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“Assemblage of Sops”

John Rentoul

michael gove education martingodwin guardian 300x180 Assemblage of SopsSentence of the Day is this 129-word put-down from Michael Gove’s letter to his shadow, Stephen Twigg:

I am sure your speech was the result of a well-thought-through reflection on schools policy and all of the above questions were considered, and fully addressed, in preparation for your announcement and so you will be able to reply promptly and put to rest the idea, which more and more people are regrettably succumbing to, that Labour schools policy is a confusing, uncertain and incoherent assemblage of sops to the trades unions and local authorities which reflects poorly on the intellectual rigour and moral courage of the current Labour frontbench in comparison with all previous Oppositions, confirms the risible weakness of the Labour leadership in the face of vested interests, and risks undermining the hard work of all those great teachers who are driving up standards in schools today.

So well written that I didn’t even notice it was a single sentence until Isabel Hardman pointed it out.

Twigg’s reply, though, is, as Hardman says, just as good:

I fear, however, that you will continue to while away the hours sending letters to me, writing forewords to the Bible and dreaming up new names for GCSEs.

Brevity and soul: Twigg’s the winner.

Photograph: Martin Godwin/Guardian

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  • Pacificweather

    Not only is Twigg the winner in literary terms but also in truthful terms. It was Margaret Thatcher who perpetuated the failing comprehensives an Labour that made great strides in overcoming he trade union and local authority objection to their reforms. Gove has never been a man to let truth and objectivity cloud his judgement.

  • porkfright

    So well written-that? It falls far short of the “Beecher’s Brook of modern literature” sentence which opens up the 1174 pages of “A Glastonbury Romance”. Gove should read it-and so should you.

  • Julian

    Twigg’s reply is unfortunately let down by referring to Gove as “a pigeon carrier for Lynton Crosby’s gimmicks”. A carrier pigeon, surely.


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