Although I reluctantly accept that we probably do need plumbers in this world, I didn't take kindly to a leaflet that arrived through my door this morning encouraging people to join the profession. The copy describes the career as being "lucrative" and continues: "Typical call out rates £60-90 per hour - power flushing at £400/day, the opportunities are endless."
The opportunities are indeed endless if you're prepared to unblock a granny's toilet and then tell her that she's got to cough up her life savings. But it's not something that decent human beings do. We all know it's only one step away from telling her there's a slate on her roof that needs fixing.
Further confirmation of earnings is provided on the back of the leaflet via snippets from national newspapers, dating from 2003 and 2004. In a Guardian article, one plumber claims to make £173,160, which he points out is more than the Prime Minister. Tradesmen making this kind of money out of other people's misery don't, of course, have the round-the-clock protection enjoyed by the Prime Minister, but I suspect they're just as liable to be assassinated.
The good news is that no formal qualification or experience is required to get on a training scheme and you can learn your skills through "unique 3D interactive virtual reality software". Yes, it's plumbing by distance learning.