Read all about it. Michael Gove and Theresa May have had a disagreement involving an exchange of letters about how to develop a policy and respond to extremism.
This sort of thing should come as no surprise. In any active and lively government Ministers are always disagreeing with one another. Government proceeds by departments and Ministers setting out different views and proposals. These are then honed into an agreed common line which all Ministers stick to in public conversation.
So what is surprising here is not the disagreement, which is common and healthy, but the release of a letter giving one side of the argument, and the briefings about the exchanges. This was quite common under Labour when Ministers and spin doctors often spun their side of disputes, most notably the many disagreements between Chancellor and Prime Minister under Blair. It is not so common under this government.
Mr Gove takes the very sensible view that in combatting extremism you need to deal with its verbal and non violent manifestations in schools before they could become major and violent manifestations outside the classroom and when the students are a bit older. This is also now the general government’s view. The disagreements are not as great as the spin would suggest. The Home Secretary clearly stated in the House yesterday that she is in agreement with the PM and Education Secretary that government has to tackle extremism in speech and teaching as well as extremism with bullets and bombs.
Most of us want to live in a peaceful community where we tolerate each other’s religions and allow a wide range of belief, but where certain human rights and home truths are self evident and inalienable. These include equality for men and women and the right to a decent state education which reflects our democratic values. It was good to hear Mr Gove say there will be a statement of British values to inform schools on the ethos and approach they should adopt to education and looking after children in their care.