No one was more surprised than the new higher education minister Alan Johnson to find he was taking over the brief from Margaret Hodge.
Speaking at his first public appearance three-and-a-half weeks into the job, Mr Johnson said: "Tony rang and told me on a Thursday. It was a bit of a shock. But I was in Sainsbury's with my son on the Saturday and saw copies of The THES . 'That'll set me up fine,' I thought." Let's hope he's placed a regular order.