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Tough guy's exit

And so it's goodbye to Alan Johnson, who has left his job as FE and HE minister to become work and pensions secretary.

The slightly intimidating demeanour of the former Mod and working-class London boy added a touch of rough and tumble to the sometimes rather sissy worldof education.

I remember Big Al was once asked at a press conference what would happen to employers who failed to follow the skills training agenda.

"Well, let's just say we're expecting them to co-operate voluntarily," he said, cricking his neck and smiling menacingly, "or we'll have to arrange a meeting."

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