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Oh Happy Days: A Personal Recollection Of Working For Jeremy Hunt
Luke Turner , June 2nd, 2012 17:44

Ten years ago, Quietus ed Luke Turner worked for Jeremy Hunt's educational publishing company. As the Secretary Of State for Culture, Media & Sport gives his evidence to Leveson, he remembers the fun times there

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You learn a lot about someone when you work with them every day. I'm sure my colleagues at the Quietus have gained a pretty good idea of general aspects of my character - various insecurities, organisational ineptitude, inability to remain silent for long periods of time - over the past few years. I always know when my learned colleague Mr John Doran is entering a phase of red mist by the tone of his grunts, and the machine gun of his keyboard.

So in the three years I worked for Jeremy Hunt, from the September of 2000 to the same month of 2003, I think I got a pretty good idea of what was going on. I was an employee of Hotcourses, a company Hunt owned with an old friend, Mike Elms. Hotcourses was (and is) an educational publishing company devoted to producing course guides and lists - if you live in London, you might well have booked a week's flower arranging or Pilates through it.

I began work at the company's offices in Hammersmith, London, gaily full of beans at being in gainful employ doing something that I could believe in, writing about and advocating further and higher education. The enthusiasm was short-lived. This was no writing job, but an admin role looking after the enormous, unwieldy spreadsheets of courses sent in by colleges, along with their print advertisements in the various Hotcourses guides. Our task was to format these messes into the Hotcourses format for digital transfer into the printed system and vast web database. It was, needless to say, a thankless one. Now, I am fully aware that this is by no means a diabolical job. There are millions worse in the world, and many poorer paid, though the Hotcourses wage was a pretty bracing one to live off in London, even a decade ago.

What made it the worst three years of my life was the working environment, and the expectation put onto the staff by Mr Hunt and the other managers. When a deadline approached, we were expected to work late into the night for no overtime or recompense. Rarely were we thanked for our labours. There was a general air that we should be grateful for the remarkable opportunity that this endless admin offered. There was certainly a different attitude toward employees who'd been to private school, or Oxbridge, than to the rest of us. In such a high pressure environment yet producing such mundane work, stress levels rose. I know of good friends and colleagues who suffered near nervous breakdowns from the experience of working in such a vampiric, morale and confidence-sapping operation. Everything was secondary to the operation of the business.

Already reported in Popbitch (on the day of the 2010 general election) was an incident on September 11th 2001. Now, my memory - and the source for Popbitch, which wasn't me - tells me that it was Hunt who, when we were listening intently to the radio reports of planes smacking into the World Trade Centre and Pentagon, came into the office to demand that we turned the volume down as it was affecting the sales team's telephone calls. Whether it was him or not, it speaks volumes about the management culture of the company.

This was not a one-off. For instance, I distinctly recall one presentation after a period of company expansion. All of us, old stagers and new recruits, were gathered together in front of a Powerpoint screen. On it were projected smiling photographs of various members of staff, the heads of sales, IT and so on. The company had recently outsourced much of the data entry work to a centre in India. Jeremy Hunt, smiling away in that peculiarly insincere, head-bobbing way that you've all seen on the news, was leading. We gasped in horror as our "new colleagues in India" were introduced: there glowed a slide that featured row after row of the same cartoon clip art Generic Brown Person, sat behind a computer.

When Sir David Frost visited the office (with a view to becoming a director, a position he resigned in 2004) there were no levels of obsequy to which the Hotcourses management were afraid to stoop. For instance, our normally militantly anti-smoking bosses were only too happy to proffer a fancy ashtray, and allow the wizened old broadcaster to puff merrily away on his cigar in the meeting room. There are many such stories, some far worse, that I would dearly love to share.

It was not a happy environment in which to work. One former colleague writes, "For me it was just the whole cumulative effect of all the insensitivity, arrogance, greed and goggle-eyed sociopathy that did my head in over two and a half years."

It was quite a shock when, at one of the interminable Monday Morning Meetings, we were informed that Jeremy Hunt would be standing as a Conservative MP. We were surprised, not only because we were amazed that anyone would vote for this affable lummox, but also that he'd never really displayed much in the way of political enthusiasm in the past. As a former colleague relates, "He once said to me during the fledgling stages of his political career, 'Well, both my parents are conservative so it's a pretty much a foregone conclusion I would be too'." The holy hand of patronage had plucked him out to replace Virginia Bottomley in the kind of safe Surrey seat that the Tories wouldn't even able to lose if their candidate was caught, pants down, discussing Uganda with the gardener.

We of course followed Hunt's progress with interest. To his credit, he seemed to be doing some decent work on disability issues in various debates in the House. But his appointment as Shadow Culture Secretary could not help but raise eyebrows. This was a man who, whenever he tried to engage with you and discuss your interests in music, art, literature or film, would glaze over and stare at a point somewhere in the middle of your forehead. Hunt's interests seemed more to lie in Latin dancing, and especially Salsa, or in his fascination with China and Japan. In interviews, Hunt seemed like a lightweight, unsure of himself in front of the camera. You only have to tune in to the Leveson live stream to see just how inept Hunt is. This was one of the new Conservative Party of 'Dave' Cameron's great white hopes? When the phone hacking scandal began to break, it seemed more than likely that he would become unstuck. As today's revelations at Leveson of worried texts back and forth seems to show, this was a man who was keen to please everyone as he floundered around waiting for blessing from the big boy in the playground, George Osbourne.

Those three years working alongside Hunt give me an idea of the kind of government we currently have, run by these former public school boys who have barged their way through life not through merit or ability, but by birth. You would not have picked out Jeremy Hunt as a brilliant intellect, a powerful speaker, a man with any convictions other than those he was born with. This is the impression one also gets from the rest of his colleagues in the Conservative party. It was bad enough having him as a boss – the fact that he and his chums are running the country is far, far worse.

As for me, I ended up quitting Hotcourses after those three years of mind-numbing work, with nothing set up to go to except a vague hope to revive an ambition of doing some music journalism. Working as waiter in a kebab shop that had delusions of grandeur, which is what I did next, was far preferable to enduring any more of that company's nonsense and appalling way of treating its employees. Perhaps things have now improved – I was surprised to see them featured in a list of the top British companies to work for a recent Times (prop. R Murdoch) poll. One particular tale from a recently-former employee suggested that the company didn't necessarily deserve the gong, though of course Hunt is no longer involved.

In many ways, my time there was what inspired me to get my arse in gear and actually get on with writing, so never again would I have to be in a similarly dispiriting position. Many others left too, and are now doing great things. Whenever I've made reference to my time there on the Quietus Twitter feed, replies and direct messages have appeared from employees former and present, all with a tale to tell of their experiences working for Jeremy Hunt, and not all of them able to speak publicly for fear of references and future employment prospects. Not having to think about that sort of thing, I hope they might enjoy reading this.

This is not an exercise in schadenfreude. I do not wish any ill upon him and imagine he is probably going through a special kind of hell as he wiggles nods and gulps under the gaze of Leveson and the television cameras. I do think he should do the decent thing, and resign – after all, with his connections and birth, I'm sure a lucrative consultancy position would be in the offing. And there's always his fortune, estimated at several million, to fall back on. And if not? I'm sure there are many of us former employees out there who'd happily train him in the best way to format a spreadsheet.

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Rob Eagles
May 31, 2012 2:55pm

As a member of said sales team making those sales calls, i cam confirm they were not impeded by the noise of the radio but the impending doom and distraction facing the people we were calling. I do not know left that initial scurrilous comment on popbitch.

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May 31, 2012 2:55pm

There's not really a lot of point in saying "one particular tale" and then not recounting it, or "there are many such stories, some far worse, that I would dearly love to share" and then not hearing them. Either tell the stories or don't hint at them.

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May 31, 2012 3:23pm

definitely nicking "discussing Uganda with the gardener" as a catch-all euphemism.

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May 31, 2012 3:56pm

Schadenfreude is indeed a very negative thing to indulge in, but I doubt anyone will begrudge you where that grinning chump Hunt is concerned. I don't want to see him resign, I want him fired and (please oh please oh please!) prosecuted for corruption.

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May 31, 2012 3:58pm

Am I wrong or is your case against your boss that you had to work late without extra pay but only when a deadline approached? I can confirm that that is not unique to your company. Try an ad agency.

Maybe your choice of job when you left the company shows more about your lack of ambition and your inclination to blame everything on the accident of birth of others? But I could be wrong.

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Magister equitatuum
May 31, 2012 4:04pm

Yes, Jeremy "I'm a" Hunt is another of those carreerist, emotionally crippled Public School robots - he is as pus. Oh, what larks as it clenches its buttocks in the glare of the Leveson/Jay spotlight

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May 31, 2012 4:10pm

He's an arsemuffin and no mistake.

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May 31, 2012 4:17pm

This brings back memories of working for a leisure website around that time: exactly the same class division came out, to the detriment of their profits. They had an official policy of only recruiting friends of employees, never advertising. Public school people, no matter how unskilled, clueless or previously unknown to the employers, would have a salary six or seven grand higher than the comp people (me) sat next to them doing the same job. And it all seemed perfectly natural to them!

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Rich M
May 31, 2012 4:26pm

In reply to Ranter10:

yes, you're wrong. Sorry you've only ever worked for shit companies I guess.

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Luke Turner
May 31, 2012 4:30pm

A former colleague just emailed this little nugget that I had forgotten: "I do remember them rewarding a team who'd spent three months working 15 hour days with "I love Hotcourses" mousemats, though. That stays with me."

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Bedd Gelert
May 31, 2012 4:34pm

'There are many other stories I would like to share..'

WELL DON'T COME HERE WITH HALF A STORY !! We want to hear absolutely bloody EVERYTHING about Jeremy C=nt !!

In fact, stop what you are doing NOW and start writing the bloody book prontissimo !!!

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May 31, 2012 4:35pm

In reply to Rich M:

I withdraw in the face of such rapier-like and forensic arguments

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Luke Turner
May 31, 2012 4:39pm

In reply to Ranter10:

No, Mr Ranter, I would have loved to do something else. Unfortunately, not having vast parental subsidies I was unable to do the traditional route into a journalism job of working for free for ages. The rent needed paying so I had to get the first job I saw. And I think you only need to look around you at this website of which I am cofounder with Mr J. Doran to see that ambition is not something I lack. The trouble with Hotcourses was that ambition was never recognised or rewarded, unless you wanted to move higher up the management pecking order, which essentially meant taking on more stress and unpleasantness.

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May 31, 2012 4:46pm

In reply to Luke Turner:

Wow, I am off to find my parent's vast resources they have been hiding from me all these years. Quite a surprise to find that out since they worked as teachers for their entire lives and at 69 my father still works.

But then since I am one of the "former public school boys who have barged their way through life not through merit or ability, but by birth" I really should not care about them. Only myself. It's good to generalise isn't it?

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May 31, 2012 6:22pm

I'm another Hotcourses survivor - worked briefly, in fact, on the same desk as Luke - and can confirm his account.

It took a target based approach to everything, however inappropriately, drew no distinction between editorial and sales, and gave its staff no autonomy whatsoever. You'd be expected to work half the night, if that's what it took to get the job done, but woe betide you if the tube made you five minutes late.

On my first day my line manager took me aside and said, "Now, you might hear the other staff saying some bad things about the company. I'd like you to ignore that." Which set alarm bells ringing rather.

There are no doubt thousands of worse jobs out there. It was still basically pissing about behind a desk, and there was a certain camaraderie that came from the shared loathing of management.

Yet I've never had another job that came close to being that bad, and I've been working in the media for a decade now. The experience doesn't give me much faith in Hunt's understanding of either business or people.

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Rob Ray
May 31, 2012 8:48pm

In reply to :

I gather the only thing you learned at school was the art of the snide insinuation - jolly useful given that you appear to have no actual arguments.

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May 31, 2012 9:32pm

In reply to Ranter10:

Oh yeah right, if people are exploited by their employer it's because they lack the ambition not to be. You clueless tit.

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May 31, 2012 9:50pm

The fact that these guys made the Sunday Times Top 100 Small Companies To Work For (prop M. Murdoch) for a SECOND time amazed me. I know for a fact that HR collected (incredibly low scoring) completed surveys that were filled out and in envelopes off peoples desks and said, "Don't worry we'll send these off for you..."

The whole thing was a scam, everyone hated the company apart from a few arse-licking career junkies so there is no feasible way they should have ended up as a Top 100 Company. Never in my life have I worked for a company that made me so angry with the incompetent, unproductive blame culture that that place bred... really sickened me.

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May 31, 2012 10:00pm

Also, Hunt paid himself a £2M bonus just before he entered Cabinet while Hotcourses were laying off people who were earning £15K - £20K per year.

Also I heard that Hotcourses were involved in funding his Cabinet Office.

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Dr Aust
May 31, 2012 10:07pm

In reply to tenbenson:

I suspect the chaps over at Private Eye might claim to have a right of attribution of anything involving "discussing Uganda" as a euphemism.

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John Doran
May 31, 2012 10:53pm

In reply to Dr Aust:

Incorrect. In their recent 50th anniversary book they talk about such phrases passing into the language at large.

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Jun 1, 2012 8:26am

In reply to Dr Aust:

i guess i missed that. we're not too well read round ere.

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Jun 1, 2012 8:57am

This rings so many bells of memory that I haven't thought about in years. It truly was the most awful company culture that I've ever had the misfortune to be a part of. The most depressing part of my experience there was during the London bombings in 2005. I was unlucky enough to be in a carriage where 26 people died and 15ft from the explosion. I returned to work after week and a half off in an attempt to bring some normalcy back only for a second attempted bombing a day or two later. My confidence was shot and I was a nervous wreck again - I returned home via a taxi and spent the next week at home. 

When I returned on my desk phone was a brief message from Jeremy. None of the other upper management or HR ever mentioned  it except to send a letter to my house effectively threatening any continued absence with disciplinary action. While others whom I had met through this were offered almost indefinite levels of support from their respective companies, I, after a total of four weeks from being in the middle of violent death and horrific injury was being threatened with my marching orders. This was typical of a management style ill-equipped to deal with personal trauma among the rank and file. I still remember the humiliation of having to call a meeting with my line and department managers (of which, I must note, were not at fault - it's just they were the only people of position who might actually be sympathetic to my plight) to discuss this note before breaking down over the additional stress such a missive placed upon me. 

I still have the letter to this day - it reminds me that no matter how pressured or tough things get in the workplace always remember that it surely cannot be worse than the callous disregard of the class politics played out at hotcourses. 

P.s. I remember the cigars. 

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Jun 1, 2012 11:53am

I worked for Hotcourses- and should declare a bias - but do think it's worth raising a couple of the above situations as I saw them at the time. My comments are less about Hunt but about the author and the impression he is giving.

a) I recall Luke laughing at the USA for most of the 9/11 broadcast. To be fair, many of us did not realise the seriousness at the time, over the radio - but to give the impression that he was soberly trying to digest world history is inaccurate.
b) The colleague who had a breakdown did so for a combination of reasons. The largest one I recall was that he went to Amsterdam the previous weekend and consumed a copious amount of drugs
c) I come from a comp and was not treated badly. Else I would have left immediately - see below
d) I have many good memories of Luke but it was clear he was in a job he didn't enjoy and yet he stayed in it 3 years. I don't think that was Jeremy or anyone else's fault
e) Luke was a funny guy, which allowed him somewhat to get away with being late nearly ever day. When he finally was given written warnings, he then resigned and threatened to sue his manager. This kebab shop integrity is not really as pure as positioned above
f) Luke says it's not schadenfreude but raises nothing about Jeremy''s charitable work for children in Kenya. Whilst the guy has clear flaws, I fear he's done more good with them than Luke has.

Sorry Luke. Just the way I see it.

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Jun 1, 2012 11:53am

Just an observation but Jeremy Hunt's surname name rhymes with quite an apposite word that would, from reading this article at least, accurately describe his character.

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Rory Gibb
Jun 1, 2012 12:00pm

In reply to G:

There have been several BBC slip-ups, where "Jeremy Hunt, Culture Secretary" has been, shall we say, mismanaged.

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Jun 1, 2012 1:14pm

I am also and ex Hotcourses employee though I still work for the company as a consultant but have now moved back to Spain. I have worked for the company for 13 years but my experience and thoughts of Hotcourses are very different. It is funny how having lived the same situations people remembers them in a completely different way. I do remember lovely Luke, I was there when he arrived at 20 years of age, and I was there when he sadly left though I believe that was not his decision. We worked for the same team and even though we worked hard, till 11 o’clock many nights for a month to prepare for our magazine to be ready for print, we also had wonderful times whilst we were listening to Luke’s favourite tunes. I was also there when our colleague had a breakdown, though I wonder if it was related to his hectic night life and a time where he was still finding his way.

I was also there when Jeremy let us know that we were to start working with companies in India. I and also when we set up our company in Chennai. I and many others worked for many years very long hours but personally I did it because I wanted to, because I like being for and with a team and because I believed in the product. Jeremy and Mike gave countless of opportunities at Hotcourses and helped me progress personally and professionally. I was given quite a lot of freedom to get on with the job.

My thoughts about Jeremy are quite different from Luke. Over the years I got to know Jeremy well. He was my direct boss and I found him inspirational. During some of the late nights working I got to know Barbara, our cleaning lady, she told me that she missed Jeremy once he left Hotcourses. Once she got her rent stolen and did not know how she was going to pay. She already had 3 jobs. Jeremy went to the bank, gave her the money and said nothing. I think am the only person that knows that.

I don’t think is true that there was a different attitude towards employees who'd been to private school, or Oxbridge, than to the rest of us. I am really glad that Luke is doing so well.

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Jun 1, 2012 3:31pm

This is the worst company I have ever worked for. Everything Luke says is true

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Jun 2, 2012 10:56am

It's nice to know that he is just as much a bellend as I always suspeced/ wanted him to be. Would have loved it if you'd shared those other stories though... Anything to help the man fall apart.

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Jun 2, 2012 12:36pm

This also happened at Hotcourses under the leadership of Hunt.


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Jun 2, 2012 1:02pm

In reply to Stevedore:

I used to know J and he was obsessed with Japan
especially Toyota and the corporate culture where
work takes over every part of an employee's life
and they feel it's good to work 15 hour days. Stand back
from the company and you will realise that this is just
a clever way of getting people to work super hard
for you and also get you elected to parliament
by doing a bit of charitable work... Hunt is a ruthless
careerist who has single handedly massacred
cultural funding in the UK with absolutely
no understanding or like for it - all in the name
of hitting those austerity targets set by Osbourne
and Cameron whilst in his love of Bskyb and
The Murdochs shows his absolute hatred for
the public sector - also it's worth searching for
the British Council and Hunt as there's plenty
of great stuff to come out about his dodgy dealings there.

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Jun 2, 2012 7:44pm

In reply to Neil:

I thought the charity was set up just so they could receive tax breaks and a favourable reputation in the UK? For a while I believed them to be genuinely interested then after about a month in the job and seeing how employees were treated I thought, "There's no way these guys give a shit, there must be some reason behind this false sincerity..."

Hasn't the charity thing wound down now? I remember hearing they'd ditched the charity girl who worked for them.

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Jun 3, 2012 8:45am

In reply to Neil:

You should be ashamed of yourself. It's baffling you feel the need to stick up for this man and his company. I know him very well and all the above happened. Luke's account is accurate and you know this.

For starters, they deliberately targeted fresh school/university leavers who have no experience or awareness they are being treated appallingly. This naivety also explains why many employees stayed longer that they intended; they still have that school mentality whereupon they just follow orders and assumed this was the norm for a working environment. It's all very well with hindsight of age and experience that if you don't like something just leave but can you honestly say at age 21, when you just want to get a job, you were possessed with the wherewithal to realise you were being exploited? Especially when surrounded by everyone in the same situation. At that age, you have no frame of reference. It's only when a piece such as this, combined with other supporting anecdote based on first-hand experience, paints a vivid picture of a company that had nothing but its own bottom line at heart, at the expense of its staff.

Also, all Hunt's charity work can so easily be dismissed outright as a self-serving exercise during the fledgling stages of his political career to make him a stronger potential candidate. He's never been that altruistic.

Your post is actually the very thing you are insinuating about the above article. Not only is what you've written quite a nasty character assassination attempt on Luke, but also - even more despicably - on the guy who was in the bombings. I know him, I remember the incident exactly as he described and, for the record, shortly after the bombing he signed up for the military. Clearly someone driven into action by trauma, not just a junkie who freaked out by eating too many hash cakes. Regardless of what you think of the war, your comment also trivialised the horror of being in a terrorist attack while justifying HC's appallingly insensitive conduct.

Oh and one last thing, HC's dreadful micromanaging approach - of which I too have endured personal experience - including pathetic emphasis on targets and time keeping is the reason there is no good will for that company or its senior team. Anyone with any management ability will recognise that good will on behalf of employees is the key to a good working environment yet HC not only sapped that from its staff but also wore it as a badge of honour. If you remember it anything other than the above description, either you chose to remember things differently in a bizarre attempt to suck up to a truly unpleasant company, or you were part of the problem.

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Jun 3, 2012 9:01am

In reply to Neil:

"worked" at Hotcourses? Did you leave recently?

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Laurence Rowe
Jun 3, 2012 5:07pm

I've just read Luke's abridged article in The Mail on Sunday and the comments on this website. It reaffirms everything about my three months working there in 2008. I was recruited as a manager in the sales department, on a good salary for what was ostensibly a good job which would be interesting. How foolish!

On day one, I was told that my first task would be to discipline 75% of my team. Seemed a bit rum as I didn't know them or their backgrounds. Over the next three months I was landed with unreasonable requests left, right and centre - interviewing potential staff at 8am without seeing their CVs, spending two days solid on pointless administration and most laughably being targeted against the deficits of some of my predecessors. It is no wonder people left.

My breaking point came when, I kid you not, the majority of the sales floor had to spend a day on Excel training. A good idea if you don't know the basics but not so good when your brainwashed colleagues, led by the school prefect sales director were whipping themselves into a frenzy about the potentialities of different colour schemes for pointless graphs. On the afternoon tea break, I very nearly jumped off the fire escape to freedom, the depth of leap coupled with my arthritis prevented me. The next week I quit.

Fortunately I never met Jeremy Hunt. If he is anything like the spineless twerps that ran the place then it's probably a good thing. Ironically, I'm a university educated ex-public schoolboy who votes Conservative. Thankfully not all politicians are like Mr Hunt.

Many people who I worked with there are actually very decent people who I suspect have probably left. There were just too many gimps who bought into the cult of the company.

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Col Mcgillveray
Jun 3, 2012 6:15pm

Neil Pearson, Chief Technology Officer

Neil Pearson is head of new media at Hotcourses. In addition to spearheading our stated strategy to become the number one course website worldwide, he is also responsible for all technical aspects of the company
Is this you "Neil" ? What a fucking rotter.

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Jun 3, 2012 7:55pm

In reply to :

Thank you to my annonymous defender, but in the interests of fairness, I don't believe Neil's comment relating to drug-usage was in reference to me. Initially I thought it might be and was horrified as drug-abuse couldn't be further from the truth, but re-looking at Luke's article he mentions a colleague near to breakdown - not me as I didn't work there at the same time as Luke (at least as far as I remember) - and this is to whom I believe Neil is referencing.

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Jun 4, 2012 1:24am

What really pissed me off about working for these clowns was their ridiculous attitude to time-keeping. You can see it referenced in Hotcourses-defender Neil's comment, he can't help but mention Luke being late because these guys thrive off that shit, it's what keeps them going, checking the time on their PC's when someone walks in and tut-tut-tut-ing away and then pulling them up about it in their annual reviews. Didn't matter if it was out of your control and you were held up by the tube, oh no, that wouldn't wash with these guys.

I was gob-smacked when I learned that lunch at Hotcourses had to be taken between 1 - 2 only and NO EXCEPTION, like we were schoolkids. Also, there was an absolute ban on alcohol at lunch because Jeremy forbade it after catching some Sales guys having a pint one day; I'm glad to say I broke that rule countless times.

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Jun 5, 2012 10:41am

In reply to :

My comments about mental breakdown were not about the guy who got caught in the bombings. I wasn't aware of that. It was about someone else that Luke was referring to. Sorry for the confusion but it was not meant.

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Jun 5, 2012 10:47am

In reply to Col Mcgillveray:

Yes, that it me. There was a typo at the start of my comment where I meant to say "working". I do still work there and declare my bias there. But I repeat that my comments are not about Hotcourses as a company or about Jeremy Hunt but about my memory of the specific memories that Luke has raised.

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Jun 8, 2012 7:23am

In reply to Neil:

Responding to comments on an internet forum on behalf of your company (and during office hours) is a bit unprofessional no?

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Jun 11, 2012 3:42pm

In reply to Ana:

I worked there for 5 years, and that's 5 years way too long. My job was as bad as Luke and for what he did it really was mind numbing and should only be a catalyst to move onto other things.

The company was a weird one but run in an old fashioned way and to be honest some of the work that people had to do really was that dire. I think that management may have tried to liven it up but did a rather poor job of it as there wasn't any other time to try other than to hit deadlines. The biggest gulf was how sales was treated as compared to the data input team and this was a constant thing that was brought up.

I do wonder what would I do for my staff if it was my company and to it's something anyone would struggle as some jobs were just soul destroying, but I'm sure Hotcourses could have made life better for their employees in some ways

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Jun 11, 2012 3:42pm

In reply to Pete:

I just re read and I meant my job wasn't as bad as Luke's

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Jun 11, 2012 4:18pm

In reply to pete:

I recently left HC after 4years and to be honest it was the most mind numbing boring job I have ever had. The only reason I did stay so long was because the actual team i worked with was great and we all stuck together and kept moral up. The best thing I ever did was leave. As for the Top 100 companies award I am convinced that was a fix as no one I knew actually handed in their forms and those that did were not exactly positive... guess we'll never know.....

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Neil Matthews
Sep 4, 2012 6:39am

'Those three years working alongside Hunt give me an idea of the kind of government we currently have'

They don't. Unless you have worked in government, you have no idea. You may think you have an idea of what Jeremy Hunt is like, which he may be like in government. But that's not the same thing.

'You would not have picked out Jeremy Hunt as ... a man with any convictions other than those he was born with.'

OK. As opposed to, say, having no beliefs or values at all, and changing your mind with every new focus group finding?


Fair to say I'm not really persuaded this article offers anything useful other than some tittle-tattle motivated by personal bitterness.

'This is not an exercise in schadenfreude...'

Ah. From the same school as:

'I'm not criticising you.'
'It's nothing personal.'
'We'll call you back.'
'The cheque's in the post.' (One for older readers there)

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Derek Elmore
Sep 4, 2012 7:12am

It was all a jolly read.
Then you extrapolate that as you know what Hunt is like, you know what all Tory politicians are like.
Ive read some good articles. Clearly, extrapolating this is too is just wrong.

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Thomas Kitchen Hobbes
Sep 7, 2012 5:51am

Jeremy Hunt? More like Jeremy the Cunt.

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Richard Atkins
Nov 1, 2012 3:47pm

As a customer of Hot Courses I found your article most interesting. Having renewed and expanded our contract at a greatly increased cost I was very disappointed at the lack of results compared with previous years. Enquiries were very poor and the sales did not cover the cost. When I questioned why the results were so poor I was given to beleive it was my fault! My courses were not of interest to their users, my website was not good enough, we were no good at converting enquiries etc. etc. Which is odd as we also use another similar service listing exactly the same courses and get at least ten times the enquiries for about a tenth of the cost of Hot Courses. I continued to protest and eventually refused to pay any more. Immediatly I was threatened with court action so continued to pay. Still disatisfied with the poor results, and having revamped my website, I asked what I could do to improve enquiries only to be told by someone in the sales department "you could pay us more money!". It appears that by paying Hot Courses more money they will put my course above others in the search results thus pushing other listed courses down. So there you have it; pay Hot Courses more than you are contracted to pay them in order to get a realistic level of enquires. I don't think that's what I signed up for. Sounds like a con to me.

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tony mcneil
Nov 2, 2012 12:18pm

In reply to Richard Atkins:

And did anyone read that Hunt, who has not stopped taking personal praise for the Olympics and the ceremeony, actively tried to stop Danny Boyle's idea, was totally against it etc. And now the slimey two face has been taking all the praise - yes this is the Hunt we know and love. And now to privatise the NHS.

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Jeremy hunt
Oct 14, 2013 5:33am

In reply to tony mcneil:

Jeremy hunt is an inhuman piece of crap - all those people supporting him
also endorse the Daily Mail as he does below is everyone
on the board at hot courses a daily mail reader?

After the Daily Mail responded to Ed Miliband's defence of his father by reprinting the original smear piece ("We repeat this man DID hate Britain") and running an editorial entitled "An evil legacy and why we won't apologise", Conservative and Lib Dem ministers are rightly being challenged to condemn the paper.
Given the opportunity to do so on the Today programme this morning, David Cameron said: "I haven't read the original article, I haven't read the reply and so I'm not really in a good place to comment". He added: "All I know is if anyone had a go at my father I would want to respond very vigorously. There’s not a day goes by when you don’t think about your dad and all that he meant to you, so I completely understand why Ed would want to get his own point of view across."
But while Cameron's response was rather mealy-mouthed, Jeremy Hunt has gone even further, refusing to offer any criticism of the Mail and declaring on BBC News: "Ralph Miliband was no friend of the free market and I have never heard Ed Miliband say he supports it." When a man's dead father is being described as "evil", one might have thought that politics was a secondary issue, but not for Hunt.
Nick Clegg, by contrast, whose own family has been attacked by the Mail, has done the decent thing and offered his support to Miliband.
I support @Ed_Miliband defending his dad. Politics should be about playing the ball, not the man, certainly not the man's family.

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jb pittard
Sep 18, 2015 10:22am

Hunt and Osborne both at same Oxford College. GO history tutor told me last year how dismally average he was as a student.(was at same college but arrived from state sector )

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Oct 16, 2015 9:23pm

And now he is in charge of a workforce of 1.4 million people. It seems his plan is to force as many as possible to quit or emigrate, and cause the rest to have a nervous breakdown


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