Pig-headed

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The Independent Online

Enough! It is our duty to defend those too put-upon and long-suffering to defend themselves against a savage attack by Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union. For, in his use of the term "pig-ignorant peasants" in relation to classroom assistants, Mr de Gruchy merely demonstrates his own shortcomings.

Pigs are not ignorant. Pigs, as anyone even slightly acquainted with the works of Sir Pelham Wodehouse would know, are highly intelligent. In experiments, pigs have proved more focused than primates, and, even after a three-year break, still able to distinguish between a ball and a frisbee. Pigs also enjoy computer games, and, moreover, get bored with them rather quickly. They can pirouette, score a goal, and shake trotters. As in the film, Babe, they can be taught to herd sheep. Pigs have an excellent sense of smell and look you in the eye. A pig in Warrington enjoys skateboarding. In Portugal, inshore fishermen would put a pig overboard during foggy weather to guide them home. If you tickle a pig's back, it will oink appreciatively.

Can Mr de Gruchy do all this? An appropriate sum payable to charity says he cannot. Over to you, Nigel. Oink!

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