I’ve just sat through the whole of the first in the new series of BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz and not one of the so-called comedians on the two teams had a go at Simon Hoggart (over this of course). Worse, it was an episode featuring both Armando Unfunnucci and Alan “my offspring shame me by being far more amusing than me” Coren. Talking of Coren’s offspring, this piece about our new Education Secretary is a doozy [full article in The Times—not available for free to Johnny Foreigner]:
“I was at school with Ruth Kelly. Nice girl. Blonde hair, ruddy cheeks, big shoes. We both then went to Oxford. We both became journalists, she on The Guardian, I on The Times. And then she got married, set an all-time record for the most number of babies born to a sitting MP and, on Wednesday, as a result of the elevation of Charles Clarke to the newly vacant Home Secretary’s job, became Secretary of State for Education. And I . . . well, didn’t. I’m still just an unmarried, childless git with no proper job. And everybody else is a bloody Cabinet minister.
“Secretary of State for Education, of all things. In a Labour government. Funny to think that the school Ruth and I attended is one of the most expensive, exclusive and ancient private schools in the world, and until recently faced nothing but open hostility from the Labour Party.
“Not that you will find any mention of Westminster School on Ruth Kelly’s CV. Like all privately educated Labour MPs, her website lists under “educ” only the universities, Oxford and LSE, which looks far more democratic, since one could, in theory, go to these without being posh.
“So I am rather tickled by the idea that education policy will be directed by someone who had exactly the same experience of school as I did. The same teachers, the same desks, the same smells, the same problems. She will no doubt make it a priority, on arriving in the job, to clamp down on the children who are bunking Saturday morning school because their parents want to drive down to the country on Friday night to beat the traffic.
“Shown round problematic inner-city schools where knife attacks on teachers and crack addiction are rife, she will demand to be shown the fives courts and inquire over the state of the school boathouse. She will be astonished to find that not all the schools under her jurisdiction have an abbey attached.”