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Cheers to the losing side

Never let it be said that journalists can't put their rivalries behind them for the greater cause.

The scribes at the Association of Colleges' annual conference last week were only too happy to form a team for the general knowledge quiz and their combined intellects were, I'm pleased to report, sufficient to trounce a team of trade unionists.

Barry Lovejoy, head of the colleges department at Natfhe, the lecturers'

union, was strangely quiet although his team didn't slouch when it came to blaming management for their woes. One of their grievances was that their buzzer wasn't working properly.

If only the champions of working people were better informed about such weighty matters as tiddlywinks, they might have shone through. And it didn't help their chances that the representatives of the Fourth Estate got all the questions about trade unionism to themselves after giving the right answer to a starter question.

The score: Scribblers 90, Trades unionists nil.

As well as mentioning my colleagues at FE Focus (Ian Nash, the editor, and reporter Joseph Lee), it is only fair to acknowledge the not inconsiderable accumulation of useless information displayed by Peter Kingston from the Guardian and Richard Garner of the Independent.

A good team effort across the newspaper publishing divide.

In the final, the journalists were beaten 55:35 by the Association of Colleges team - although I have been ordered to report that this was more a case of journalistic cunning than hack-like ignorance.

It's not the winning that counts, but having a drink to celebrate: and the runner-up prize was a bottle of Champagne, as opposed to the empty metal cup for the winners.

Cheers!

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