SOCIAL INJUSTICE: Sandra and I aren't getting on very well. It's not so much that she's quitting soon to join The Gove's think tank, leaving me alone in a Department set to auto-destruct. Actually, to be honest, it is. I can't believe Bryony Stamp and her Tory blue sky team have headhunted Sandra and not me. It doesn't make any sense. I mean, you don't have to be that clever to be cleverer than Sandra. Her ringtone is "Talking Meerkat".
SYNTHETIC FALLACY: It's the second time this week she's forgotten her glasses. Peering at the newspaper cuttings, she does a puzzled look, goes to open her mouth, changes her mind, looks puzzled again and says "I don't understand. Why on earth would some English teachers want to work with synthetic phonies?" God. Synthetic PHONICS, idiot. After an exquisitely timed pause I add that SHE's apparently the one who wants to work with synthetic phonies. Ka-boom-tish. I'm on fire.
FUDGEMENTAL: Departmental Head Of Intelligence Stephen drops by, keen to have a word with me in private. Bloody Sandra's told she can go home early. Life can't actually GET any unfairer. "See this bullshit? How the Department's being evasive about funding allocations for quangos?" He points at a newspaper cutting, giving me 2.5 seconds to bring myself up to speed with the story. "Aye, that bastard Gove's putting it about that we're fudging the figures so he can't work out how much he's supposed to be promising to save when the Conservatives get in." Right. So, are we? "That's not important. The important thing is that we feed the WRONG information to the other side. That way, everybody's happy." What, even Team Gove? Departmental Head Of Intelligence Stephen stares, giving me 2.5 seconds to shut up.
IT TAKES TWO: So, I say casually to Sandra next day, amazing news about the quangos, isn't it? She doesn't even look up from her TV Quick. "Are they a band?" I consider for a moment pretending they are - that would obviously be classed as disinformation - but then Departmental Head Of Intelligence Stephen's face swims into view, looking very cross. Education quangos, Sandra. You know, like OFTHINK. The Wellbeing and Engagement Authority. The Monitoring and Rewardment ... "Yeah, yeah, them. What?" I explain there's a top-secret Departmental plan to make all quangos self-financing by the end of April. "How?" I whisper: privatisation. She looks thoughtful. Yeah, I add impulsively, and "quango vouchers".
BACKFIRED: A few days later, we're going through the cuttings. Gove Unveils Quango Voucher Scheme. Sandra looks pleased. Commentators love it. "Details will be finalised when government funding figures are released." Departmental Head Of Intelligence Stephen calls. I am to be "backfired" from last week. Inchworm.