The Sunday Times reports today that Michael Gove is doing battle with Vince Cable to move higher education policy back in to the Department of Education.
Gove has made little secret of his ambition to bring higher education into his ministry. Conservative sources said switching universities from Cable to Gove had been “actively discussed” in recent weeks at ministerial level. They added that Tories had been hoping to make the move once Gove had set his school reforms in motion. However, the education secretary has now reluctantly concluded it will be impossible to put the plan into action until 2015, unless Cable quits as business secretary.
Probably much of a muchness, and nothing will come of it.
I hope things stay as they are actually. I’m not suggesting that the path HE took from the Department of Education to the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) then to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (DBIS) makes much sense. BUT I think the culture at the DoE has become increasingly centralised and ‘command and control’ in recent years, whereas DBIS’ reason for existing is to support innovation and deregulate business. A better place to be I think.
Plus, I think one of the best thing about the coalition Government is the stability of ministers and ministries. David Cameron has admirably resisted any temptation to shuffle deckchairs in the way the Blair and Brown Governments did incessantly. Once he started, I fear he would make a habit of it!