Never underestimate the hazards of writing columns before embarking on a political career. Here’s Michael Gove’s take on Ken Clarke in 2002.
For the Conservatives to return to power, the party must be seen to have learnt from its mistakes, rejected the arrogance, cynicism and pocketlining of the Major era, developed a tone of voice appropriate to an anti-politician age and come up with a reforming agenda for the public services which respects professional as well as personal freedom.
Ken Clarke is sadly ill-equipped to do that job. As John Major’s tax-raising Chancellor, British American Tobacco’s handsomely remunerated director, the euro’s voter-rubbishing cheerleader and the tireless hammer of nurses and teachers, Ken carries more tainted baggage than a mule on Colombia airways.