First, there was Margaret Thatcher's hairdresser. Now, we have Michael Barber's dry cleaner. The standards supremo likes to refer to his Islington dry cleaner as an example of "the learning society" and last week treated members of the Local Government Association to his favourite joke: "Your dry cleaner will ask you whether you have heard of the Czech novelist Ivan Klima and you, taken aback, will say you haven't."
But the erudite stain remover has yet more to offer, as the LGA discovered. "The real problem," he told Professor Barber, "is that no one in England has ever understood Nietzsche."
Apart from Professor Barber who, inspired by the philosopher, or his dry cleaner, has famously declared that God is dead.