Michael Gove highlights his own lies; Tony Robinson is right

Left-wing propaganda piece? Sir Tony Robinson (right) with Rowan Atkinson in Blackadder Goes Forth.

Left-wing propaganda piece? Sir Tony Robinson (right) with Rowan Atkinson in Blackadder Goes Forth.

A new development has occurred in the story of Michael Gove’s attempt to rewrite the history of World War One as a glorious display of “patriotism, honour and courage”.

This blog took Gove to task after he attacked one of Britain’s best TV comedies, Blackadder Goes Forth, for perpetuating “myths” about the conflict.

Now Sir Tony Robinson, who played Baldrick in the much-loved series, has weighed in to warn Gove against attacking teachers.

He told Sky News: “It’s not that Blackadder teaches children the First World War.

“When imaginative teachers bring it in, it’s simply another teaching tool; they probably take them over to Flanders to have a look at the sights out there, have them marching around the playground, read the poems of Wilfred Owen to them. And one of the things that they’ll do is show them Blackadder.

“And I think to make this mistake, to categorise teachers who would introduce something like Blackadder as left-wing and introducing left-wing propaganda is very, very unhelpful. And I think it’s particularly unhelpful and irresponsible for a minister in charge of education.”

Sir Tony added that it was “just another example of slagging off teachers.” He said, “I don’t think that’s professional or appropriate.”

Gove appears not to have the wit to answer on his own behalf. Instead a spokesman plunged him even further in the mire with the following: “Tony Robinson is wrong. Michael wasn’t attacking teachers, he was attacking the myths perpetuated in Blackadder and elsewhere.

“Michael thinks it is important not to denigrate the patriotism, honour and courage demonstrated by ordinary British soldiers in the First World War.”

Oh really? It’s fortunate Gove’s own words are available to be examined then, isn’t it?

In his Daily Mail article on Thursday, he wrote the following: “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.

Here’s the juicy bit: “Even to this day there are left-wing academics” – in other words, teachers – “all too happy to feed those myths.”

Case proven. Gove is a liar, and he is trying to promote the teaching of lies to children.

Still, he has a vested interest in replacing history with propaganda. Imagine what his own entry in the history books will be. Something like: “In the wake of the financial crisis, the Conservative Party tried to win electoral victory by blaming the disaster on financial mismanagement by the then-ruling Labour Party. When this, and a pledge not to interfere with the National Health Service, failed to inspire the electorate, Tory leader David Cameron seized power in a backdoor deal with the Liberal Democrats, led by Nick Clegg – a man who was to become little more than a puppet in Cameron’s hands. Once installed in Number 10, the tyrant set his lieutenants to work: Andrew Lansley and Jeremy Hunt turned the health service over to private hands. Iain Duncan Smith made benefit claims impossible to sustain, driving thousands of claimants to destitution and death. And Michael Gove reduced the education system to a means of indoctrinating the nation’s young with pre-approved disinformation designed to make them compliant fodder for the new corporatist state.”

… and that doesn’t even begin to describe the Betrayal of Britain that started in 2010!

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11 thoughts on “Michael Gove highlights his own lies; Tony Robinson is right

  1. Pingback: Michael Gove highlights his own lies; Tony Robi...

  2. jaypot2012

    Re-blogged on Jay’s Journal and commented:
    Adults, as well as children, learned more about WW1 than anything else that they had read, been taught or seen. The final episode had people of all ages talking about it and today they still do.

    How dare the likes of Gove try to change history because he believes it, it’s just as arrogant as IDS re-writing the Bible for his own ends!

  3. Pingback: Michael Gove highlights his own lies; Tony Robinson is right | Jay's Journal

  4. john Keen

    Gove is clearly as “clued in” as those who commanded the troops in WW1.

    There was a huge amount of patriotism and bravery but so much of it wasted by commanders who had NO understanding of modern warfare and seemed to think marching forward over rough ground was the way to win, didn’t appear they had even the slightest idea what a machine gun was.

    So the front line troops were the heroes, but the strategists were totally incompetent, Many of these strategists were from “privileged” background with no real experience of front line fighting, to be fair a few were (but believed in a gentlemans war) but those in the higher command positions repeated the same tactic time and time again and clearly failed to understand WHY they kept losing so many men…

    Where command is concerned we can equate the modern conservative party to those commanders back then, they will be facing defeat on a grand scale at the next election yet will NEVER understand why…. ofcourse the present government is run by the priiledged few so it shows after so many generations the privileged are still clueless.

    The average johnny is jolly useful, and it’s so much fun making them run around doing things and punishing them if they don’t do exactly as ordered.

    Back then, the troops.
    Today, anyone who isn’t privileged

  5. Joseph Smith

    Gove should shut his a*** and give his mouth a chance, unless of course they are one and same thing.

  6. beastrabban

    I intend to post a more detailed blog post attacking Gove and his daft, ahistorical views of the First World War myself in my own blog. Mike here has posted an excellent critique of Gove’s own attack on Blackadder, O, What A Lovely War!, and others. This is in line with some recent historical work on the First World War.

    What Gove does not tell you, and which he actively wishes to hide, is that bitterness, alienation and a contempt for patriotism was produced by the First World War itself. One very patriotic officer in the 1920s complained about left-wing propaganda about the War being spread by ‘acidulated radicals’. And from what I understand, Oh, What a Lovely War was based on the stage play, Journey’s End, which was itself based on real servicemen’s experience of the War. And as for bitterness and lack of patriotism, you consider the last line of Wilfred Owen’s Gassed, about squaddies dying and blinded by mustard gas. This ends with ‘The old lie, ‘Dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori”. This last is a Latin tag for ‘It is sweet and right to die for one’s country’. And this was written by a serviceman, who himself saw the pity and horror of war.

    As for Gove’s attack on ‘left-wing academics’, this is in line with the populist anti-intellectualism of Conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic. Impressionable little minds, you see, are being corrupted by nasty leftie educationalists in the class rooms at school, college and university. As the great comedian Bill Hicks once said, ‘Do I detect a little anti-intellectualism here? Well, must have started around the time Reagan was elected, I think.’ The Observer once joked in the ’80s that the Tories were now the Patriotic Party. And I can remember the quote, possible from dear old Oscar, ‘Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel’.

    It is.

    So is Gove.

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