Liz Hoggard: We're all 'second division' sometimes

Yvette Cooper is a bit of ahead girl swot. But she was pushed too far

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Oh poor Yvette Cooper – caught out scribbling teenage, insurrectionist remarks on her school jotter. The Work and Pensions Secretary betrayed a rare moment of vulnerability when a jocular note to a colleague at the weekend was made public. After admitting to finding a press conference filled with only "second division" journalists, she wrote acerbically: "Presumably that's why we're allowed to do this?'

Clearly it was a gaffe by Cooper and fellow minister Liam Byrne, who was sitting next to her (the Schools Secretary continued the fun by admitting it was "sort of like being allowed to play in the sand pit"). You're a fool if you think you can keep anything secret in a world of long lens cameras and high-definition TV. But isn't Cooper just voicing what many of us have felt?

Dear God, it's not hard to feel a little "second division" at work. How many times have I been put out to graze when some young high-flyer gets the interesting gig? No one in management is vulgar enough to say you're not needed at the moment. It's just the lines of communication go ominously quiet. You see funnier, better-looking colleagues exiting from head office, clutching fascinating projects.

When you offer to follow up a lead, nervous looks are exchanged. "I think Zac's got that under control," they suggest. Meanwhile, Hermione (gorgeous, 23, Oxbridge) is booking the trip to New York that you'd rather got your eye on. "We need someone with a bit more of a public profile," the head of human resources says smoothly. You go back to opening the post, trying not to plot dangerous revenge. You just know the email fired off in anger will come back to haunt you.

Cooper is frankly a bit of a head girl swot (three children and a minsterial post before the age of 40). Married to Gordon's right-hand man, she's tipped as a future PM in her own right. It's been hard to warm to her. But clearly this time she was pushed too far. No one likes being sidelined during a general election campaign. Especially when Gordon and Sarah get all the fun in Morrisons.

I know we should maintain a stiff upper lip when we're sidelined in the sandpit. They'll wheel us out again soon enough when they're short-staffed. Plus, anger is very ageing. Maybe Botox is the solution after all. According to a new study it doesn't just hold back the wrinkles, it stops you realising the full-scale of the humiliation. After the injections, volunteers in the study took significantly longer to grasp and react to negative concepts such as being ignored on their birthday or being interrupted during dinner. Presumably that's a bad thing – we don't experience the full range of emotions – but it sounds great to me.

We second divisioners (the J Alfred Prufrocks of the filing cupboard) need all the help we can get. No doubt Cooper will be persona non grata for a few days (she was scribbling during her husband's speech, after all), but I, for one, am charmed. In a world of robotic perfection and political non-speak, frankly the more human our politicians appear the better.

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