A 3-1 victory for part-time-ness

The Queen is of course part-time. Her other job is matriarch of her dysfunctional family
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The Independent Culture
HURRAH, THE home nation had something to smile about this week- end. A nice break from all that foreign unpleasantness. Yes, the good weather, that made us all smile. England's win brought a bigger smirk, at least to English physogs. It wasn't just the football that made me beam - but the decisive victory for part-time-ness.

I've long believed England should be managed part-time. What else have they got to do? There's often three whole months between games. They don't have to fly to Carlisle to watch Matt Jansen or take the Tube to Costa Rica to see Paulo Wanchope. That's what club managers do, once their scouts have spotted someone. They don't have 40 players to look after and train, some of them very young, raw and untrainable. All the England manager has to do is watch the odd Premier game, chew his pencil, and motivate, motivate, motivate. That's about it, really.

Once you make it full-time, work expands to fill the time available, so Don Revie drew up dopey dossiers which just confused the lads. Graham Taylor became paranoid about the press. Hoddle grew devious, hiding tactics, such as they were, lying about injuries, till finally he went potty.

Kevin has had other things to think about these last few weeks and not had time to either over-elaborate or let it get him down. I see the bookies are now laying odds that he will take the job full-time, despite what he has said. l do want him to take the job permanently - but part- time, permanently.

With one hand he can guide Fulham into the Premiership, and England with the other. That is the future of international football. Otherwise no one any good will want the job, now that being a Club Manager of a Big Club is the job with real power and prestige, muscle and money.

I also hope that PTN is the future for the world. As we speak, the Archbishop of Canterbury is sitting with his pencil poised, thinking of some well- chosen cliches for next week-end. After Easter, he's free till Christmas. Well, he should be. What else has he got to do? Ample time to find another job.

The Queen is, of course, part- time. Her other job is matriarch of her dysfunctional family. If only she'd not spent as much time these last four decades Queening it, her brood would be in much better nick.

And if John Birt had been a part time director-general, he would surely have spared all those poor BBC types his endless flow charts, business plans and management junk. It's noticeable that when Clinton had time to indulge himself in his er... hobbies, he didn't have time, energy or interest to press red buttons and go to war. Monica comes over here - and what happens? Boom, boom.

Now should our blessed PM be part-time? Judging by Tony's present complexion - pale face, baggy eyes, worried look - he needs a break, sharpish. l agree that a job-sharing Prime Minister might be hard to organise, and get spin doctors in a spin, but if it can't be done part-time, then he should try to pack up each day at five and play with the kids in the back garden.

Macmillan used to give the impression of doing it part-time, which was a very reassuring impression to give. Those who say it has to be done full-time will point to all the stuff coming in, every second, 24 hours a day, now that we are one electronic village. Very true. But modern IT is the perfect example of space expanding. Do we actually need all this constant communicating?

If the PM can't do it part-time, in the Keegan model of PTN, ie giving it a week of intensive work, then forget it, there is another way of PTN. Dividing up the year - doing one job full-time for six months, and then beginning another.

I started doing this over 20 years ago. I was on The Sunday Times and I agreed with the editor, Harry Evans, that I would be a journalist from now on for only half the year. So I did whatever job he wanted done, such as being women's editor. Then I left, going off for six months to write a book. I was no longer a rival to others, because they knew I was not after their job. And I wasn't a drain on the budget. I still do the same, more or less.

And I've also developed another form of part-time-ness in my life. We live in London for six months of the year, and the other half in Lakeland. In London, l am urban man, striding around with elbows out. In Lakeland, l am rural, straw sticking from my ears.

As Keegan well knows, and so would the Archbishop and PM, if they'd only give it a chance, you bring to the job a clear head and high energy levels. Best of all, for the person practising PTN, there is one brilliant bonus. It's called Living Twice.

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