Peep's diary

March 25, 2005

Future masters of spin?

No, it's not the vice-chancellor's new motor. If you see a gleaming Aston Martin parked on campus it probably means that the Tories'

higher education spokesman is paying a visit. Before he was reshuffled into the job, Charles Hendry - or should that be "Hendry, Charles Hendry" - was the party's youth champion and he tells a nice tale of how his Aston helped him break the ice with a group of inmates at a young offenders'

institution. Of course, it is little surprise that criminals would be interested in meeting a man with a sports car, but Mr Hendry wanted to talk to them about what they planned to do once they had served their sentence, having no qualifications to speak of. His suggestion? "You could always become an MP."

With friends like Clare...

Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, is said to be upset that his friend John Clare, education editor of the Daily Telegraph , has scant regard for his intellect. In an open letter to Education Secretary Ruth Kelly, Mr Clare omits to mention his friend on a list of the four people in education whom she should pay attention to.

Not too deep a mystery

Just who could David Coates be referring to when he acknowledges those who helped him with his new book on the Government, Prolonged Labour ?

The professor of Anglo-American studies at Wake Forest University thanks the likes of Greg Dyke and Claire Short for their input.

But he reserves special gratitude for "my particular version of Woodward and Bernstein's 'Deep Throat' - my secret source close to the centre of power who must remain forever anonymous!" Our money is on cabinet office minister David Miliband, one of the most American Englishmen in the Government. Miliband has an American wife, did his MSc in political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his brother Ed, who works as a policy wonk for Chancellor Gordon Brown, also spent time at Harvard University.

The lure of big buck(et)s

Harvard historian Niall Ferguson praised conference organisers at West Virginia University for giving him an apt welcome when he delivered the prestigious Callahan lecture earlier this month. Directing his gaze to a bucket close to the lectern into which water was dripping from the ceiling he noted: "This is to remind me of my native land, where it rains like this more or less every day, and which is why so many people left and came to West Virginia all those years ago."

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