Monday, 23 February 2015
Cocktails in cans
26 January 2015, 8 pm
I sit in a hotel room catching up with the 567 emails that arrived while I was looking the other way today. I decide that only two of them need answering.
Emails done (well, almost), I devote 15 minutes to panicking about tomorrow’s diversity meeting. Lots of people are going to be there and I will have to motivate them all into agreeing some concrete deliverables, excuse the jargon. And the Lady Baroness IP Minister will be watching us deliver our concrete agreeables, which is almost as scary as Ms Sear watching you trying to pass a motion, excuse the jargon again.
When the 15 minutes’ panicking is over, I devote another 15 minutes to a cocktail-in-a-can. The cocktail-in-a-can is a relatively new idea and an overrated one too. A cocktail-in-a-can is like coffee from a flask: you have to be very uncomfortable, preferably on the verge of exhaustion, despair and/or hypothermia, before it seems at all comforting. This particular cocktail-in-a-can tastes, predictably, of essence of tin can with cheap lemonade. The last one tasted much the same, and it was ostensibly a completely different kind of cocktail. But I have only myself to blame.
Out of the can comes a Brilliant Idea to help social mobility if the Government continues to be unable to find money for student grants. The Brilliant Idea is this. You take good scientists and engineers straight from school, you train them to be good patent attorneys (by making them do your patent work for you) and then if you still think they are good and they are billing decent amounts, you sponsor them to get a STEM degree through the Open University or some such institution which will allow them to be students without having to sit through all the parties. And then voilà! You have your graduate, you can turn them into an EPA, but you have been making money out of them all along. And they have not had to pay their way through university, so even the poorest of ragamuffins stands a chance of getting into our exalted profession.
I put the Brilliant Idea back into the can for safe-keeping, eat a large bar of chocolate or two and fall asleep contented.