The Sketch: What would it be like to get a Prescott kiss?

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The Independent Online

It was halfway through the question on diversity training I realised I'd never done it. I began immediately. Diversity Training 101 (Whitehall)

1: What would it feel like to have John Prescott's tongue in my mouth?

"Deputy Prime Minister, this is the Sketch.

"How do you do, Deputy Prime Minister. Do you think we'll meet the regeneration targets for brownfield sites this year?"

The DPM leans forward and puts his tongue into my mouth. In the normal way. He places a bracing hand behind my back so I can't get away and slides his tongue about a bit. It is wet and fat. It gets bigger in the middle, like some flexible, submarine creature. It stretches and lengthens and reaches down to the back of my tonsils and curls round. He starts breathing heavily. He's got his hand inside my suit now. His officials are looking at me judgmentally. (It's very realistic, this training.)

Someone too short to be a waiter is offering me a cocktail sausage. Oh. They're not.

Is that what it's like to be a female civil servant? What's the problem? I'm quite enjoying it (he's more attractive than you'd think, close up, and this training really works).

Oliver Heald prompted my speculation by saying a Civil Service Act should "protect female civil servants from doing things they don't want to do". But that wouldn't help, necessarily. Not if my diversity training is any guide. The DPM's tonguework is silvery and who knows how many female civil servants and junior politicians have been beguiled by it? Especially if the story's true he's been taking Viagra (we can't stand that up).

Jim Murphy answered. Obviously not that question but he wasn't asked that question. Murph is tipped for higher things. He is not the bottom of the ministerial barrel; he isn't from a ministerial barrel. He's from a departmental tub. Or not even a tub, a keg. We saw him putting the Legislative and Regulatory Bill through committee. He was hopeless. I've spent so long imagining John Prescott's tongue in my mouth I haven't room to tell how hopeless.

David Heath picked up a point about the "transformation" of government IT systems that Murph is promising. Did that include getting computers in different departments to talk to each other? Or even computers in the same department? If prison computers weren't talking to immigration, police, or court computers, Mr Heath went on, could they go back to an older technology and stick a red sticky note on the prisoner's file?

The idea of Charles Clarke's ID cards working for 50 or 60 million moving people when it's beyond him keeping records for 1 per cent of that number while they're actually in captivity...