8th June 2007 at 01:00
(Photograph) - Teachers who wanted to contact the Education Secretary in the past might have written to the Department for Education and Skills or asked a question if he appeared at their union's conference.

In the age of the interweb, there is a more direct way of getting messages through to Alan Johnson (right). You can become his "friend" on the popular website Facebook.

The former postman and a favourite to become deputy prime minister has nearly 400 people listed as friends on the social networking site, giving them access to photographs and regular news on his whereabouts and how he is feeling.

They can learn such fascinating facts as his favourite bands (Arctic Monkeys and Super Furry Animals rank alongside The Beatles and Dire Straits) and his favourite saying: Clement Attlee's line about "the triumph of reasonableness and practicality over doctrinaire impossiblism".

He is also a member of such online clubs as "Gordon Brown for Britain" and "I call conservatives Tories!"

Mr Johnson's friends, who include the schools minister Jim Knight, have decided against berating him on education policy, but have instead offered sympathetic comments - and occasional moments of downright sycophancy ("We love you Alan!").

His rival Peter Hain is also listed among his friends, although this may only be so that they can poke each other electronically.

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