Eyebrow beaten;Bournemouth 99;Labour Party Conference

Frances Rafferty & Nicolas Barnard

BEYOND THE FRINGE

CONFRONTED by a teenager with a pierced eyebrow who has been told by his head to cover it up or find another school, lifelong learning minister Malcolm Wicks let slip a horrible government secret at the NUT's fringe meeting.

He urged the boy to be sensible. Then he revealed: "One of the strange things abour New Modern Britain is that all MPs are tatooed with New Labour New Britain. "I won't show you where..." Sighs of relief all round.

DAVID BLUNKETT and his ministers will be relieved they have not staked their jobs on the intelligence of delegates as they famously have on 11-year-olds. On its stand, the Association for Teachers and Lecturers was offering an Apple iMac for those who can pass an exam based on key stage 2 tests. Of the first 70, who included MPs and policy wonks, only 15 knew the correct answers to the questions for 11-year-olds. The ATL's Jane Bangs said: "This proves that the tests aren't easy."

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Frances Rafferty & Nicolas Barnard

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