Anorak News | Slings & Arrows

Slings & Arrows

by | 16th, January 2006

‘HOW do you stop London winning the right to host the Olympic Games in 2012? With pink icing? A chocolate fondant? A rich orange cream with five marzipan rings?

On Monday, the nation’s hungry young pastry chefs were backing the capital’s bid to host the 2011 Worldskills tournament, previously known as the Skills Olympics

And not only them, but hairdressers, web designers, florists, floor tilers, a London mayor and the Chancellor were hoping to impress the two visiting judges who sit on the tournament’s organising board.

So long as the bid team keep the doyens of the games away from London’s Tube workers, cabbies, bus drivers and traffic wardens, we have every chance of winning the right for hat makers to stick another feather in London’s bowler.

Sadly, the competition is only open to those of you under 22 years of age, meaning Prince William is already too old to win a gong for ironing, boot polishing and laundry – three things that will make a soldier of him as we watched him begin life at Sandhurst.

But Wills is free to enter the contest to design a fitting tribute to his great granny, the Queen Mother. Perhaps Wills can outdo our budding welders, joiners and carpenters and come up with something in gin and wood.

But, sadly, the nation’s mechatronics experts are unable to compete. On Tuesday, we read the brief: “Ease of ongoing maintenance by the Royal Parks is a key issue, so the use of water and moving parts is to be discouraged.”

This monument needs to be a blends of science and art. And don’t be put off – science is easy. As far as Dr Martin Stephen, headmaster of St Paul’s public school, London, told us on Thursday, earning a GCSE in science is as easy as dribbling your dinner into a bib.

“The new GCSEs are to real science what baby food is to steak,” said he. “They will bore the pants off many students, not inflame them with a new love of science.” Science has been “dumbed down and broadened out”.

Nonsense. Science was just becoming useful. Just get a load of the sample exam question that appeared in the Mail: “Ali likes potatoes. He knows potatoes can be cooked by frying them or boiling them. Write down one other way to cook potatoes.”

Answer: Place exam paper, GCSE exam certificates and other wastepaper into a large bin. Set fire to paper with match. Throw on potato.

At least maths teaching was improving. Education Minister Phil ‘The Good’ Hope was of the opinion that darts sharpens the mind.

Stepping up to the oche, Phil made his views known in the Mirror. “You need to know your maths if you’ve got two darts left and want to win the match,” said he.

“Darts, whether you’re watching or playing, can show people how useful maths can be in sports and life.”

Which means it could be time to bring darts into the classroom. Or to take the kids to the darts.

Let’s see how fast the scholars can work out the price of two double snowballs, a lager top, five shandies and a brandy and fizzy orange before sir hits his double top.

While Hope was trying to deflect the slings and arrows away from his colleague Ruth Kelly, John ‘Integrated Transport Policy’ Prescott hit the headlines.

As the Express screamed from its front page, the words hanging like a pall over a photo of a grinning Prezza: “JAIL THIS COUNCIL TAX CHEAT.”

As the Mail so succinctly put it in its headline: “While your council tax soared, Prezza wasn’t paying his.”

Honest John was forced to admit that for the last eight years he had not paid a single penny in council tax on his Admiralty Arch flat.

Cabinet Office rules clearly state that if the grace-and-favour home, such as Admiralty Arch, is the main residence, then responsibility for paying council tax is down to the minister who lives there.

But something went wrong. And none of it was Prezza’s fault, not really. The Mirror branded Prezza “blundering”, and heard him apologise for his “inadvertent error”, a “genuine misunderstanding”.

As such, Prezza might like to note that the current fee for living in this Band H London pad is £1,236. And, yes, that is in pounds sterling and payable not just once but every year.


Posted: 16th, January 2006 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink