Dying swan or lame duck? Why ‘Fatima’ the ballerina’s next job was tripping up the government

Name: Fatima.

Age: Early 20s.

Occupation: Ballet dancer, for now.

That sounds ominous. That’s because Fatima might not be a ballet dancer for much longer.

God, why not? Will she be OK? She’ll be fine, because Fatima’s next job could be in cyber.

What? What do you mean could be? What’s cyber? She just doesn’t know it yet.

What on earth are you talking about? Fatima was the star of a new, government-backed – but now scrapped – cyber-first “Rethink. Reskill. Reboot” advertising campaign. One day, according to the advert, she will put away her silly dreams of dancing for a living and get a real job.

In cyber? Yes.

Hang on a minute, ballet dancing is really hard. You have to dedicate your entire life to it to achieve even a basic level of ability. No, you don’t. Ballet dancing is easy. Put on a tutu, twirl around for a bit, get some flowers thrown at you. It isn’t hard like cyber.

Have you ever tried executing a perfect fouette? Not me, mate. I’m too busy with my real job, doing loads of cyber.

Please tell me what cyber is. You don’t know what cyber is? That’s exactly the problem with you creative types. You wouldn’t know what cyber was if it banged you on the head with a brick.

Right, I get it now. You have a problem with the arts. Oh, this argument again. Just because the government has all but ignored the creative industries during the Covid crisis, and is now actively seeking to undermine them with a terribly executed advertising campaign, you think it hates the arts.

But the creative sector contributes more to the economy than the automotive, aerospace, life sciences and oil and gas industries combined. Yeah, but it doesn’t count, though, does it?

Quick question: who made the advert? Who designed it, shot it, starred in it, created the typeface? I’m guessing cyber did?

What? No. It was the same creative industries that you’re so insidiously attempting to diminish. Whatever.

And for the love of God, what is cyber? I dunno. Computers and stuff.

Is that it? Well, the government’s National Cyber Security Centre website describes it as a programme to help young people get into tech “by introducing them to the fast-paced world of cybersecurity”.

Do say: “Fatima’s next job could be in cyber (she just doesn’t know it yet).”

Don’t say: “Who the hell let Billy Elliot’s dad be in charge of the government?”

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