Inchworm

30th July 2010 at 01:00
The policy wonk whose heart isn't in it

Monday - The Gove has set up an Ops Room in a refurbished cold war bunker underneath the Department. Access is strictly limited to "Team Academy", The Gove's creepy new entourage. They accompany him everywhere now, this phalanx of sycophants in charcoal suits and haircuts. All under the command of Departmental Head of Intelligence Scary Paula. They are the Praetorian Guard to Gove's Augustus. When he swished round the country putting down the teachers' unions, laying waste to school building programmes and giving squeaky bad-tempered little speeches about how we've all got to pull our socks up, Team Academy made sure nobody got close enough to twat him.

Tuesday - Scary Paula rings, with an offer I can't refuse. I've been invited to the Gove Bunker! Yes! Scary Paula senses my air punch and moves swiftly to curb any collateral joy. "Visitor pass only. You'll be assisting with the Battle Map. Oh, and when you turn up, wear something World War Two-ish..." I freeze, mid-air punch. What? "Mr Gove finds it... motivational to operate in a Britain At War atmosphere. We have a strict dress code." Oh, I bet she's loving this. Even on her days off she dresses like a Nazi commandant.

Wednesday - Go shopping for my wartime outfit. Obviously I want to fit in. On the other hand, advancement in the world of wonkery means getting noticed. It's a difficult balance to achieve. Luckily, I have discovered the fancy dress shop, Gay Apparel. I am confident I will make an impression.

Thursday - To the Gove Bunker, buoyed by the admiring looks I got when I picked up my pass. At basement level, the men of Team Academy are arriving in stylish double-breasted suits and hats. The women all have pencil skirts and Andrews Sisters hairdos. Then there he is: The Gove appears in a grey boiler suit, accompanied by Scary Paula, a vision in patent leather and khaki. "Why," she asks crisply, "are you wearing pyjamas and a dressing gown?" For a start it's a smoking jacket, I tell her. And I am Noel Coward, helping the war effort with my witty one-liners..." "No, you're not. Come back tomorrow, dressed properly." Oh, you mean like the spiv out of Dad's Army, I say. After she's disappeared.

Friday - Trudge my way in. Heavy blue serge and a Homburg: ugh. Scary Paula nods me through. I'm in the Bunker. It's dark and massive. A scowling Winston Gove is in his boiler suit, surveying a huge map of local education authorities to be bombed. Little stickers (crossed canes and mortar board) indicate "successful academy strikes". Then, suddenly, one of the haircuts bursts in. They've intercepted some enemy intelligence. Can't be from Ballsy then... TO BE CONTINUED.

Please send your suggestions to inchworm@tes.co.uk.

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