Monday, February 07, 2005

The cup that cheers

Today's Guardian carries a long extract from the new book by Peter Hyman, the former New Labour apparachik who has gone into teaching. Oddly, what strikes the reader most is not the radical break Hyman has made but how similar his new career must be to his time working for Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street.

Let me explain.

My new boss is Trevor Averre-Beeson, headteacher of Islington Green school. The first time I meet him, he is standing like a new father next to his pride and joy - his Fender Stratocaster guitar. On the wall of his office there is a Beatles calendar.
Working for someone who made his love of rock and roll a little too public to be true? That must have seemed strangely familiar.
He is over six feet tall and broad-shouldered; mid-40s, in a blue suit, a pale blue shirt and a purple tie. He is middle-class...
I think we had gathered that from his job and his name.
...yet has a classless feel to him.
That's all right then.
He radiates dynamism.
Grrr, tiger.

"Welcome," he says. "Water or coffee?" I later discover that anyone who asks for tea annoys Trevor intensely. He has coffee brewing permanently and water is easy. He doesn't want to waste time making tea.
What greater condemnation...

Let's go back into black ink.

What greater condemnation could there be of a man than that he is not prepared to spare the time to make tea? We see here, all at once, what is wrong with the modern world, the state of education and New Labour.

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