On BBC2's The Speaker, spinmeister supreme Alastair Campbell was hammering home his point: be absolutely clear about the objective of your speech. "Tony Blair was obsessed," he revealed, always asking: "What is the central argument?"
There is a commonly held myth that working with little children is not a job for the brainy. It is thought to suit people who like children but aren't academic.
Yet an ever-growing stack of research shows the importance of children's earliest educational experiences to their chances in life. Overwhelmingly, the best pre-schools have better qualified staff.
One government response to this evidence has been to announce plans for a pilot "Teach First" type of scheme to place top graduates in early years settings in disadvantaged areas. No details are available yet. It sounds like a good idea, but why would someone with a double first from Oxford want to work with under-fives? What makes early childhood education an intellectual pursuit?
I work for national newspapers, charities, academia and national agencies. I produce magazines, books and posters, policy analysis, features and web journalism. I was with The Times Educational Supplement for 20 years.