Could FE be a task beyond our Ken?

24th February 2006 at 00:00
I, for one, have harboured a secret desire for Ken Livingstone to run post-16 education in London, as is his wish.

Before I am accused of bias, let me explain. The Mayor is more famous, more notorious and therefore better "copy" than anyone the Learning and Skills Council can produce. He is sexier than Mark Haysom, chief of the LSC. Mark, being an old newspaper man, will, I sincerely hope, understand what I mean by this.

Ken would sell more papers. Even if he were to make a complete dog's dinner of college funding. The rest of the media's love of writing about Red Ken might even mean that further education at last gets the high profile it deserves in those quarters of the press which still think "college" is a posh name for a school or a part of one of Her Majesty's twin universities.

Three of my colleagues were pondering this as they made their way by cab through Ken's congestion-charging utopia on their way to the Commons.

A look out of the window appeared to confirm a recent report claiming the charge - recently increased from pound;5 to pound;8 - had done nothing to reduce congestion.

And on the tube, an inflation rate at several times the retail price index is rapidly bringing closer the day when taxis will be the only affordable form of transport for groups of four passengers. Or at least they would be if Ken ever relinquished his control over how much they charge.

On reflection, instead of allowing Ken to take over FE, perhaps we should let the LSC take over transport.

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