Comic fun


They were all trumped by a thin, shiny tome that came, quite unsolicited, through my letterbox. A cartoon figure, not unlike Noddy on Acid, with orange bow and antic visage, waved charmingly from its jolly cover.

It was the Gove.

It was The Michael Gove Colouring-in Book. 

It is difficult to do it justice. It beggars description. Its author, EO Progress, “the last cartographer of Fleet Street”, could well be Gove himself.

Certainly, the voice rings true. It is that of “Britain’s foremost educationalist”, who claims the book is an essential “curriculum aid” for our “intellectually straightened times”. 

Blimey! Perhaps it’s a new set text to replace the vulgar and foreign, and recently banned, Of Mice and Men? Well, perhaps not. It seems targeted more at the functionally illiterate, who used to be called Special Needs. Well, no more. For Gove there is no such thing. He is bracingly insensitive, exhilaratingly blunt. The less gifted are called “thick” – or “simply thick”. It might be genetics or feckless parents or maybe they’re just Romanian. Who cares? For too long we’ve allowed this lot to rot at the back of our classrooms, off message and off trolley. It’s time to get tough on them, like we did in my day, when they did raffia work, removed litter, monitored milk or swept chimneys.

It wears you out. Well, no more. 

Now your dimwits can just get their crayons and colour in depictions of our dear leader, while being introduced to some of his key concepts. Free Schools, Imperial History, Dead Languages and Phonics? Good. Sociology, Media Studies, Speaking and, especially, Listening? Bad. 

Soft Bollix. Food technology will teach your “simply thick” the more transferable and key skills of starving and begging gruel from food banks. Perhaps the most numinous image is of a martyred Gove. This clearly echoes Mantegna’s Saint Sebastian and would seem an allegory of a heroic Saint, pierced by the barbs of you vile enemies of promise. 

So beg or borrow this timely tome. Keep your thickoes happy and dormant. Keep the rest droning and drudging. Clots do the colouring, the clever do Catullus. This seminal text is sponsored by various oligarchs and published by Inspired Books and available on Amazon now.

  • Ian Whitwham is a former inner city London teacher.



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