Inchworm

18th February 2011 at 00:00

Monday: There's a swelling sense of purpose in the Department. The Gove's education reform juggernaut is underway. The Buggernaut, Sandra used to call it, when she worked here, before the last wave of sackings. They're having a radical staff overhaul - old gits out, young tits in - and everyone's a bit hyper, waiting to find out if they're part of the juggernaut convoy. Or if they're some doddery burden on the welfare state, under it.

Tuesday: As juggernauts go, it's pretty massive. It was in the Top Gear workshop for months. Consultants who looked suspiciously like Hammond, May and Clarkson were seen entering the big education warehouse, stubbing out their fags, then leaving hours later, a bit pissed. The project was secret but they were obviously building a monster truck of laddish disposition, with crusher wheels and lots of chrome and soft rock playing very loudly, the porn-plastered cab crammed with wankers in haircuts whooping and cackling. Now the Buggernaut's out for a test drive, careening along comically inadequate minor roads, sounding its air horn - oh ... message from Scary Paula. She's conducting a Snap Appraisal on Thursday, could I drop by at 0900 hours? There's a sad-face emoticon at the end, which I think is a joke, which is bad. Suddenly it feels like the Buggernaut's about to screech around that sharp corner ahead. And here's me on a three-gear bike, wobbling towards it.

Wednesday: The Gove will be invincible. The Education Bill gives him "58 powers". Some of these powers may be delegated; it's not altogether clear yet. Of course the lazy journalists haven't spotted the three buried in the middle of the list: superspeed, an invisibility cloak, and withering sarcasm.

Thursday: My snap appraisal is basically an extended metaphor. Scary Paula produces a bamboo stick and demonstrates how swishy and effective it is. She snaps it in two: it's useless, see? You could give two people a nasty poke though, I say, rashly. She pokes me with one end, ouch, then lunges at thin air. "Fuck!" says an invisible figure. There's a disturbance in the air. It's Toby Young taking off his delegated cloak of invisibility. "I'm afraid we'll have to let you go," Paula says, playfully pointing splintered bamboo at my face. "Then there will be fewer people ..." She pokes Young in the guts, hard. "... to manage."

Friday: I take the matter to my blue-sky-thinking union rep. She refuses to help me on the grounds that I never bothered to join the union, that I got loads of her members sacked during the last Think To Rule, and that this is her last day as she's been made redundant. Private sector, here I come!

As intercepted by Ian Martin.

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