Michael Gove and Sarah Vine: ‘Their relationship is a sort of careless babying, her mind only half on him, but cooing with maternal sweetness when it is.” [Image: Rex/Shutterstock.]

Michael Gove and Sarah Vine: ‘Their relationship is a sort of careless babying, her mind only half on him, but cooing with maternal sweetness when it is.” [Image: Rex/Shutterstock.]

Somebody on Twitter yesterday said choosing between the Conservative leadership candidates was like choosing which sexually-transmitted infection you’d like to have.

That line is even more appropriate now that the line-up has been boosted by a man called Crabb.

If anything highlights the amateurishness of the new campaign, it is the following letter from Michael Gove’s wife, the Mail columnist Sarah Vine, to her dear hubby with a list of things-to-do. Here it is:

“Very important that we focus now on individual obstacles and thoroughly overcome them. I really think Michael should have a Henry or a Beth with him for this morning’s crucial meetings. One simple message. You MUST have SPECIFIC assurances from Boris, OTHERWISE you cannot guarantee your support. The details can be worked out later on, but without that you have no leverage.

Crucially, the membership will not have the necessary reassurance to back Boris, neither will [Daily Mail editor Paul] Dacre/[Rupert] Murdoch, who instinctively dislike Boris but trust your ability enough to support a Boris Gove ticket. Do not concede any ground. Be your stubborn best. GOOD LUCK.”

Oh dear. It can be summed up as “If you get him to promise you a big reward – never mind what it is – you can sell Boris to the right-wing media, then Murdoch and Dacre will tell the public to support him – and you.”

Nice of Ms Vine to let us know that’s how the public will be hoodwinked this time. Hopefully some of us will be wise to it.

The Guardian‘s Zoe Williams has had great fun eviscerating this email, so let’s hand the rest of this article over to her:

I’ve had a sudden attack of the Joanna Trollopes and am much more interested in what this says about their relationship than what it means for the government ahead, so let’s be brisk with the political stuff. It is plain that there is very little trust between Gove and Boris Johnson, but nobody will be nominated for Mensa when they notice that Johnson isn’t always as good as his word.

It is clear too how much store is set by the approbation of the Mail and the Sun. Dispiritingly, that barely needed saying either. It is obvious how much of the poison of the referendum and its aftermath was created by the Mail and the Sun preaching incessant hate, and equally obvious how much the high command of the leave campaign has depended on the media moguls while pretending to abhor racism.

Rounding off the list of things we already knew, it is clear that Gove had no plan: no plan for if they won; no plan for if Cameron resigned; no plan for the leadership battle, no plan for any of this. And if Gove had no plan, imagine what Johnson – with his famous eye for detail – has up his sleeve.

Source: Is Michael Gove an idiot? His wife seems to think so | Zoe Williams | Opinion | The Guardian

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