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Savage i: Something doesn't add up in this teachers' row

THE Government is proposing to increase the pupil-teacher ratio. Unions have said that this will cause disaster, chaos and the collapse of Irish civilisation (or something along those lines).

Except the numbers don't seem to support that.

At present there are 27 kids in a secondary class. That is proposed to move up to 28. The chaos will apparently come because the kids will get less individual attention if that happens.

At present, in a six-hour teaching day with 27 in a class, a teacher can give 13 minutes and 20 seconds of attention to each child.

If that goes up to 28, the teacher will only be able to give 12 minutes and 55 seconds. That's 25 seconds a day of lost attention for each child. Hardly seems critical.

Then again, I may have got my figures totally wrong, there were a lot of people in my maths class ...

Riddle of the stoned sheep

IN Tasmania the State Attorney General was called before a parliamentary committee to explain who was responsible for damaging poppy crops by creating crop circles in them.

Her explanation? Stoned Wallabies.


Lara Giddings said, "we have a problem with wallabies entering poppy fields, getting high as a kite and wandering around in circles [until] they crash ... . We see crop circles in the poppy industry from wallabies that are high".

The other witnesses gave testimony that absolutely contradicted hers.

They said the notion that 'high' wallabies were causing these crop circles was daft and came up with a much more plausible cause. Stoned sheep.

Sad to see a beaten Norris

I'M keeping Matt Cooper's chair warm over at TodayFM these days, so I was in the hot seat when David Norris decided to talk exclusively to The Last Word about his decision to withdraw from the presidential race.

Regardless of any views on the ethics of the whole thing, it was sad to sit in a studio and watch a man who is so characteristically ebullient be dampened and deflated with disappointment and defeat. If he was to lose the race, it would have been better if it had happened at the hands of the electorate and not those of his former supporters.

That said, it does clear the field for Marian Finucane. Marian is going to announce her candidacy any day now, I can feel it in my bones.

She has all the right qualities; she's got a professional background, like Robinson and Macaleese (Marian qualified as an architect), she has a career in broadcasting, just like our current President once had, she's female, loved by middle Ireland and she's apolitical enough to not be a threat to anyone. Plus, most of the country would be swept along on a wave of delight at just being able to put a face to her name

Open letter to the CEO of Aer Lingus

DEAR Christoph, the CEO of your local rival (you know, the lads with the blue planes and abrasive attitude) manages to get on every type of media by attacking anyone for anything at anytime.

All it takes for them to get free publicity is to put out a statement saying, "Government are muppets, shoot them all in the groin" and the media come begging for some swearing so they can replace all the vowels in their quotes with '*@%*!'

The thing is, it's free publicity Christoph. Why not get some yourself?

Once you brought in a policy of refusing to answer complaints that are not posted to your head office, you lost the high moral ground.

So if you're going to operate like Ryanair, at least grab the freebies that go with it.