The Education Secretary Mr Gove has disclosed he was beaten twice while at Robert Gordons College, an all-boys secondary school, in Aberdeen by teachers while he was trying to talk to them on a visit there last week.
Speaking at a meeting organised by The Daily Telegraph , Mr Gove was asked by Telegraph columnist Peter Oborne if he was “thrashed” while he was there last week.
Mr Gove replied:
Yes I was. In Scotland they tend not to use the cane against wayward education secretaries these days, they have something called the ‘tawse’, a leather belt they use on Tories who make the mistake of coming north of the border instead. I was belted on my hand a couple of times when I was at the school, mainly for cheek, insubordination and sheer rudeness towards the teaching staff.
Pressed as to whether it ‘did him good’, Mr Gove admitted that it probably did:
I was a cheeky beggar to the teachers and I probably needed to be taken in hand.
But I don’t think you should hit ministers myself. I understand why a lot of people feel the need to instil more discipline in government representatives these days but there are lots of other ways we can deal with them, such as making them stand in the corner with a dunce’s cap on and listen to my speeches on a tape loop. On the whole we are probably definitely better off not hitting our politicians.
Mr Gove also lamented declining standards of behaviour in parliament, and suggested that more former army officers should be recruited to help instil discipline among members of David Cameron’s cabinet:
I am particularly keen to secure more retired and non-commissioned and warrant officers and army officers, to get more of them using their knowledge and experience to do something about the appalling standards of behaviour by out-of-control government ministers.
Related articles by Tom Pride:
Act Of Gove: an event beyond human control – often of a destructive nature – for which there is no legal redress
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