One of the key events in the political assassination of Boris Johnson was the (accidental?) release of an e-mail from Gove’s wife, encouraging the assassin to stand up for himself and demand a firm promise of a specific major role in any Johnson cabinet. It looked more than a little pushy, and gave the impression, as presented, that this was all about personal ambition.
It was only a few days later that I saw a bit more context to the demand. It seems that some of the press barons – notably Dacre and Murdoch – were more than a little nervous about a Johnson administration, but had somehow signalled that their jitters might be reduced by having a calming influence such as Gove in a prominent position. (Why they’d see Gove as a calming influence is another question entirely, but I suppose all things are relative.)It puts a different perspective on the issue, of course. But the funny thing is this: during the referendum campaign, amongst all the calls to ‘take control’ away from the ‘unelected Brussels bureaucrats’, I can’t recall the leave side ever telling us that they wanted to give unelected press barons the right of veto over who should be prime minister. I wonder how I missed that.