AS THE nation's children begin their life-long learning about drugs, and as education action zones gear up and we brace ourselves for the local electorate's verdict on Blair, the Tories are turning trendy to attract the young.
A new group, Conservative Future, led by Donal Blaney, 24-yea- old former head of the Tory graduate group, is charged to get half the party younger than its leader by the next election.
Apposite then, that five pupils from William Hague's alma mater, Wath comprehensive near Rotherham, were found with traces of cannabis on a school trip to Germany?
As it's one year on from the landslide, time to ask, a la Noel Coward, whatever happened to him? Among the 126 MPs who lost their jobs, erstwhile education minister Robin Squire has been unemployed since he became ex-MP for Hornchurch, Essex, even failing to land a job as a school bursar.
Should they last until 2020, Parliament's male rejects (according to the Henley Centre's latest forecast) won't have to work anyway, as women are more likely to be the bread-winners. Cyber schools will replace classrooms and commerce will be easier and cheaper on the Internet.
It's been a good week for the Internet: the CIA has launched a home page for kids to introduce them to the world's biggest spy agency; Koko, a gorilla that understands sign language, will answer questions on the net in the first inter-species computer chat interpreted by his teacher, Dr Penny Patterson.
Her research might have escaped the ire of William Proxmire, who, as chairman of the US Senate's influential banking committee, used to award a "Golden Fleece" to the project he considered the most reckless use of Federal funds. A famous winner was one set up to answer: "Why do people not like very long queues?" A British candidate could be a York University study on the Spice Girls' impact on cultural barriers. Researchers asked six to eight-year-olds who their favourite was. Scary Spice, Mel B, was least popular. They didn't like Posh much either. "Stupid high heels," they said.
Unlikely Spice fan, Roger Scruton, the philosophy professor, will have his first opera staged on May Day at Oxford University. Hero of The Minister is an ambitious politician who betrays friends and lovers for power and drowns himself in a fit of remorse. "It's not based on anybody I know," he said.
What's in a name? New Scientist has found a condition called nominative determinism. To the editor's delight, examples of names matching jobs have flooded in since staff checked that JW Splatt and D Weedon wrote an essay on incontinence in the British Journal of Urology.
Miss Satchell is a head in Essex, Mr Sentance teaches English in Hertfordshire and Miss Beat, music. And the deputy of Keith Hellawell, the Government's anti-drugs co-ordinator, is called Mike Trace.