GETTING a straight answer out of a politician is difficult at any time but before an election it's hardest of all.
Estelle Morris, the schools standards minister, was faced with a poser at last week's National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers' conference: will you return to teaching if you lose your seat?
The answer from the National Union of Teachers member (who insisted she would retain her Birmingham Yardley seat) was revealing for what it didn't say: "If I were 21 and choosing again I would go into teaching."
Quite, but you're not exactly 21 any more, are yo Estelle?
Shadow education secretary Theresa May, asked to consider going into teaching, was more forthcoming. "The closest I ever got to teaching was as a Sunday school teacher," she said.
"I have etched on my mind the memory of Christopher," she said. "Lessons took a set pattern: a story and at the end the children had to draw a picture to illustrate it. Christopher always drew a space rocket. I don't think my teaching abilities are high. But, should I lose my seat, I will be open to all offers except one. I wouldn't want to emulate my namesake and become a soft porn star."