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Now that he is no longer interim, the Education Minister really has to do something to tackle the problem of consensual politics. It has gone too far this time, despite the best endeavours of Jack McConnell's shadowy opponents, Michael Russell and Brian Monteith, to rock the boat.

Now we learn that the entire parliamentary committee for education, sport and culture is taking itself off next month, on an interim basis, to the fine surroundings of New Lanark to indulge, we are sure, in contemplation and reflection, away from the rough and tumble of politics.

As if that was not enough cross-party fertilisation, there's to be a love-in with the ministers who will spend some time with the committee - to wit Jack McConnell, Nicol Stephen and, of course, Allan Wilson, sports and culture minister and "well-known member of the Ayrshire football fraternity" as he styles himself. Wilson will be telling the committee all he knows about culture and sport.

The proceedings will be presided over by Karen Gillon, the committee's chair, in whose Clydesdale constituency the brainstorming will be handily taking place.

Gillon's contributions could be the key to a successful outcome. She lists her interests as sport, music, flower arranging - and cookery.

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