Gap in Westminster thinking.

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gapyear.jpgThe Department of Health is putting the frighteners on young people considering volunteering abroad - do you really want the people you're helping to come down with swine flu? 

They've got an example, too. Kenya's first swine flu case followed a visit by Nottingham University students, some of whom had caught it before they left (not pictured).

So far so clear, even if swine flu is so far failing to live up to the warnings of the sandwich board men. In particular, a hundred times more people die each year just from car crashes than from have died from swine flu.

The new Department for Business Innovation and Skills, created as a vehicle for the ego of Peter Mandelson and his attendant junior lordlings, takes a different view. 

anim.gifThe rotating images on its front page are delightful. They show Mandy looking like a creepy uncle with that trademark strange expression halfway between genial and sinister, followed by a biological closeup of something the dubious Lord Drayson presumably has a conflict of interest in, then a massive space laser for destroying David Cameron, and a dude having an absolutely enormous sneeze to publicise swine flu. 

Their Lordships don't seem particularly worried about the last of these, though, unlike their chums at Health. Others may wish to keep British viral vectors on their gap year at home, but Mandelson is proposing to pay to make sure those self-same gap years go ahead. Joined up government anyone?

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This page was published on August 2, 2009 11:46 AM.

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