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Game of tags

All that ghost talks brings us to spook-catchers par excellence Scooby Doo and his sidekick Shaggy, alias new education minister Stephen Timms. Regular readers will recall that the diary recently spotted the striking resemblance between the wide-eyed, flaxen-haired evangelical-Christian schools minister and the cowardly cartoon hero. But we feel it our duty to report that others see him differently.

The Daily Mirror on Tuesday featured a letter from Fred Jones, former leader of Newham Council who was succeeded by Mr Timms in 1990. He was objecting to the Mirror's characterization of the minister (who has friends very high up in Downing Street, apparently) as Herman Munster.

"Herman Munster might be stupid, but he was friendly, straightforward and showed consideration to others," Mr Jones fumed. "On Little Ilford council estate, part of his constituency, Timms is known as Lurch - the sinister character from The Addams Family".

This all left the diary confused about which nickname we should give this undeniably evocative minister. We decided to contact Mr Timms to find out which tag he preferred, but his minions would not even put the question to him.

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