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How Michael Gove masterminded the government’s Ukraine photo ops

Gove said the public wanted a show of solidarity such as flying the Ukrainian flag. Turns out the public wanted a lot more than that

Michael Gove in the House of Commons. Photo: PA

Never in the field of human conflict were so many vanity photographers deployed by so many to such little effect. The government’s response to the Ukraine crisis saw Boris Johnson deploying himself to what one of his minions called the “front line” – which translated as an RAF airbase in Oxfordshire – foreign secretary Liz Truss, meanwhile, posing in front of the flag of Ukraine, and Priti Patel hoisting one up over the Home Office.

Of course, this lot has always been big on PR, pitiful when it comes to practicalities, but this time literally no one seemed to be fooled. So whose bright idea was all this vacuous gesturing? Step forward Roman Abramovich’s old mate Michael Gove.

Gove was quoted as saying “the public would want a big show of solidarity, such as lighting up No 10 and flying the Ukrainian flag.” The public wanted a lot more than that, as it turned out.

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