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Spin out of recession

Remember the downturn? Tough times, but we emerged OK. Why, it seems like only two months since Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary said: "The reality is that this is becoming the most serious global recession for, I'm sure, over 100 years, as it will turn out."

But that was before Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his G20 crew waved a $1 trillion magic wand and saved us.

Now the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills is using the phrase "preparing for the upturn" in announcements, before the more pressing need of coping with the downturn.

No word yet if there are similar substitutes for the phrase "losing your house" ("enjoying Britain's charming Bamp;Bs"), "getting the sack" ("improving work-life balance") or "jumping out of office windows" ("extreme sports").

Perhaps the department took inspiration from the 18th century author, Samuel Johnson, who said: "The habit of looking on the bright side of a situation is worth a thousand pounds a year."

FErret's crack team of economists estimates that would be Pounds 800,000 in today's earnings - he'd rather take the cash, thanks.

Costly shot at success

Raise a glass of champagne and crash your Ferrari into a tunnel wall in celebration because Doncaster College is opening what it believes is Britain's first international football academy.

Backed by Liverpool FC, it will offer 36 teenage footballers from places such as eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East, the chance to learn English and train under top FA-qualified coaches.

Thanks to the chance to test themselves against leading clubs in the UK, the young players will be sure to improve their debating skills with referees, corner flag kicking accuracy and their alleged nightclub fracas rate.

The eye-watering Pounds 19,000 course fees mean it would be cheaper to study an MPhil at Oxford University. But the wise modern parent advises their child to keep up the football, in case the banking career doesn't work out.

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