If some enemy had wanted to craft a malformed news story that would render me maximally angry, this would probably do it; News International to sponsor a Gove Academy, somewhere near Wapping, as if they hadn’t done enough damage.
Apparently Rebekah (Wade) Brooks is behind the idea - this is interesting, as her specialist subject within the Murdosphere since being promoted out of the Sun seems to be managing the relationship with the Conservatives. Not many journalists actually marry the prime minister’s neighbour - which sounds curiously similar to the Navy phrase “kissing the gunner’s daughter”, being bent over a gun for a flogging - but she did it. Apparently it’s easier to maintain one’s privacy in Oxfordshire.
It wouldn’t be the first time that the St Blair’s Academy/Michael Gove School of Administrative Pedantry programme has been used as a means of crawling to the government. Rolling back the years to 2007, let’s remember the story of Anthony Bailey, PR man to BAE, the Saudis, and the Vatican, and the proud owner of his very own order of chivalry. His CV is online,has been updated as recently as July 2010, and makes amusing reading:
Knight Commander of Merit with Star of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George and Knight Commander of the Royal Order of Francis I (NAPLES)
You wonder what Norman Lewis would have made of him.
Anyway, Bailey organised something called the Faith Task Force, which solicited donations for the Labour Party from rich god-botherers of various stripes. As well as Labour, his donors typically also gave generously to academy projects. Perhaps the fact that Bailey was on the board of the United Learning Trust, a multiple academy sponsor, was somehow associated with this.
But the genuinely interesting bit was that while he was drumming up donations for academy projects from people who wanted to curry favour with Tony Blair, the head of the Specialist Schools & Academies Trust was of the opinion that giving money to academies, as well as to Labour, was a good way to acquire a title of honour. It later turned out that such was the case.
Perhaps this explains why so many politicians seem to like the academy concept - it offers so much scope for lobbying, palm-greasing, crawling, and related arts.