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What do you call a Scouser (someone from Liverpool) in a suit? The defendant. And what do you call a Scouser in a semi-detached house? A burglar.

It is acceptable still, in politically correct English metropolitan circles, to crack jokes about Liverpudlians (who, according to the stereotype, are very poor and steal a lot, but who, on the bright side, play some great football, and amuse all us non-Merseysiders with their ready native wit).

So imagine the fun that snotty Londoners could have with the news that a Liverpool school is dishing out laptop computers worth £1,000 each to truants. Peter Harding, head of Our Lady of Fatima RC School in Liverpool, is spending government money - part of a £12m fund to combat truancy - on six computers, initially.

He will buy more, if needed. "The laptops are intended "solely for pupils who have literacy difficulties. If they are getting it wrong they are more likely to want to correct it on screen than on paper," Harding says. This is a Red Rag to a right-wing educationalist's bull.

In an interview with London Metro Nick Seaton, Campaign for Real Education chairman, said: "It looks as though it pays to be a truant - it seems hard on those attending school regularly."

And Tory education spokesman Teresa May weighs in with: "This money is for schools to combat truancy - not give in to it." Haven't they heard of the Prodigal Son? Does Martha and Mary mean nothing to them?

The Register guesses the illiterate-but-reformed truants use the laptops during term-time only, rather than own them. We also guess the kit will a: break and b: the school will have no money in the repair kitty. And, because we don't come from Liverpool, we assume the laptops will get nicked, or swapped for heroin. ®

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