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Birds are out

The flaxen hair, the wide-eyed boyish grin: we couldn't help noticing more than a passing resemblance between the thrusting new minister for schools, Stephen Timms, and Shaggy from Scooby Doo.

That would make Margaret Hodge the glamorous Daphne Blake and Estelle Morris the studious Velma Dinkley. But who is hunky Fred Jones? And who's the dog?

Murmurings from Shaggy's constituency in East Ham, London, suggest that Scooby's snacks and slapstick adventures may not be in prospect t Sanctuary Buildings. The "earnest" minister was recently invited to join the board of governors of a new school Newham Council was building. The council had, in its wisdom, decided to name it Heron School, after the bird.

No sooner was Timms among the governors than he and others were objecting because it sounded too much like a former Labour councillor in the area, Pat Heron. It was promptly re-named Sir John Heron School, after an obscure local 16th century landowner.

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