It's calculators at dawn as the brains of British industry are pitched against the formidable thinking power of nuclear scientist-turned Association of Colleges chief executive John Brennan.
The Confederation of British Industry launched a broadside of statistics at colleges, claiming members feel let down by them.
But after the figures on businesses' attitudes to colleges were published this week, Mr Brennan said his CBI critics had failed to do their homework properly.
The CBI survey found only 46 per cent of employers reported feeling satisfied with colleges.
Dr Neil Bentley, CBI director of public services, said: "We need well-educated and well-trained employees, so we cannot have a system of FE that spends Pounds 5 billion a year yet allows sub-standard courses to continue and does not engage with employers to establish their needs."
Yet, the AoC points out, the previous year's figures showed a rating of 87 per cent - which shows the figures are pretty unreliable. Not surprising considering only 420 out of 7,000 employers responded this year - which rather suggests that doing business with colleges is a more popular pursuit than completing CBI surveys.