FErret

19th June 2009 at 01:00

Ready for Bisness

FErret has found that the naming of a department often provides an insight into its future. It seemed auspicious that Dius, the acronym for the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, was the name of a Roman god.

Sadly, it was the god of oaths. As in: "I swear if there's another FE funding crisis, I'm going to throw a stack of consultation documents at the boss of an unnecessary quango."

Now we have Bis, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Bis was an obscure mid-90s Scottish indie-pop band, no doubt a favourite of Gordon Brown, who has previously championed the Arctic Monkeys, alumni of Barnsley College. By their own account, Bis were hailed as the best thing ever, before being cast aside just a few months later.

FErret, for one, welcomes our new - if temporary - overlords.

Kevin's in the hot seat

FErret was hoping Sion Simon, the former FE minister, would help sort any reshuffle confusion. (Goodbye, Sion. We hardly had time to learn to type that accent.)

His direct engagement with the public on the social networking site Twitter provided an insight into the careful planning and clear communication that takes place during such events.

Three days after Bis had been created, he mused cheerily: "Back in London to start another week, though not sure doing what. FE minister? Some other minister?"

Eventually it emerged that he had been replaced by Kevin Brennan, also minister for apprenticeships, skills and consumer affairs, and, presumably, kitchen sinks.

If the department boss, Lord Mandelson, is the "Lord High Everything- Else", having collected nearly half a dozen honorifics, then perhaps Mr Brennan can have one more. His role is a joint one with the Department for Children, Schools and Families. Dius was mocked by MPs for claiming that giving staff laptops and making them share desks constituted "innovation". Now FE has the minister for hot-desking.

Save him a seat!

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