I see your confident stroll into the Channel 4 studios, your own camera crew in tow, almost as if you know full well that your presence anywhere is scarcely worth reporting unless you drag someone along to report it yourself. It’s time for a staged and carefully rehearsed charm offensive, speaking respectfully and in the spirt of debate with everyone wandering around the lobby. It’s a lark, pretending you’re there on the basis of honesty and good faith, rather than the whole charade being a carefully engineered stunt to spin a mouthful of lies about media bias and censorship.
How else is Boris Johnson supposed to show he understands the climate crisis, if not by sending such a bad melt to debate it in his place? “But I’m a leader,” you chirp, like a tearful child in an Iron Man mask held back by a laughing burglar as a second one beats his father to death with a Maglite.
It should be no surprise that you’ve positioned yourself front and centre of the new Tory battle lines. No stunt or trick is too cheap in this horrifying new era of spin and you’ve always gorged yourself on the algae congealing at the very bottom of the bargain bucket of integrity. First we had the fake factcheck Twitter feed and your insipid defence of the flagrantly indefensible. Then came the fake Labour manifesto – admittedly presented as parody but pumped with cash to swamp and obscure internet searches for the real thing. If Raab’s right and nobody gives a toss, why should the party with the commanding lead in the polls be resorting to such shameless tactics in the first place?
The willingness to embrace the ethical wasteland of desperately unregulated online trickery belies a complete lack of integrity. When paired with Johnson’s blatant cowardice in facing genuine media scrutiny or debate, the intent becomes clear as day. This election presents a Tory pantheon of such little political talent and credibility that they don’t hold up to any genuine critique, the facade quickly burning away in the spotlight and revealing the rotten ineptitude beneath the surface. When you fear looking like the biggest twat in a room that could have also had Nigel Farage in it you have absolutely nothing left to offer. When all you have left is spin, you better hope you can get away with undermining democracy in order to cheat your way to the top.
You’ve always been a master when it comes to a spectacular lack of integrity, Michael Gove. It weaves through every fibre of your being, an unnerving plasticity that sets the teeth on edge and hides a spiteful barb in its nebulous centre. You wear it like a badge of honour, revelling in a personality like a handful of tetanus-riddled needles hidden in a trifle. You’re the non-newtonian fluid of politics, a puddle of amoral custard barely held together by a thin condom of skin, suddenly able to generate rigidity and spite when hit with the impact of criticism.
I’d question where you get all the misplaced confidence from but we all know the answer to that one, don’t we?
Your maliciousness is all too evident, from the embarrassing parroting of alt-right catchphrases about snowflakes to the utterly cringeworthy mockery of Stormzy. You’re the Tories’ most unsettling weapon, a blobfish engineered to poison anyone who treads on him. That you’re willing to debase and embarrass yourself in service of a party leader who barely ever attempts to hide his contempt for you would inspire a pang of empathy if it wasn’t so cravenly pathetic.
I see you, Michael Gove, stepping through your front door, your mission accomplished. It’s all anybody’s talking about, isn’t it? You’ve successfully shifted the emphasis away from policy and back to theatrics, with a healthy dose of undermining the media achieved in the process. Keep chipping away at that edifice and soon it won’t matter – the Conservatives will be able to get away with their People’s Questions rubbish, putting out their own videos and lies, ignoring the scrutiny of genuine journalists forever.
You’ve done your job and it’s time to rest, Michael Gove.
I hear you sigh as you tug out the knot of your tie. I hear the rush of liquid like a dam breaking and I see your body collapse, your suit crumpling to the ground as the surface tension of your skin is broken. I see you spread across the tiled floor, a pink puddle running between the cracks, following the lines of grout.
I see two eyeballs rolling around in the mess, two glass marbles swirling in the current. You have no mouth, no form, no meaningful substance of any kind. Yet somewhere in the lake there’s a sighing sound, a formless moan of pleasure as you cool yourself on the marbled tiles. A pair of ice sculptures have nothing on you.
Tomorrow someone will come along and scoop you up, Michael Gove, pouring you into a suit and pointing you in the direction of the next pathetic parlour trick. You won’t mind. You’re like water. They can’t hurt a puddle, can they?
I see you, Michael Gove. I fucking see you.