Worm, Inch - Futures Delivery Taskforce

13th November 2009 at 00:00

FRACK: Departmental Head of Intelligence Stephen is in our office, looking very bald and very cross. Our think tank is in LOCKDOWN pending an "internal inquiry", which sounds uncomfortable. Owen says he doesn't know what's bloody well going on here but he doesn't like it. His computer's been disabled by IT and bidding's about to close on a very special Battlestar Galactica eBay item. Sandra just looks puzzled, her default setting.

NOT SMILEY: Stephen ("call me Dephead Intel") is sitting the wrong way round on a chair, observing us, sceptically. Our manager Scary Paula has already been suspended. "I have been tasked with tracing the leak of sensitive material from this unit. Some of which has found its way to the Shadow Education Team. I can tell you there's an electronic paper trail ... ". Sandra puts up her hand. "1. How do you even know the Gove People have nicked our ideas? And 2. What ideas?" These are both excellent questions.

QUESTION TIME: Stephen does one of his enigmatic Le Carre looks and says something about "covert operations" and "contacts". Sandra wonders bluntly why he doesn't just ask his contacts, then, instead of bothering us with this nonsense, but he chooses first to answer her Question 2. "I have here a list of Pre-Policy Thinking Nodes retrieved from a dustbin outside the Shadow Team's office ... ". Bugger, it's on Scary Paula's personal stationery. We all wince in recognition and embarrassment as Departmental Head of Intelligence Stephen reads out our list of ideas.

BRAINCHILDREN: Hope schools and charity schools to build on the success of faith schools. The Jedward Initiative to allocate paired places to twins. Widening the National Lottery admissions system to include Thunderball scholarships to Oxford and a Euro Rollover for foreign student exchange visits. Electronic tagging for parents to make sure they stay in the right postcode. Increasing the size of doorways everywhere to promote wider access. Development of a more "provincial" version of urban dance for schools in suburban areas. Persuade colleges not to judge applicants on the basis of their social background alone, but to take into account quality of pictureavatar and LOL Quotient.

FLATLINE: "It's not just the treachery," he says, gazing sternly out of the window. "It's the fact that the other side now know EXACTLY what passes for innovative thought here." Sandra asks if Scary Paula is on "indefinite gardening leave". Ha, I say, that's a laugh. I know for a fact that she and Bryony live in a second floor flat. "Oh," says Departmental Head of Intelligence Stephen, forming his eyebrow into a Gothic arch. "Who's Bryony?" Owen checks his watch, angrily betting that he's been outbid on those Cylon Centurion pyjamas. Inchworm.

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