Further education: FErret

14th August 2009 at 01:00
What's new, pussycat?

Original paper headline: FErret

We in the world of FE are just getting to know Peter Mandelson, or at any rate the mark III, mortgage-free version that has returned to centre-stage in politics.

So it's helpful that he's been giving interviews explaining that far from being the Prince of Darkness of legend, he is really a "kindly pussycat".

If so, he's a Puss-in-Jackboots, as he's been stomping on the Tory claims to have taken on the mantle of progressive politics - for all the world as if he hadn't spent the past couple of decades pulling a similar trick from the opposite end of the political spectrum.

"To be a progressive is to believe that we can make a better society and improve the conditions of individual lives by acting together," he said.

Mr Mandelson, of course, sets a high benchmark for improving the conditions of individual lives: during his interview with The Guardian he managed to make a member of the public burst into tears with the sheer force of his disdain for her too-loud mobile phone conversation. Onwards and upwards, comrades!

Overseas students allowed to play

Congratulations to Isaac Shaze and Sam Mensah, a pair of students at Hartpury College in Gloucester, who have finally achieved their dream of playing for a team in the Football Conference.

The lads, now free to turn out for Forest Green FC, have enjoyed a Kafka- esque saga at the hands of UK immigration authorities.

Overseas students are banned from playing for Premier League or Football League clubs. Since Forest Green play in the conference, and (with respect) are no Manchester United, there should have been no problem.

But civil servants decided that the ban still applied since the club was "professional". Except no one could define what professional meant and a year of protracted philosophical discussions ensued.

Common sense prevailed. Still, if they're being this vigilant, there's no chance of people getting into the UK on visas through bogus colleges, eh?

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