The ability to create a reality distortion field around those he was trying to persuade is one of the lasting legends of the great Steve Jobs. It was said that whoever was caught in his field would believe the unbelievable. Michael Gove was hoping he might use such techniques when similarly faced with unbelievers.
It was ironic that Gove’s speech earlier today referenced the great Apple guru. In doing so Gove was no doubt unwittingly hoping that the coincidental characteristics they shared in common would stop at Job’s ability to draw adulation and support. Both Gove and Jobs were adopted at early age. Both showed a degree of tenacity and ambition that marked them out as potential high achievers. Both quickly rising in their respective fields yet showing scant regard for those around them. Jettisoning those who became surplus to requirements was perhaps best exemplified by the way Jobs treated Steve Wozniak despite their shared history in building the foundations of Apple from a garage. Gove’s treatment of Johnson and Cameron bears an uncanny resemblance. Cold, calculated, clever, impeccably timed and with devastating consequences for the individuals involved who would be left humiliated and bewildered.
Gove’s performance today in setting the future political agenda for Britain was nothing less than a dizzying trip through the reality distortion field of Gove’s vision for a Brexit Britain. It was brilliantly and incisively delivered. It was long on content, punctuated by emotional highs and contradicted almost everything Gove has stood for and personally overseen as a conservative politician. It should have sounded incredible and beyond the pale. Instead, looking at the response from those in the room, it catapulted Gove into a credible position to challenge Theresa May.
Steve Jobs will be best known as the man that delivered the unbelievable and transformed our lives in ways we could not even begin to imagine. Gove has his sights on a very similar ambition with one big difference. Our lives may be blighted for years to come.