The institute of bad ideas

November 4, 2005

The world makes little sense. Irrationality and brutality are on the rise.

Every day brings more fear, confusion and bewilderment. Are there answers to our questions, solutions to our problems? Not at the Institute of Bad Ideas

Dear Dr Mansell, Institute of Bad Ideas

We acknowledge receipt of your letter of March 21 regarding aspirational incentives to encourage consumer selection of optimal institutions, facilitating a functional tertiary education market. Your four-volume "thinktionary" kit has been examined and the CD-Rom passed to GCHQ. Your incentives are very much in line with our "nurturing" approach to undergraduates: free tubes of Smarties and Desperate Don bars, "ironic" Blockbusters ringtones and discretionary use of the college ball pond. And we liked the honorary ASBO - "all the street cred, none of the legal baggage" - as it would widen appeal in areas we find hardest to recruit from. But we fear that awarding scholarships to those who shout "bogies"

loudest "in da lib'ry" may upset more vulnerable students, boil-in-the-bag cheese on toast would need approval by the Government's food agency, (ie Jamie Oliver), and extra cuddles for late essays could run into legal difficulties. Furthermore, widening participation has nothing to do with improving access for the morbidly obese: our use of the words "weighting", "class size" and "support" clearly differs from yours. And we are perplexed by your attitude towards Patrick Kielty. He possesses the ideal qualities to spearhead our new academic excellence scheme.

Yours sincerely Dr Git Department for Education

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