Phil: You have to feel sorry for Michael Gove. Being the Secretary of State for Justice is a pretty thankless job. Your “customer base”, the criminal population, is never going to like you. Worse, the people who should support you in the party are more interesting in bringing back whatever punishment their kids have read about in a Horrible History book read to them at bedtime.
There’s also the constitutional stuff which at the moment is going to involve a lot of European Union documentation. None of that is going to be a bundle of fun to read at the end of a long day.
What MG needs is something light and entertaining, which is why he will be so pleased to receive a package including this letter:
Dear Mr Gove
You are probably wondering why anyone has sent you a novel, especially one that appears to be as far removed from your normal reading as it is possible to get. The reason is simple, without you, this book wouldn’t exist and neither myself nor my co-writer Candice, would have ever had the pleasure of writing anything like it.
The story starts in May 2010. You had just become Secretary of State for Education and we both worked as contractors for Becta.
When you announced Becta’s closure, we found ourselves in an unusual position. We had to come in to the office every day or we wouldn’t be paid, but obviously there wasn’t anything to do. So, we and the other contract staff chatted and joked about setting up a “Change Management” company to handle other similar situations. This gradually morphed into the idea of writing a novel. We shared a similar sense of “Tom Sharpe” humour and found ourselves sharing ideas. Before we knew it, we had half a book.
New employment found, we couldn’t leave the book alone and continued to work on it. Along the way we started a blog, interviewed other authors learned an awful lot about publishing and eventually self-publishing. It’s been a fascinating process.
Now Candice is Head of Propositions with an electricity generator and I’m a features writer for several hobby magazines. At Christmas last year we finally launched the book so people who had politely listened to us excitedly talking about it could see what the fuss was about. We’re now firing up the marketing machine to try to see if we can have some success, there is an appearance at the Stratford Literary Festival in the diary already. Beyond this, a second book in the series is already half written as we are enjoying the process so much.
So, it seemed only fair to send the person who got us started a copy. You’ll appreciate that six years ago we weren’t exactly happy but the passing of time has shown that something good can emerge from adversity.
Well, it’s the very least we could do. We’ve sent a copy to his boss as well. He’s probably also looking for something to take his mind off meetings with grey eurocrats.
Of course this story has formed the basis for a special Nolan-crafted press release which hopefully makes it more interesting that “local person writes words”. We’ll find out how well this works in a few days.
Beyond this, there is the matter of our literary festival appearance. I’m not sure we can advise people who fancy writing a novel to get made redundant first, but we’ve proved it can be a starting point.
Happy reading Michael!