ETHOS - What exactly is it, ethos? That's the problem our little group is wrestling with. I'm freelancing at a Team Gove policy picnic in Regents Park, very informal but quite intense, soft drinks only. They're all getting VERY excited about taking over next year. A young man called Eddie is our keynote speaker and fancies himself as a comedian. Ethos, he says, means Different Things To Different People. Some, ha ha, think Ethos is one of the Three Musketeers. Hm... that does have a certain Desperate Romantics charm. Ethos - fighting on behalf of articulate parents everywhere for justice and a better class of peer group. Why not, I suggest, actually create a posh cartoon character called Ethos, with that back-story? Run it as a family-friendly Party Political Broadcast. A mini-saga with swords and music and Dr Who lighting etc. Idiots: they think this is a brilliant idea. Honestly, it's like taking vouchers from a baby.
HOME - Pop back to the Department to check emails. Very quiet here. I'm starting to wonder how many of the people I said goodbye to before the Summer Break will actually be returning with the dewy mornings and the Daddy Long Legs. In the savage world of unemployment and supply teaching, voluntary redundancy is like a three-month hibernation package at Centerparcs. Oh, hello. There's an email from Max. Cc'd to everyone in the think tank...
AWAY - "Hey everybody! Great hols. Hooked up with this guy from an educational trust for the understanding and propagation of science. He's MINTED. Got invited to a gourmet weekend in Cotswolds with influential Tories, including someone really high up in the Treasury. Plus, the geezer who took us quad biking turns out to be Shadow Further Ed. Sweet. After much soul-searching I have decided to accept the challenge of doubling my salary for basically spending 30 hours a week frowning at statistics. I know - just like my old job, but double the salary! May be coming out of the recession. Back for farewell drink ASAP :-) Max."
SCARY - So that's four of us left. And Scary Paula's made it clear we'll ALL be phased out by the end of the year. I experience that anxiety and chilling of the blood prompted in all of us by the advent of the autumn term, and hurry back to Team Gove.
LES MISERABLES - We're imagineering a storyboard for Ethos the Musketeer. We see him riding out to rally PFI funding. Hunting down truants. Defending the Kings and Queens of England from seditious history teachers in Simon Schama glasses and leather jackets banging on about slavery all the time. Then it occurs to us. Ethos is bloody FRENCH. Back to the drawing board. Inchworm.