28th October 2011 at 01:00

Try not to quote me on this

Is John Hayes nicking his literary quotations off dodgy internet sites? FErret is concerned by a new report, coming as it does after the FE minister mixed up his Shelley and his Shakespeare.

Last week, National Union of Students vice-president for FE Toni Pearce said Mr Hayes produced a quote from TS Eliot: "If you don't get in above your head, how do you know how tall you are?"

Good folksy wisdom, but is it something the scrupulous Eliot would have said? None of the internet quotation sites that claim Eliot said a similar form of words can offer a source.

He once said: "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." (From the preface to Transit of Venus by Harry Crosby.) But the lesson is: never trust the internet, as Ghandi used to say.

Look who's been left rather red

There are red faces in Mr Hayes's Lincolnshire constituency, where a project to build a #163;6.5 million food centre, incorporating a Boston College campus and training restaurant, has run into trouble.

Three months after opening, the commercial food court at the Red Lion Quarter project was in financial difficulty, and now South Holland District Council has agreed to bail it out with at least #163;160,000 before handing it to new operators. The college was keen to distance itself from the fiasco, saying the campus and its restaurant have been successful - and that it had no involvement in the rest of the project. Up to a point, Lord Copper.

As Red Lion Quarter's website states, the college was one of the partners in the Community Interest Company which ran the food court. The college's marketing has also been found "lacking" by the council.

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