Bowing out with a conga and a song

Time to say goodbye to Sir David Normington, KCB, departing as top mandarin from the Department for Education and Skills to take up the same post at the Home Office. After a non-stop round of leaving parties at DfES regional hotspots (Runcorn, Darlington), the Diary caught up with him at Sanctuary Buildings. Ruth Kelly praised him to the skies for his discretion and support. What had he told the Select Committee about the department's targets, she enquired fondly? ("Missed by a mile.") And DfES officials? ("Can't read or write.") And there can't be many permanent secretaries who have led a conga round the building, and gave a department-wide rendition of "Wooden Heart" by Elvis.

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