25th September 2009 at 01:00
TUC brought to heel and an old-school inquiry

TUC brought to heel

News just in from the Department of Self-Fulfilling Prophecies. Lorraine Monk, a lecturer at Nescot in Surrey, challenged a TUC motion on banning employers from making women wear high heels, saying it would make unions look like "killjoys". And, right on cue, Ms Monk's words were then quoted across the media in an effort to portray unions as killjoys. Not that the Jills of FErret's acquaintance often describe wearing heels as a joy.

Her attempt to prevent the media misrepresenting the debate as a ban on high heels, rather than the sexist dress codes that required them, was successful enough that she was quoted in dozens of newspapers, many of which published stories misrepresenting the debate in exactly that fashion.

Ms Monk wanted the congress to focus on the big issues like pay equality instead. FErret thinks her intervention was pragmatic and sensible, and it's a shame it backfired - sometimes the only way to win is not to play.

On the other hand, 5ft 3ins Tory MP Nadine Dorries observed: "If high heels were banned in Westminster, no one would be able to find me." Is this the best argument for a ban yet?

Old-school inquiry

Reactions to the Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning have been many and varied - from a broad welcome to, "Bloody hell, it's how long?" But FErret was also summoned to an underground car park by a top-secret informant who stepped from the shadows and whispered hoarsely between drags on a cigarette: "Follow the money."

"Look at where they want the cash to go," the stranger said, "they're nearly doubling the money for over-75s. Look at the director and commissioners of the inquiry, what do you see? Grey hair. Former principal. Retired. It's a heist!"

This all sounds horrendously unfair to the vivacious, energetic and good- looking commissioners of this weighty inquiry. FErret for one is pleased that they made their recommendations without fear of appearing to be biased towards their older fellows.

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