Yesterday I speculated on who would get the Education jobs in the new cabinet. Well, the picture is now clear. Michael Gove is the Schools Secretary, and David Willetts becomes Minister for Universities and Science, working under Vince Cable. Although my left wing inclinations give me an instinctive mistrust of Gove and Willetts, both were on record when in opposition of making some interesting comments which might just be good news for Science and HE. Gove had ideas for helping get more science graduates into teaching, and Willetts was against the much-disliked Research Excellence Framework (REF) ‘impact’ criteria applied in judging research grant proposals. Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to make such claims when in opposition, and in the cold light of real government other things tend to get in the way. But I have surprised myself by feeling a note of optimism as a result of the appointment of these two ministers, much as I disagree with their politics!
Other cabinet positions announced yesterday included Theresa May as Home Secretary, Ken Clarke as Lord Chancellor, Philip Hammond as Transport Secretary and Ian Duncan Smith as Work and Pensions Secretary. Of these, the one that gives me most concern is the first. I don’t mind Ken Clarke; at least he’s pro-Europe!
It will be interesting to see how Gove and Willetts get on; there is some hope that they might do some good for education and Science in the UK.