14th January 2011 at 00:00

Monday: The Department owes a huge debt of gratitude to the Labour Party for making Azzy "Bifter" Burnham the shadow education secretary. Fair enough, The Gove may have all the humanity and warmth of a Star Wars droid, but at least he can argue his case. Putting a lachrymose Scouse sockpuppet in charge of the Opposition team was an act of kindness for which Team Gove was very thankful. Unfortunately for us, Bifter's now being goaded from all sides - his colleagues, his opponents, his Mam - actually to do something, rather than just sulk and avoid eye contact in the Commons. Suddenly his credibility's on the line. Either he engages properly with R2-Gove2 or he'll be shunted into some Northern Ireland utilities post. Alas, Bifter couldn't win a staring contest with the Gove, never mind a debate.

Tuesday: Oh dear. In a final throw of the dice, Bifter has announced he'll be taking part in Radio 1's Big Phat Phorum - a two-hour discussion about education hosted by Chris Moyles featuring articulate teenagers, live from Bluewater shopping centre. He knew The Gove had been invited on - that's why he's challenged him to a Rap Battle. Everyone's worried about Bifter vs Gove "on da mic". Obviously, they're both going to look and sound ridiculous, but there's a strong suspicion here that "Mike G", as we're reluctantly calling him, is going to come off worse. He's already sacked his rap coach for poor diction. And to be honest, the basketball gear does him no favours either.

Wednesday: There's been a predictable outcry from the Twitterati about Leicester Uni's proposals to embed "corporate skills" in the undergraduate curriculum. Idiots. If only they knew about our plans to spread exactly this ethos throughout the entire system. Should pupils of ALL ages not be equipped with the vital skills they need to succeed in a competitive market? Oh, it may seem fanciful now. But it's going to look a lot more realistic halfway through this administration's second term, when tuition fees are introduced for secondary education.

Thursday: We've been asked by Scary Paula to rethink our campaign message for free schools. Apparently "Attention Parents! Get State-Funded Private Education For Your Child - Now!" was just a bit too crass.

Friday: First rehearsals for Mike G's Raptastic White Paper, in which he spits out in rhyme his policy proposals for the next couple of years. He's still moving around like an animated wardrobe, but I have to admit his self-written rap's pretty impressive, despite being toned down for Radio 1. He's even forged a new nine-syllable word - "Baccamotherflippinglaureate". I think poor Bifter, and his ideas about comprehensive education, are looking well and truly flipped.

As intercepted by Ian Martin.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today