Kudos, then, to my old chum D. Cameron, with whom I apparently actually agree for once. Not on anything useful, you understand: it's just that Dave is sufficiently in touch with the public mood to
veto a proposal by Ed Sec Michael Gove, suggesting the public could all have a bit of a whip-round and buy the Queen a £60m yacht for her diamond jubilee. As you do. N.B.: it should come as no
surprise that according to the letter in which Gove set out his charmingly brown-nosey proposals for his future knighthood I MEAN nice gift with no ulterior motive, the idea was originally
suggested by David "women with jobs ruin it for the rest of us" Willetts, who you may recall was astonished when universities facing an 85% funding cut actually raised fees to the new maximum of
£9000. Willetts, like Gove, is a millionaire.
Leaving aside for now the question of the monarchy's appropriateness as a symbol for a nominally modern, democratic country, let's consider for a moment the appropriateness of assuming the public -
many of whom, you may have heard on the news, are a bit short of cash right now - will be happy to buy their beloved figurehead a present we're not even sure if she wants. Do you think he was
planning to get a gift receipt? What could she exchange it for, a million pairs of shoes?
If Govey (although I think I'll call him Mike from now on; we're clearly close enough that he feels comfortable blowing my - although mostly your - money on frivolous presents for people I don't
know and wildly overcharging my descendants for their worthless degrees, I think that puts us on first name terms) feels so compelled to tell the public what to buy the Queen, like an overbearingly
helpful parent, the least he can do is emulate that parent further and pay for the bleeding thing. The fact that he thought - even momentarily, even privately in his enormous study surrounded by
leather chairs and brandy - that this was a good idea should demonstrate his total unfitness for public office. The kind of mind that thinks spending 60 million quid of other people's money on a
present for an already ludicrously rich woman while the country gets progressively more broke - and claiming, in fact, that it would be a good idea precisely because we're all so broke, so I guess
you can spend your way out of a recession after all - is not the kind of mind I want in charge of moulding young minds. If you don't mind.
This is not a victory. Dave's refusal to dip into the public pocket to buy a big boat worth around 2400 teachers, 48000 PCs or 2.4 million school textbooks isn't some kind of revolutionary
socialist gesture or the act of a man deferring to the wishes of the public; it's just the only thing you could do and not be so mad with riches and power that you think peasant-hunting is still a
thing. It takes a lot to make Cameron look reasonable, but Mikey's made a good go of it.