Good old Michael Gove. For someone who always seems so polite and civil he has an amazing knack of winding up the opposition.
The opposition usually being not just the actual Opposition (ie, the Labour party) but the Tories’ Lib Dem coalition partners and large parts of the educational establishment – which he labelled “the Blob” during his hectic time as Education Secretary.
On a visit to the North East he went after the region’s Labour MPs, who outnumber the Tories 25-2 in parliamentary representation.
“Lovely people,” said Mr Gove of our Labour MPs, “but they are not doing a good enough job.”
Maybe, Mr Gove, and maybe not. But how many of them will your party dislodge in next year’s general election?
If, despite Michael Gove’s best efforts, the Tories do not unseat some of the North East’s Labour MPs at the election, they should ask themselves why.
Today, we look at the region’s efforts to recover from the loss of its coalmining industry.
It’s been a brave effort by a large number of people. But nobody would argue that we still have a long way to go.
The Conservatives would say that it would have been madness to prop up a declining industry.
But the failure to help replace the jobs that were lost continues to cost them very dearly.