7th May 2010 at 01:00
Black mark for Clegg amp; Willets' apprenticeship

Black mark for Clegg

By the time you read this Nick Clegg has probably been elected dictator- for-life, so FErret is taking a huge risk by reporting this. But the Cleggmania bandwagon hit a bump in the road at South Birmingham College.

Maya Black, 26, studying an access to health course in the hope of becoming a paramedic, attacked Liberal Democrat ideas on putting jobless young people into work placements or training (a policy almost indistinguishable from the other parties').

All he was offering was a "glorified piece of paper", she said, and nothing would really change unless something was done to get employers hiring again.

Flustered, the future Second Lord Protector asked what she would do instead to help people out of work. To applause by her classmates, she told the Lib Dem leader: "You shouldn't be asking me that - I'm asking you."

Quite right, and about time someone debunked this "invitation to join the government", power-to-the-people nonsense. Unless we get the grace-and- favour flats, plasma TVs on expenses and all the duck houses that money can buy, the politicians are going to have to sort out this mess themselves.

Willetts' apprenticeship

One last bit of election trivia: the Great Hall of Birmingham University, where the leaders held their final debate, features stained glass windows glazed by the great-grandfather of David Willetts - now possibly either minister for something or other, or locked away in one of Clegg's gulags.

Willetts senior would have been the proud product of the vocational education of his time, learning his trade from some grizzled veteran.

But how things change. In just a generation, the Willetts family has declined from exemplar of practical skills to author, former company chairman, visiting professor and board member of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, with a personal wealth estimated at pound;1.9 million.

Sigh. We used to make things in this country.

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