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Toby Young
Thursday 31st January 2013

Suzanne Moore's attack on Michael Gove is a hysterical, ill-informed rant


Suzanne Moore, the journalist at the centre of the recent controversy about transexualism, is on safer ground in today's Guardian. She's launched an hysterical, ill-informed attack on Michael Gove. Below is my fisk of her piece.

One of the main things I learn as I age is just how much I don't know. Last week alone, I learned that I am clueless when it comes to putting together a TV stand from Ikea, making something "unscary" out of turkey mince, understanding the formulas in Brian Cox's new show or making a bored, tired child do pointless homework.

If the homework your child is being set is "pointless", and she's at a local authority-run school, that's not exactly a ringing endorsement of the status quo, is it?

Such modesty, I am sure, is what stands between me and a cabinet post (oh, and the small detail of not being a bloke, in the Tory party or even an MP, but that's just for sticklers).

Non sequitur claxon: You don't need to be a bloke, a member of the Tory Party or an MP to be in the present cabinet. (To read more, click here.)

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Re: Suzanne Moore
Posted by Walters on 31-01-2013 13:25:

In a free country, we have the right to hold an opinion. Leveson aside, it is true that published conflicts of opinion have the potential to be cathartic, as well as catalytic – and there are those who say that securing a validated platform from which to express one’s views, loudly, should be considered a matter of good luck, not judgment. After all, there are many individuals in the ‘free’ world whose equally valid opinions are never, ever heard.

Indeed, perhaps the greatest shame of all is that our allusion to democracy in this country comprises an opportunity for the masses to ostensibly voice *their* opinions on just one day in every four years, and that our interim attendance upon one side of an argument or another can be demonstrated only by our support of the media voicing an opinion on our behalf … in one apolitical direction or the other.

Here, Ms. Moore’s criticism of Gove shows how sad it is that the state of good fortune, privilege and responsibility imbuing those oratory positions is far too often unappreciated. It is more often badly abused, than it is well used. As a caricature, her copy could have been amusing – but as serious comment? Mr. Young is correct: it was hysterical.

How refreshing then, that – when we are subjected to misconceived tirades of derisory comment, validating such an opinion via the mass media and giving credibility to the speaker – there are still voices of reason, such as Mr. Young’s, who are able to speak up for those of us constantly frustrated at being unheard and unrepresented in the resulting fracas that contributes mainly to the publishers’ balance sheets, and occasionally the counties' landfill sites.

I came under attack recently for criticising the standard of English language demonstrated by Cameron’s Social Media team. However, their contribution to Twitter – on behalf of a leader who, whether he likes it or not, has an obligation to effect higher standards than most – should leave a bitter taste in the mouth of anyone expressing faith in the education system we’ve had to endure under the last Government.

Without an environment in which you are taught what is right, and what is wrong; without a forum in which your performance can be measured against a standard by which you are deemed to have failed, or succeeded; without the harsh reality-check of discipline and an education system that can afford our children the basic tenets of a sound education – such as universal English literacy and numeracy – this country’s children are being betrayed by the parents who are governing it.

Everyone should have the right to a good education - we're on the way, but it's a long journey. However, it would seem that not everyone has learned that being granted permission to write, implies a duty to taking care with your words and getting your facts right.

In summary – that was excellent, Mr. Young; absolutely spot on.






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