Laurie Taylor Column

December 19, 2003

Enjoying your Christmas dinner, Roger?

What's that, mother?

I asked if you were enjoying your dinner. How do you like the partridge? I decided that we'd have a change this year. It's not too sweet, is it? I put a little redcurrant jelly in the gravy to take the edge off the gamey taste. And the bread sauce?


Roger. I think I know what's on your mind. You've been having more trouble at that silly university of yours, haven't you? Oh yes, I know all about it this year. I've been reading about it for weeks and weeks. All that business about top-down fees.

Top-up fees, mother. Top-up.

But shouldn't you be pleased about them, Roger? I read somewhere that they were a very good thing because now students would know the quality of the courses from their price. It's a bit like this lovely partridge. It was more expensive than every other bit of game and poultry, so I just knew it must be better. Isn't that the same with your nice course on social things?

Social policy, mother. But it doesn't work out that way.

It doesn't?

No, it doesn't. You see, mother, there are lots and lots of courses on social policy. Every university in the country has a course on social policy. Some are partridges, some are pheasants, some are teal, some are woodcock, some are wigeon, some are grouse. But it just so happens that my course is...

Roger, you mustn't cry. You'll spoil the meal.

It just so happens that my course is a complete and utter turkey.

There, there, my boy. My darling boy.


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