A minister for all sectors

20th January 2006 at 00:00
Of course, ministers don't spend all their time staring across the rooftops.

Bill also made an appearance at a seminar and drinks organised by Demos, the well-known think-tank, last week.

I've never been entirely convinced of the value of think-tanks. They make me think of what happens when you stay in the bath too long and the skin on your fingers gets puckered - is that what happens to people's ideas in a think-tank?

Perhaps, but, in the education world these days, where wine is served, likely as not, a government minister will appear, creeping around like a drunken Lothario at an office party and whispering sweet nothings to anyone who'll listen.

My spies tell me that Bill was anxious to make friends and was in fine form as he did his "I bloody love you, I really do" routine under the influence of water.

On this occasion, though, his kind words weren't for further education.

"Higher education is the driver of economic transformation," he purred, perhaps assuming that the people who attend these think-tank get-togethers tend to be more gown than town.

We must presume it was a completely different and equally charming government minister, also called Bill Rammell, who recently described FE as the "engine room driving the economy".

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