23rd April 2010 at 01:00
Fiscally obvious amp; Toxically entitled

Fiscally oblivious

So, the first ever live televised leadership debate - how did the parties set about wooing the crucial demographic of further education staff?

David Cameron mentioned colleges once. And Nick Clegg referred to them by, er, pondering their similarities with prisons: "overcrowded colleges of crime". Nonsense. The two are completely different: after all, prison numbers will probably go up next year.

Both were well beaten in this respect by the clunking fist of Gordon Brown, who offered these words of comfort: "What I'd be very worried about is if, in this difficult and straitened time, we were to cut our budgets for education at this point in time."

Yet, mysteriously, as Ferret awoke bleary-eyed to the aftermath of his debate drinking game - take a shot every time someone mentions "fairness", oh never mind, just pass the bottle - he could find no evidence of Mr Brown reversing the multi-million-pound cuts and job losses in FE. Or doesn't that count?

Toxically entitled

While places such as Derby College and Brighton, Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College had to make do with visits from the Prime Minister on his electioneering rounds, Orpington College in south-east London secured the real coup of the week.

Its new campus was opened by star of Neighbours, 1980s pop colossus and former Technicolor Dreamcoat model Jason Donovan. Among his many virtues is not having requested your vote since 2006's I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here.

He said: "I do genuinely believe that when you grow up your education, the people you meet and the facilities that you learn in make such an impact and become part of who you are. I think this particular building will have an impact on those growing up here."

College bosses seem confident it will have a huge impact if the name they chose is anything to go by: The Ozone, after the pollutant linked to asthma, bronchitis, heart attacks and premature death.

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