26th November 2010 at 00:00
The policy wonk rethinking your profession

Monday - It's Rhetorical Amendment Week. Every couple of months we have to overhaul and repair ministerial position statements. Some are just suffering from normal wear and tear. For instance, one of our junior ministers has been bleating in every single speech about how education is a "knowledge economy". A driver for "social capitalism". She always pauses for effect before saying, with quiet conviction: "Ladies and gentlemen, to Know is to Grow ..." She's an idiot, and her rhetoric is coming apart at the seams. Worse, it jars with our recent redefinition of education as a consumer-led "free market of knowledge in affordable instalments". We replace her little rhyme with one of our own: "The more you learn, the more you earn, de dum de-dum, so pay your way ..." We'll fix "de dum de-dum" later.

Tuesday - Carry out running repairs to The Gove Credo. Before the election he was clear: state education shouldn't be STATIST education. "I abhor central government interference!" he'd bark. "I want to encourage individual schools to determine their own ethos and destiny!" Well, obviously THAT needs a rethink. Ethos and Destiny sounds like an X Factor double act. We suggest: "My Department will liberate all schools by having direct control over their status, funding and aspirational mindset. Oh, and their EXISTENCE actually. And let me say how much I admire the work of local authorities. I wish them the very best of luck in the future ..."

Wednesday - Astonishingly hostile reaction to the news that we're scrapping Teachers TV. Pff. It was RUBBISH. Teachers teaching teachers? I watched it for five minutes; it was like being trapped in a lift with heavily medicated psychiatric patients. But we're amending our position. We're NOT scrapping it, we're upgrading it to something more cost-effective. What, though? Teachers Radio? It would be cheaper. And you wouldn't be able to see the teachers, which could only improve their image.

Thursday - Teachers seem to do a lot of networking in the pub, could we build on that? Hm. Why not bring together social networks like Facebook and Twitter and say we want to encourage teacher interaction, grouped in pubs but communicating via the internet to form a no-cost, user-controlled "supernetwork" under one theoretical pub roof? Instead of Teachers TV they'd have Pub Teachers Twitfaced Interactive. Or something.

Friday - More rhetorical amendments. Lib Dems this time. They're notionally in power, "wearing the trousers", but unfortunately they've put on a bit of weight. The phrase "we will NOT tolerate a rise in tuition fees" needs letting out a bit. We add "unless absolutely necessary" and send it back with a note recommending that, in future, all Lib Dem position statements are elasticated to start with.

As intercepted by Ian Martin.

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