A Miserable Apology from Tom Watson MP

This is a cross-post from a Rabbit’s Eye View of the Hyperborean North.

As much of a pipsqueak as I think Michael Gove is, my teeth ground when Labour MP, Tom Watson called him a “miserable pipsqueak of a man” in response to the inept release of details of the revised Building Future Schools programme this week.

Some two dozen schools in England and Wales were wrongly told that they complied with the new assessment, before being told an administrative error meant they did not.

He can embarrass himself; he can disgrace his party; but what is intolerable is that he has cynically raised the hopes of hundreds and thousands of families. You’re a miserable pipsqueak of a man, Gove!

Hardly Winston Churchill versus Bessie Braddock. Rather appropriately, in the home-shot YouTube recording above, there is a parent saying “Shhhh” to a gurgling baby as Watson goes into apoplexy.

Watson would have known that he would immediately be censured by the Speaker. His response “in deference to you, Mr. Bercow, I apologize” simply made him sound insincere. At least Andy Kerr and Alex Salmond MSPs appeared genuinely surprised when the Presiding Officer at the Scottish Parliament reprimanded them for calling [Salmond] “a numpty” and [Jim Murphy MP] “a sap” respectively.

This was an almighty cock-up from Gove’s office, not a cynical manipulation as Watson claimed. Plus, false confirmations may have been flashed around local parents’ campaign groups, but I doubt even single percentage points of those “hundreds of thousands of families” would have heard about it until they heard in news reports that their schools did not comply.

In fact, I would go on to say that the only people who will use this cynically… whoops, sorry… for political campaign purposes (without admission that no school has been promised the money outright) are individuals like Watson and other Labour campaigners. And Sunny Hundal.

We have more of this to look forward to.