Dearing Day, last Wednesday, and the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals was determined to put on a damned good show. The vice squad's motorcade pulled up at the Intercontinental Hotel where Dearing was to give his report. CVCP press officer Paul Clarke, dressed up in Reservoir Dogs gear minus the blood, stumbled out of his limo, bearing the first of umpteen boxes containing the entire back catalogue of CVCP publications. A portable computer followed. And then a printer. Alas, it was all to end in tears.
The CVCP press conference for 2.30pm was rudely upstaged by the Department for Education and Employment which wanted to put forward a response formulated three years ago by Labour when in opposition.
CVCP chief executive Diana Warwick was left wandering around looking to rugby-tackle any hacks who miraculously were not at the DFEE briefing. Mr Clarke said: "It was only a couple of boxes, and the printer and computer were needed so that we formulated our response to Dearing on the spot. It was no problem at all. Your source clearly has a vivid sense of imagination ... probably on acid or something. It's all rubbish."