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Why we're in the wrong business

Amusing to see that the "teamwork" awards, in which Newcastle college has become a finalist, are backed by "the Office of Government Commerce".

The fact that such a quango exists, not to mention the Government's habit of constantly telling employers what's good for them on the training front, suggests our ministers know a thing or two about business.

So what, according to the Government, is a business person? An example was provided this week when we heard the result of a BBC survey which showed GPs earn an average of pound;100,000 a year, and up to pound;250,000. We were told that this is because they are, effectively, running a business and, being self-employed, are entitled to pay themselves according to how much profit they make - or, to be more precise, how much taxpayers' cash is left over.

With this in mind, I've decided its time for a career change. Just as soon as I get approval from the Treasury, I'm setting up my own business - a nice little pub in deepest Suffolk.

Why do I need Treasury approval? Well, my pub is special, being modelled on that well-known "business", the GP's surgery. The Ferret's Head will give new meaning to the word "freehouse": instead of employing the old-fashioned and frankly outdated strategy of charging customers for beer, I'm going to give it away.

Of course, the beer won't really be free. It will, rather, be "free at the point of use" - just like a local GP's advice is - and, at the end of the evening, Gordon Brown will come along and pick up the tab.

And here's the best bit. The amount of cash I get from Gordon per pint will be more than it actually costs to serve my customers, so I get to stick what's left over in my back pocket.

My first VIP customer will be Marianne Talbot, the pub philosopher from Oxford University's department of continuing education.

She was recently quoted as saying that people would be prepared to pay Pounds 10 an hour for classes because it would still cost less than an hour in the pub.

People will come from miles around to see how she manages to consume so much alcohol. The cash should stretch to about 15 pints during the course of the Ferret Head's first evening.

How can she spend pound;10 an hour on booze?

"On the basis of an hour's worth of education as being pound;10 - roughly - and the fact I can easily drink a pint in half an hour and so can most of my friends," she explains. "That comes to more than pound;10, doesn't it?"

Who said we need less adult education and more basic skills?

Email us FErret@tes.co.uk

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