Simon Heffer’s article, The Cabinet of Mediocrities, makes the point that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has a mediocre Cabinet. He has done this in the hope that he appears more impressive and not idle, dishonest and incompetent.

Hancock’s resignation removed one dim-witted man and replaced him with a more intelligent one. One who previously resigned as Chancellor because he was not a “yes man”, Sajid Javid.

Heffer aims his pen at Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, “an exhibition piece of mediocrity”. He writes that Williamson has no understanding of the education system in this country. It’s a shame that he should be in charge of it at such a challenging time. Covid has completely interrupted A levels and GCSEs.

He writes that Williamson is narrow minded. “That the nation needs engineers and computer scientists; but, like previous education secretaries, he fails to see the mind-opening value of studying languages, the history of civilisations, or indeed any form of literary or philosophical thought. Meanwhile, the teaching of music ranges from the dismal to the non-existent thanks to the near-extinction in the state sector of the peripatetic instrumental teacher, and of organised singing and music as a serious curricular subject.”

Heffer attacks Williamson for being in charge at a time when freedom of speech is threatened on university campuses. “A crisis of fearsome proportions”. Williamson’s response to the crisis was to try and put through a Bill that forced universities to respect freedom of speech. Heffer writes that Williamson “doesn’t have a clue how to restore order.”

A Postmodern Joke

Williamson spoke about cancel culture last year and explained what the purpose of education is. “We must never forget that the purpose of education is to give people the skills they need to get a good and meaningful job.” Heffer describes this as an “astonishing statement”. Williamson displays “his essentially moronic nature” and “massive unsuitability for the job he now holds.”

To conclude, Heffer reduces the whole idea of Williamson’s appointment as a postmodern joke. “Johnson is famed for his sense of humour; and so one must presume it is his little postmodern joke to put perhaps the most gormless man he could find in charge of England’s education system.”


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