Leading article: The business

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The Independent Online

Devotees of the BBC1 show The Apprentice know that there is one element which makes the latest series so compelling. It is not the bumptious, deluded contestants; not the repetitive weekly tasks; not even Sir Alan Sugar's finger-jabbing belligerence. No, what really makes the programme special are Sir Alan's two stern, silver-haired assistants, Nick and Margaret.

Where would The Apprentice be without Nick and Margaret's raised eyebrows, their fierce frowns, their arch put-downs? Margaret's jibe this week about slipping standards at Edinburgh University was the latest, exquisite example. Every workplace needs people like this – who can deflate tedious egos, cut through the thickets of jargon, and speak undiluted common sense. Forget about armies of management consultants. Nick and Margaret, the latest unlikely pin-ups of reality television, we salute you! You are adornments to the nation's boardroom.

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