Wee Scoops

Measure for Measure

Strictly Come Budgeting

I swish down the staircase in my full length, fish tailed, silver sequined dress.

Music: Dan da na na, dan da na; Dan da na na nah…

The room is a swirling kaleidoscope of coloured lights, spinning fragments of mirrors, projected graphics. The overall effect is disorienting and dazzling. All eyes fall on me. The music fades as I do my piece to camera.

Me: It’s Saturday night and time to party! Welcome to the council offices in the main street. It’s good to have you with us. We are halfway through the series – and hasn’t the standard been high this year? I can hardly believe it! But which of our couples will tonight be asked to leave the floor? My heart breaks when I think about any of them leaving, but somebody has to! (sobs) Without further ado, let’s give it up for couple number 1: Class-sizes-of-20 and their partner GIRFEC!

Rapturous applause

Me: Tonight, they are giving us a Waltz.

Class-sizes-of-20 and GIRFEC dance to “Tennessee Waltz”, a heady mix of jazz and blues – a lament for a lost love. This pair know their days are numbered. Class-sizes-of-20 is wearing a muted brown vintage velvet dress. GIRFEC is wearing a suit made from an infinite number of varied threads and fabric, woven together into a seamless garment that looks different to everyone watching, both in the studio and at home. The audience are moved by the sensitive interpretation of the music.

Rapturous applause. Standing ovation.

Me: (To camera) It’s a standing ovation. They are on their feet. (To the couple) We loved it. (To the judges) So, what did you think?

Judge 1: I think that was the last waltz.

Judge 2: Yeah, you can’t just waltz in here. I mean, like you really can’t waltz.

Judge 3: Waltz up with the pair of you?

Me: We loved it.

Judge 4: Yes, we know you loved it, but you would. (To GIRFEC) I loved the choreography but you can’t keep her in hold all the time now can you?

Me: The scores are in.

Judge 1: 4!

Judge 2: 4!

Judge 3: 4!

Judge 4: 4!

Class-sizes-of-20 and GIRFEC leave the floor looking sad, suspecting they may well end up in the bottom two, with a twinkle of hope that the public consulation could save them.

Me: What a great start to the show! I wonder if they have done enough to secure their future in the Education system. With those scores, it’ll be down to the public to go online and keep them in. Next up, Behaviour Support and their partner, Inclusion. They will be entertaining us with their take on The Charleston.

Having chosen a Gatsby theme for their Charleston, Behaviour Support comes in wearing enormous comedy glasses, as a reference to that wild wag of an oculist, Dr T J Eckleberg. Inclusion is also wearing glasses, but his are a nod to Owl Eyes. They dance to “I wanna be loved by you.”
The dance is cute and cheeky. The audience are delighted by the swiveling and the cartwheeling and the near-misses with the jumps and swings.

Rapturous applause. Standing ovation.

Me: (To camera) It’s a standing ovation. They are on their feet. (To the couple) We loved it. (To the judges) So, what did you think?

Judge 1: I think you would be better on your own, Inclusion.

Judge 2: How would that work?

Judge 3: (thoughtfully) Just think, if we get Class-sizes-of-20 out of the way, and get rid of a fifth of Behaviour support…

Judge 4: (having a eureka moment)… it’ll be absolutely no different to the dance we have just seen!

Me: (doubtfully) Eh, like, what, like, you want a Charleston solo?

Judge 1: Yes. We’ll just have the inclusion. We’ll get Class-sizes-of-30 in instead, if you like. The more the merrier, I think. The Charleston is a party dance. Whoop!

Me: The scores are in.

Judge 1: 5!

Judge 2: 5!

Judge 3: 5!

Judge 4: 5!

Dr TJ Eckleberg and Owl Eyes give the judges a hard stare and leave the floor. Withering looks all round. A lot of shortsightedness in the room.

Me: And last up tonight, we have… School Librarians and their partner Independent Learning and General Literacy!

Rapturous Applause

School Librarian and Independent Learning and Literacy come in and give every member of the audience a priceless gift, tailored to the needs and interest of every individual there. School Librarians is wearing a white ra-ra dress with jewels like drops of dew at points all over it. Independent Learning and Literacy is wearing red, because he wants to. They dance a quickstep to “Nice work if you can get it”. It is utterly charming.

Rapturous applause. Standing ovation.

Me: (To camera) It’s a standing ovation. They are on their feet. (To the couple) We loved it. (To the judges) So, what did you think?

Judge 1: Okay. Very good. You didn’t put a foot wrong.

Judge 2: Yes, very entertaining. It’s like you have been practising.

Independent Learning and Literacy: Practising? This is my career. I am a professional dancer. I am qualified. That’s why I didn’t put a foot wrong. I know what I am doing on the dance floor.

Judge 3: But what about Librarians? Doesn’t they just issue and shelve?

Audience: (sharp intakes of breath) Boooo!

Librarians: Issue and shelve? There’s more to it than that, you know. I embody the very principles of curriculum design!

Judge 4: Right. I see. Excellent. I mean, Excellence.

Me: The scores are in.

Judge 1: 3!

Judge 2: 3!

Judge 3: 3!

Judge 4:10!

Me: (Wide eyed, faintly hysterical) It’s our first ten! What do you think of that?

Audience: (Cheers and whoops from most, but others are gainfully absorbed in engaging with the gifts they were given at the start of the dance.)

Me: So, looking at the leader board, it’s all pretty close. Nobody wants any of these couples to leave the competition, but those are the rules. We can’t keep them all. The consultation lines are open online. Make sure you have your say – don’t leave it up to the judges alone. And on tomorrow night’s show we’ll see who’s in the dance off! And in the meantime, keep dancing!

Music: Dan da na na, dan da na; Dan da na na nah…

I shuffle inelegantly around the floor as the credits roll, wishing my heels were higher, my hair straighter and the public all the best with their deliberations.

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3 thoughts on “Strictly Come Budgeting

  1. How absolutely clever and pointed at the same time. Great post sans!

  2. Love this post. Witty, funny and oh so true. Especially love the description of GIRFEC 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment, Anne. Most of the time it is an educational utopia around here – but the consultation closed yesterday and I hope that sense will prevail. On the one hand people are paid to suggest improvements, and on the other, the status quo can’t even be maintained! I think HG Wells would be turning in his grave over the head of the threat hanging over libraries.

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