pack his comms team with true believers:

  • James Frayne was formerly campaigns director at the TaxPayers’ Alliance before being brought in to be director of communications
  • Six months later Gabriel Milland was appointed DfE head of news from Policy Exchange, the think tank which Michael Gove founded

In March 2011, Gove again flouted a civil service recruitment freeze in order to advertise externally for two speech writers. Can you hazard a guess where they came from?

  • In a transparent ruse, Elena Narozanski left as his special adviser in February 2011 before being re-appointed as one of the speech writers a month later.
  • Alexandra Gowlland was a former researcher for Tory minister Nick Gibb. She is still the DfE’s chief speech writer and head of the visits team

DfE BOARD: TORY DONORS AND 28 YEAR-OLD ON £105,000

Gove’s enforced partisanship extends to the highest levels of the department:

  • Board member John Nash was a £300,000 Tory donor and was eventually ennobled to become a Lords education minister in 2013
  • As a Tory donor and a trustee of Policy ExchangeTheodore Agnew is doubly blessed
  • You don’t have to be a donor though. Former Tory HQ staffer Tom Shinner was over-promoted to be the department’s £105,000 director of strategy — a role usually requiring years of senior civil service experience.

OFSTED staff could be forgiven for ordering a ‘David Ross’ door name plate already.

  1. Thorn da Costa says:

    The frailty of the underlying design can only be emphasised by the desperate, and I can’t believe not penalty causing, padding of his ranks.
    Guess he’s learned from the historical SOB of the Tory Party. Put the cogs of your coverups in place well ahead of time. It makes for a smoother denial!

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