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by Louise Wilson
11 May 2022
Sketch: The many voices of Michael Gove

Sketch: The many voices of Michael Gove

Michael Gove is an “effective Cabinet communicator,” according to the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson. It’s just unfortunate that what Gove seemed to be communicating is that Boris Johnson is actually the cream of the crop in the Conservative Party, which says a lot about the Conservative Party.

Deployed to defend yesterday’s Queen’s Son’s Speech, which contained no immediate measures to support those struggling with rising bills, Gove appears to have had some sort of nervous breakdown on BBC Breakfast.

It started off poorly.

Does the government appreciate the depths of despair some people are in right now, asked interviewer Dan Walker. “Yes,” replied Gove. He did not elucidate further.

Walker pressed for more information. Gove insisted the government is “on the side of people facing tough times”. It just isn’t doing anything to actually help them, though families will at least be pleased to know they have ministers’ moral support.

Gove confirmed the Prime Minister had held a Cabinet meeting last night to talk about the different responsibilities of ministers and what support can be provided. Is there any detail? Apparently not.

“Every day we are thinking hard,” insisted the levelling up secretary. Just not thinking hard about the cost-of-living crisis. More about how to save BoJo’s skin.

You can almost imagine the meeting. Johnson: “We’re out of ideas, lads. How do we save my job?” Gove helpfully raises his hand and says: “What if I do something weird to take the pressure off?” “Yes, good, go ahead,” replies Johnson.

And so live, in front of millions of viewers, Gove does his best Weebles impression. “We are constantly looking at ideas in order to ensure that we relieve the pressure on people who are facing incredibly tough times, but that doesn’t amount to,” here he switches to a strange voice and begins wobbling earnestly, “an emergency budget.”

He goes on to accuse commentators of taking a “commonsensical” statement into – cue weird American accent – a “major, capital letters Big News Story”.

“When the Treasury quite rightly say,” Gove sits a little straighter to do his best The Scousers impression, “calm down,” back to received pronunciation again but smirking at his own media brilliance, “then people, instead of recognising that they’ve overinflated the story in the first place, say ‘oh, this is clearly a split’.” He adds a wiggle again for good measure.

But when the bizarro interview was raised at the briefing with the PM’s spokesperson, press were simply told Gove “uses a variety of means to get the message across”.

Does he ever use funny voices and accents at Cabinet meetings?

“Not in the ones I’ve been at.”

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