For me, the headline and picture raised the question: what does it mean to be British and how on earth could we extend that definition to include the Minister as well as such an odd character as the idiosyncratic Rick from The Young Ones who Mayall was portraying?
I propose that an answer is to be found in the architecture of my home town Liverpool, in its Gothic Anglican Cathedral (left above) and its Neo-Classical St George's Hall (right above).
One of the fundamental design tenants of the Anglican Cathedral was that no two of its 11 million plus carved stone blocks were to be identical, each and every stone was to be different, nowhere is this better seen than in the vault of its Lady Chapel (above left). Each stone of its vast vaulted ceiling is different, even when there seems to be no need, in those places were the bosses and ribs of the vaulted ceiling could be simply replicated , each boss, each rib and their stones respect the design tenet and is individual.
I would argue the individuality of the bricks in Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral is a metaphor for Britain and British values. In Britain we are all, like the stones, individuals in our right - unique - nevertheless we fit in to a greater thing than ourselves as individuals. This intrinsic individual uniqueness allows the manic, wild eyed Young One's Rick and the calm, irascible Michael Gove both to lay claim to being British.
The Cathedral's designed diversity is in contrast to the relentless uniformity of St George's Hall. The Hall can be seen as combination of repeated construction elements for example the Corinthian Columns of its entrance portico (above right). Each column is uncompromisingly identical - base, shaft and even its capital. The latter is where the Hall's neo-classical craftsman could have been given some leeway to apply his own individuality without comprising structural integrity, just as the Cathedral's Gothic craftsman were allowed.
Neo-Classical architecture is not British as it has no place for the individuality of a Mayall or a Cove, one must be one or the other to fit in, the two cannot coexist. It is no mistake the uncompromising, uniforming political governing systems - Communist and Fascist - both favour neo-classical or pastiches of neo-classicism in their architecture.
Being British is to be Gothic like Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral stones, to be an individual yet fitting into a greater whole, keeping your intrinsic values yet able to fit in with others to create a greater something; out of many we are one United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland aka Britain.