Are they boxing clever over AoC job?

1st February 2008 at 00:00

Wally Brown - once featured in a glossy magazine article as one of Merseyside's coolest movers and shakers - is stepping down as principal of Liverpool Community College. But will he spend his free time on the allotment?

It has been mooted that he could be on his way down south to inject new life into the Association of Colleges. My spies tell me he is a contender for the job of AoC chief executive after the departure of John Brennan. For the time being, he's busy being the FE representative for Liverpool's City of Culture activities.

Meanwhile, the AoC remains in the capable hands of Sue Dutton, acting chief executive.

Luckily the association has a simpler task than it anticipated in finding its first president.

It had been intended to use a single-transferable vote system for the election but, with just two principals having put their names forward, it'll be a simple race between David Collins and Robin Parkinson.

But just in case you were hoping for an FE equivalent of the presidential elections, be prepared for something more civilised. Both parties have agreed this will be a gentlemanly affair. All very grown-up and a credit to the "sector" - but what's happened to that sense of wanting to beat your opponent to a pulp?

I'm reminded of Muhammad Ali's pre-fight interviews, when he would show off about being faster and prettier than his opponent.

Unlike the great man, these two seem resolutely determined not to get involved in a slanging match so, determined to start one, I asked Mr Parkinson whether he considered himself faster and prettier than Mr Collins.

"No contest there," he tells me.

What can he mean by that?

Of course, winning an election is all about good publicity. Or, as Ali put it: "I'm the most recognised and loved man that ever lived because there weren't no satellites when Jesus and Moses were around, so people far away in the villages didn't know about them."

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