Inchworm

3rd December 2010 at 00:00
The policy wonk rethinking your profession

MONDAY: The IT guy with the facial hair and the hat is sorting out Sandra's computer, again. It's the same problem every time. She'll search for something online - in this case, a set of five miniature plush facsimiles of Take That - then bang. She stumbles upon a glittering dialogue box. It invites her to download some essential software. Of course she does, she's an idiot. Her computer fills up with lurking horrible mischief smuggled in by some international crime syndicate. So then Facial HairHat Guy appears, explains in detail how he proposes to spend his time at Glastonbury 2011, purges her computer of all the nasty mafia shit and leaves, allowing Sandra time to reflect, and grow, and start making tragic mistakes all over again. "I don't think they can be THAT clever," she says, expertly, "if they can't even spell FISH." Question: Why is Sandra not part of The Cuts?

TUESDAY: We've been thinking about Facial HairHat Guy. He seems a bit boring and shallow, but then none of us can be arsed to get to know him. We don't HATE him. He's just doing his job. He does fix things, after all. This IS Broken Britain. Ooh, now then. A new narrative for educational reform? We could present any necessary adjustments to the system as "technical problem-solving". That way nobody could blame us if it goes wrong.

WEDNESDAY: We get FHH Guy to talk us through the process of fixing a knackered, ideologically compromised computer. Interesting. He says "hard drive", we hear "vast national estate of school buildings". He says: "Check the installed software", we hear "review the admissions system to prevent further inputting of wrongdifficult children ... ".

THURSDAY: We pitch the IT narrative to Scary Paula. First, "defrag the hard drive". There are bits of data everywhere - some have bunked off to a local shopping centre, some are mooching around in the corridor. They need to be organised, or deleted. Then we must install an anti-virus system at every school: paramedics in hazmat suits filtering out children who look poorly (formerly eligible for free school meals, may not meet aspirational standards) or suspicious (may be part of crime syndicate, or local gang). For dramatic purposes it might be possible to construct an actual "firewall" around certain schools in the form of a blazing moat. Next, we need to "upgrade memory" by installing, as promised, more History. Then, crucially, we need to install a new operating system: Gove 2.0.

FRIDAY: They love it upstairs. Facial HairHat Guy has unwittingly provided the template for very thorough reform. People are already talking about free schools as "plug-ins". And abandoned state schools as "spam folders".

As intercepted by Ian Martin.

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