Gove second good decision?

This morning’s edition of The Guardian is reporting that the Education secretary, Michael Gove, is planning to announce the abandonment of his some of the plans he had for secondary education.

Michael Gove will announce on Thursday that he has abandoned his plans to replace GCSEs with a new English Baccalaureate certificate (EBC) after mounting concern within the coalition and from education groups.

In what will be seen as a humiliating reverse for the education secretary, for whom the shakeup of exams for 16-year–olds was a major chunk of his agenda, Gove will make a statement to the Commons on Thursday announcing the decision.

One wishes that quality newspapers like The Guardian would forget all mention “humiliating reverses” when reporting these things. Such colourful embellishing is both unhelpful and unnecessary, especially when reporting something that demands our serious consideration.  Most readers not to work out just how Mr Gove’s latest decision will be viewed without help from a reporter.

A good reporter should know that the opposition to Mr Gove’s original plans can be relied on to do grab at the hyperbole without his help.

The U-turn was seized on by Labour, who described it as “a humiliating climbdown” for Gove. Stephen Twigg, the shadow education secretary, said: “It shows why he should have listened to business leaders, headteachers and experts in the first place and not come up with a plan on the back of an envelope.”

Naturally, Labour can be relied on the grab at the stock phrase when describing what’s happened. Why could it not possibly be described as an example of Gove’s “belatedly coming to his senses” or of his willingness to “listen to reason in the end”?

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