The week

1st October 2010 at 01:00

"You, boy! You at the back! Miliband junior ... wipe the snot from your nose and concentrate on your writing project, 'What I would do if I were prime minister'!" This was seemingly the origins of Red Ed's speech on Wednesday to an enthralled Labour party conference that cheered him to the rafters almost as if it had voted for him. How the members lapped up his happy reminiscing about the Portakabins at his oh-so-working-class 1980s Haverstock Comprehensive in liberal middle-class Camden. To rip off Private Eye, it's grim oop north London.

Mili-E did have one nice anecdote from his schooldays, though. He told his adoring crowd how he and his brother had not been trendy enough at school to hang out with fellow pupil Oona King, glamorous ex-MP and failed candidate for London mayor. Apparently, Ed said, this anecdote had triggered Scouse wag Andy Burnham to comment: "You're still not cool enough." Golly, how the banter around Gord's cabinet table must have had them rolling in the aisles.

Something that is plainly no longer a laughing matter is the bonfire of the quangos. While the gaze of the nation's press was firmly on Manchester, the Government has been ferreting away preparing for the real deal, the comprehensive spending review. A list leaked this week to the Fourth Estate revealed the full extent of the proposed quango-cide. While acronyms that we already knew were not long for this world were there - the QCDA, Becta, the GTC - other more surprising ones appeared as proposed casualties, the NCSL and the embryonic Young People's Learning Agency, for example. The YPLA - of course, you'll know - is the organisation that is going to dish out the cash to the thousands of new academies and hold them to account. Who, prey, is going to do this key job if you kill it off, Mr Gove?

One other big event this week was a report interrogating the state of sport in England's schools. Newspapers ignored the key finding - that team sport was on the rise - to reveal that football, rugby and cricket were being replaced with cheerleading. Presumably this had nothing to do with the desire to run lots of pics of scantily clad American teenagers.

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