Thursday, June 16, 2016
Gove's Star Ever Rising
If Boris Johnson has had a pretty mediocre - even poor - Brexit campaign, then the quiet man of the Leave team has had a great one.
Johnson remains popular with Tory grassroots and amongst the general public, who persist - contrary to all the evidence - in seeing him as the most trustworthy politician when it comes to speaking about the EU.
Gove, however, has severed his links with Cameron and the party modernisers, carved out a new furrow and become the Leave campaign's most potent debater. While Leave supporters were collectively swooning over the great man's performance in the Question Timed debate yesterday - possibly because they've rarely heard one of their own side string words together with fluency and meaning, even if the substance was still being held at the door - even commentators who are not amongst Mr. Gove's natural support base were conceding that he'd done a good job. Three of the Guardian's writers were inspired by Mr. Gove to produce delightfully crafted assessments.
Michael Gove has also seen a surge of support from grassroots Tories who would like him to be their leader. The Conservative Home survey in June showed that he remained the firm favourite. Discount his repeated protestations that he isn't fit to be leader - given sufficient support and a few nudges from senior colleagues and I'm sure Mr. Gove will overcome his reluctance to stand - and the former friend of Dave may be the man charged with negotiating our departure from the EU as Prime Minister.
It's possibly at that point that he might wish he had been a little more thorough on the detail of life after the EU.