Michael Gove: Flipper

Michael GoveMichael Gove talked about people living beyond their means, and Labour spending too much on welfare, and claimed this justified the Tory/LibDem cuts cuts cuts workfare cuts.

Michael Gove used to work for Rupert Murdoch as a journalist at The Times, until he was selected as the new Conservative candidate for the safe seat of Surrey Heath in the 2005 election.

Gove and his wife Sarah Vine, had bought a nice house in Kensington for £430,000 in 2002.

Between December 2005 and April 2006, Michael Gove used the Additional Costs Allowance (meant for an MP to claim for their second home) to claim more than £7000 for furnishing this house:

Around a third of the money was spent at Oka, an upmarket interior design company established by Lady Annabel Astor, Mr Cameron’s mother-in-law.

Items claimed by Michael Gove for his “second home” – which was not in his constituency and which he and his wife had bought before he was selected by the Surrey Heath Conservative association – include:

  • A Chinon armchair: £331
  • A Manchu cabinet: £493
  • A pair of elephant lamps: £134.50
  • A Loire table: £750
  • A birch Camargue chair: £432
  • A birdcage coffee table: £238.50
  • A dishwasher: £454
  • A Range cooker: £639
  • A fridge-freezer: £702
  • A Kenwood toaster: £19.99
  • A cot mattress from Toys ‘R’ Us: £34.99
  • 8 coffee spoons and cake forks, £5.95 each

Then in 2006, Michael Gove bought himself a house in his constituency for £395,000. He charged us £13,259 for the move, plus over £500 for a night at the Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa:

Within 123 acres of rolling Surrey parkland lies a luxury country house hotel accompanied by the UK’s Most Excellent Spa.

Wonderfully located between Ascot, Sunningdale and Wentworth and only 45 minutes from the centre of London, our spa hotel in Surrey offers everything from tennis and unmatchable five-star spa breaks to its own golf course, superb dining and impeccable service.

He then flipped his second-home allowance to the house in his constituency, and routinely claimed the maximum amount MPs were entitled to claim from Additional Costs Allowance: £22,110 in 2006-2007, £23,083 in 2007-2008.

When asked about this after the expenses leaked in 2009, Michael Gove said he would repay the £34.99 for the cot mattress, as items for children are explicitly not allowed under the Commons allowances. But:

The other items bought for his London home “were all, with one exception, below the acceptable threshold costs for furniture”.
“The items were bought from a mainstream retailer and when I was informed that they fell outside the range of allowable items I accepted that ruling without complaint,” he added.
The £13,259 moving costs were necessary, he said, so that he could have a home in the constituency “to effectively discharge my parliamentary duties”.

So when Michael Gove says he thinks people should live within their means, let’s consider his own record. Is this a man in the slightest bit interested in saving taxpayer’s money or living within his means? Is this a man who looks ethical or reasonable?

What kind of man gets elected to Parliament and promptly spends £7000 to buy luxury goods for a house he moved into three years earlier?

Update, October 2013: When the Daily Mail launched its attack on Ralph Miliband, Ed Miliband’s dead father, though other Conservative Cabinet ministers spoke out against the Mail’s smearing of a dead man who had never been a politician, Michael Gove called this a “robust press”.

Update, January 2013: Michael Gove on Blackadder:

“Our understanding of the war has been overlaid by misunderstandings, and misrepresentations which reflect an, at best, [an] ambiguous attitude to this country and, at worst, an unhappy compulsion on the part of some to denigrate virtues such as patriotism, honour and courage,” he writes in the Daily Mail.

“The conflict has, for many, been seen through the fictional prism of dramas such as Oh! What a Lovely War, The Monocled Mutineer and Blackadder, as a misbegotten shambles – a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite.

Blackadder Goes Forth is a comedy, of course. But Michael Gove arguing that comedy shows “an unhappy compulsion on the part of some to denigrate virtues such as patriotism, honour and courage”, that the “fictional prism” which depicts WWI as a “misbegotten shambles – a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite” is a misunderstanding of the noble cause – what noble cause does he claim inspired this conflict of four years and eighteen million dead?

Did Gove never read Wilfred Owen in his studies?

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori

Blackadder Goes Forth


Filed under Benefits, Corruption, Education

14 responses to “Michael Gove: Flipper

  1. I would say one who has complete contempt for the public and a lot of good friends who’ve gotten many favours might describe this person. The amounts of money he has to spend on homes is staggering and returning the cot, a gesture of contempt. But the rich get richer and….

  2. DonutHingeParty

    Why does a man with no children need a cot mattress? That seems to me as if he has a room in his taxpayer-funded house which he isn’t using on the offchance that he might want a child later. Spare Bedroom Subsidy!

  3. McGraw

    Michael Gove really has a cheek complaining about the welfare bill – which actually went down under the Labour years. Under this government’s policies they have axed full time jobs, created higher real unemployment/undermployment, more part time jobs and depressed real wages which has just drawn more and more people deeper into benefits or added new claimants who had not previously been on benefits before.
    People today are really having it hard and people like Gove and Iain Dunkin Donut decide to hammer them on the back of rising wlefare costs that they created. You couldn’t make up the deceipt and the lies that these people have come up with.

    Here’s the spending costs on welfare as reported by the IFS..

    And here’s the spending on welfare from 1996 up to the collapse of the financial system.


    The quicker this lot are gone the better.

    • Crimson Marmalade

      Your chart shows that welfare was £0.7b under the conservatives and £4.4b under labour! Not the best way to show welfare spend falls with a labour government! I agree gove is an idiot, but you really need to work a lot harder to understand numbers before you go shouting your mouth off, otherwise you may look like a flake.

      • Oh dear, Crimson. You misread the chart, didn’t you?

        The chart was Table 3.2 from the Institute for Fiscal Studies briefing note on Public Spending Under Labour for the 2010 election.

        Table 3.2 shows “Increases in various components of public spending”. You evidently just looked at the header, which gives the title of the briefing note.

        The line you noticed is Total spending on “public services” and you evidently misread it as “Total spending on welfare”. (As the chart makes clear, “public services” includes social security, but also the NHS, Education, Defence, Public order and safety, Debt interest payments, and Transport.)

        More importantly, you also missed that the sub-heading of Table 3.2 reads “Average annual real increase”. What you read as “welfare was £0.7b under the conservatives and £4.4b under labour” is in fact a charting of the fact that spending on total public services increased by an average of 4.4 percent a year in real terms under Labour – but only 0.7 percent a year under the Conservatives from 1979 to 1997.

        As the briefing note adds (page 10), “This is largely due to increases in spending on the NHS, education and transport. Since 2000–01 public investment spending has increased particularly sharply and is now at levels not seen since the mid to late 1970s. Despite large increases in the generosity of benefits for lower income families with children and lower income pensioners social security spending has grown less quickly than it did under the Conservatives.”

        Now, I wouldn’t expect you to go as far as looking up the original briefing note from which the table was taken, to find that McGraw was right and your original kneejerk reaction was wrong. But anyone who bothered to read the chart accurately and worked a lot harder to understand numbers before he went shouting his mouth off, would have known the comparison wasn’t “welfare was £0.7b under the conservatives and £4.4b under labour”.

  4. “What kind of man gets elected to Parliament and promptly spends £7000 to buy luxury goods for a house he moved into three years earlier?”

    um, a greedy hypocritical cunt?

  5. Jim

    What a twat that man is.

  6. scott

    It beggars belief that this is just one of many twisted hypocritical parasites who run this country nae wonder we’re in the shit up to our armpits but we have no one other than ourselves to blame we accept every bit of crap that is flung at us instead of flinging these upper class wankers in the bin i doubt they would be employable it would be nice to see some of them on the dole and see how they survive…………..

  7. Time for a real revolution? Bring out the tumbrils!

  8. Roy King

    I notice that his previous employment was at the Times: at least we now know who Murdoch’s ‘inside man’ is, making sure “call me” Dave does what Rupert tells him to!
    Don’t forget, Murdoch was the FIRST visitor to 10 Downing Street after the Camerons moved in!

  9. What a total and utter douchebag he is. Good post!

  10. Gloria mills

    What a hypocritical materialistic judgemental wormhole of a wanker Michael Gove. That is all

  11. David Sugg

    I would just ask “Who” voted these “Wankers” into office? Some of my acquaintances actually said at the last election “About time we had a change”. Well they certainly got that and now they are weeping and whining instead of admitting they were the instrument to bring these millionaires into power. Lets see how long memories are in 2015.

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