Now Osler has extended his talents to marketing. Borrowing a line from Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses, he suggested to toilers in the education for work industry at a conference last week that their slogan ought to be "you know it make sense". In best advertising practice, he repeated the message six times.
It must be something to do with approaching that magic civil service age of the big 60 (October 2002 for Osler fans), but HMSCI is also acquiring an irreverent style. "I would like to echo what the minister said," he began, following Henry McLeish's speech. "Of course, I spend my life echoing what ministers say - although some people think it's the other way round."