1st February 2013 at 00:00

The hunt for the faces of college life

FErret has often wondered where colleges find an endless supply of perky, bright-eyed students to appear smilingly on the cover of their prospectuses, given the downcast demeanour of the average teenager.

Now, Motherwell College over the border in North Lanarkshire has given us a unique insight into the process: surprisingly, it turns out that prospectus cover models aren't genetically engineered in a lab somewhere.

Instead, the college encouraged volunteers to come forward and post a video of themselves on YouTube before putting the choice to a public vote. It's a novel idea, and one that seems on the face of it to be doomed: how could any self-respecting student body not choose someone with prominent facial tattoos?

Alas, Motherwell students let us down, let the college down and let themselves down by voting for normal-looking people: a part-time model and karate black belt, an electrical engineering student, a hairdressing student and a young woman who serenaded viewers with a video rendition of I Can See Clearly Now. Their prize is for their faces to be plastered across the county in advertising campaigns: let's hope none of them drops out or gets arrested in the next 12 months.

It's a democracy, you say? Who told you that?

Alas, this voting madness looks like it won't stop at the college prospectus: teenagers driven vote-mad by reality television phone-in polls are now expecting to have a democratic say in the governing of the country.

The bonkers notion of votes for 16-year-olds, promoted by the National Union of Students, reached the House of Commons last week, where MPs backed it 116 to 4.

All this appears to pave the way for the bizarre idea that people in the education system should have a say over how it is run. Dangerous nonsense! Luckily, the Commons vote won by the underage balloteers' camp was not binding. If we play our cards right, we can fob them off with sham democracy like this for years to come.

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