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Christmas party


Ivory Tower: Exclusive access to the government’s higher education and research WhatsApp group

KeeganSoS: This year the duty has fallen to me.

Halfon4Harlow: To be education secretary?

Malthouse5: I did that for a bit this year.

CleverlyFO: Me too.

MDcult: And me, well for 36 hours, does it still count?

NadZ: I think I did it as well. Hard to keep up.

KeeganSoS: No, I mean to organise the Christmas party.

DfEPermSecretary: I’m not sure that’s a good idea.

GeorgeFreemanTHEscienceminister: Quite agree, the public have had enough of our partying.

Halfon4Harlow: Too right, have you seen the polls?

GeorgeFreemanTHEscienceminister: I meant Boris.

Halfon4Harlow: So did I.

DfEPermSecretary: I just meant we might bring in a professional party planner.

NusGscienceyminister: You mean the chair of the Conservative Party?

CallMeMrShapps: I did that for a while.

CleverelyFO: Me too, I think.

NadZ: So did I.

GeorgeFreemanTHEscienceminister: It’s still you, isn’t it?

NadZ: Is it? Hard to keep up.

DfEPermSecretary: No, I meant someone who organises parties professionally.

Halfon4Harlow: Kier Starmer?

DfEPermSecretary: Look, after the last time we had a Christmas party at the DfE, I just think we could do it a bit better.

CallMeMrShapps: Who did it last time?

MDcult: I was not present.

SirGavin: It was not a party.

DfEPermSecretary: You can say that again.

SirGavin: It was a work event. It did not reach the threshold for criminal activity.

GeorgeFreemanTHEscienceminister: Is that the measure of a good party?

Malthouse5: It was when I was a student.

CleverlyFO: I didn’t know you were in the Bullingdon.

Malthouse5: Is that a pub?

KeeganSoS: There will be no criminal activity, just something simple and sophisticated.

CallMeMrShapps: With no alcohol.

Halfon4Harlow: Seriously?

CallMeMrShapps: I’m sure I saw a memo about that.

Malthouse5: It’s called the Sue Gray compromise. You can have a party, but you can’t drink.

MDcult: Aren’t you thinking of the World Cup?

GeorgeFreemanTHEscienceminister: Qatar is a dry state.

NadZ: It’s practically a desert.

NusGscienceyminister: I think it’s literally a desert.

CleverlyFO: Maybe you are allowed an exemption to have a drink while watching the football. I’m sure I saw that on someone’s Instagram.

CallMeMrShapps: That was Kier Starmer.

MDCult: Wasn’t he drinking at a by-election?

NadZ: Well, he’s had a few to toast recently.

KeeganSoS: Why don’t we have the Christmas Party when watching the football, that way we can have a drink and stick it all on Instagram.

GeorgeFreemanTHEscienceminister: Isn’t that just called watching the football?

Malthouse5: Who’s playing?

Halfon4Harlow: England vs France.

NadZ: Don’t invite Suella Braverman.

Halfon4Harlow: Doesn’t she like football?

NadZ: No, just don’t invite Suella Braverman.

KeeganSoS: OK, who is on the list?

SirGavin: I’ve got a list.

DfEPermSecretary: Not that kind of list.

SirGavin: Of who’s been naughty and who’s been naughtier.

CallMeMrShapps: Am I on it?

NadZ: I think I’m on it, hard to keep up.

KeeganSoS: I meant who should we invite to the party?

MDcult: You mean World Cup work event?

CleverlyFO: To show that we are perfectly normal people.

SirGavin: I’m not.

Malthouse5: I think I am, or maybe that’s Jake Berry.

KeeganSoS: Shall we invite all the former education and science ministers?

DfEPermSecretary: I think we are going to need a bigger room.

KeeganSoS: Maybe we should make a special effort for those who will not be with us after the next election.

NadZ: You are going to have to be a lot more specific than that.

DfEPermSecretary: I don’t think there is a room big enough.

KeeganSoS: I was thinking of Chris Skidmore. He was two times universities and science minister.

Malthouse5: What about Matt Hancock, wasn’t he something to do with skills?

CleverlyFO: Not that I ever noticed.

KeeganSoS: Maybe we should just stick with people who have been ministers this calendar year.

NadZ: That includes Andrea Jenkyns.

CallMeMrShapps: So, I didn’t dream that?

NadZ: And Jonathan Gullis.

CleverlyFO: We are definitely allowed to drink at this party, right?

MDcult: World Cup work event.

KeeganSoS: And Instagram opportunity.

DfEPermSecretary: Maybe we should invite some vice-chancellors?

NadZ: Think I’d rather have Matt Hancock, to be honest.

DfEPermSecretary: I’ve got a list.

SirGavin: Me too.

KeeganSoS: Not now Gavin.

MDcult: What about the actual chancellor?

NadZ: Rishi Sunak?

GeorgeFreemanTHEscienceminister: He’s the prime minister.

NadZ: Is he? Hard to keep up.

CallMeMrShapps: Some say Rishi is still the true chancellor and Jeremy Hunt is just a vice-chancellor.

DfEPermSecretary: Is he? He’s not on my list.

SirGavin: He’s on mine.

Malthouse5: When did Jeremy Hunt become a vice-chancellor? I’m confused.

Halfon4Harlow: Sounds about right.

NadZ: Didn’t he have something to do with skills?

CleverlyFO: He ran a company called Hotcourses.

KeeganSoS: Was that like Deliveroo?

MDCult: The Olympics.

Malthouse5: I thought you said it was the World Cup?

MDCult: Jeremy Hunt wasn’t a skills minister, but he was minister for the Olympics.

KeeganSoS: Think he’ll know about football then?

CallMeMrShapps: I sincerely doubt it.

Malthouse5: Weren’t you a vice-chancellor?

CallMeMrShapps: I was chancellor for a week during the summer.

Malthouse5: I went to Tenerife for a week during the summer.

KeeganSoS: This is getting confusing, no vice-chancellors.

NadZ: Does that mean I can’t come?

KeeganSoS: We can have ex-chancellors, just not vice-chancellors.

DfEPermSecretary: What about actual chancellors?

Malthouse5: Didn’t someone say Rishi Sunak is the actual chancellor?

Halfon4Harlow: Don’t invite him, he doesn’t drink, and he’ll waffle on for hours about Star Wars.

DfEPermSecretary: No, I meant university chancellors.

KeeganSoS: Good call, are there any who used to be Conservative MPs?

DfEPermSecretary: John Bercow.

NadZ: Wonder if Matt Hancock is still available.

Malthouse5: You can bet on it.

NusGscienceyminister: This list is very biased towards education.

KeeganSoS: You mean they all went to private school?

NazGscienceyminister: No, I mean we need to invite some people from the business department.

KeeganSoS: OK, same rules, only people who have been ministers this year.

GeorgeFreemanTHEscienceminister: Kwasi Kwarteng?

KeeganSoS: I’m beginning to think this party wasn’t such a good idea.

GeorgeFreemanTHEscienceminister: Didn’t Liz Truss used to have something to do with skills?

NadZ: You are kidding, right?

MDCult: She did childcare.

KeeganSoS: Before or while she was prime minister?

MDCult: No, she was in charge of childcare at the DfE.

KeeganSoS: She ran the creche?

NusGscienceyminister: Was it a car creche?

MDCult: She was actually childcare minister for nearly two years.

GeorgeFreemanTHEscienceminister: That’s 12 times longer than she lasted as PM.

MDCult: Michael Gove was education secretary.

Malthouse5: That’s blown my mind.

KeeganSoS: That Liz Truss was childcare minister for two years?

Malthouse5: That Michael Gove was ever education secretary.

NadZ: Liz has been deleted from this list, right?

SirGavin: She’s on mine.

NadZ: No, I mean the WhatsApp group.

InLizWeTruss: Errr… is this thing on? How does it work?

NadZ: Who else is on here?

BringBackBoris: Did someone say party? Count me in.

KeeganSoS has left the group

CallMeMrShapps has left the group.

NadZ has left the group.

Malthouse5 has left the group.

SirGavin has left the group.

CleverlyFO has left the group.

GeorgeFreemanTHEscienceminister has left the group.

MDcult has left the group.

NusGscienceyminister has left the group.

InLizWeTruss: Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3… is anyone receiving me?

BringBackBoris has left the group.

Terms of use: this is a free email for fun on a Friday, it should be shared among colleagues like a thumbed copy of Matt Hancock’s Covid hero diaries. Want to RSVP the Ivory Tower Christmas pub crawl? Want to say hello? Email ivorytower@researchresearch.com