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30 Years Ago

The TES Scotland Diary was ahead of its time in commenting on the prospects for the new leader of the then opposition Tory Party (February 14, 1975): Mrs Thatcher's elevation will please many people in education: it was mainly in her years at the DES (Department of Education and Science) that she showed her strength and her staying power, and it is high time that the leader of a party had a real command of educational issues.

Some women in education are remarkably tough: they could all take lessons from her . . . Mrs Thatcher coped coolly and courteously with all the education correspondents, male and female, partly by being completely on top of her subject, partly again by sheer toughness.

Might her election bring a noteworthy and desirable change on the Scottish educational scene? In one respect possibly yes, in that she would be unlikely to tolerate even a shadow minister who did not quickly know his way around his subject.

Also, when she was at the DES one often felt that someone with her kind of views would have gone down especially well in certain Labour circles in Scotland: there lingers still among many Labour devotees here a belief in the brisk, businesslike, utilitarian approach to learning.

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