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Batho-logical anxiety

There's nothing like a little confessional to benefit the soul. This is especially true when the weighty topic of work-based learning is the issue in question.

It was therefore especially cheering, at a conference on this very subject last week, to hear from Mark Batho, the lifelong learning chief at the Scottish Executive Enterprise, Lifelong Learning and Transport Department (SEELLTD, or maybe SEETLLD or SELLETD - not to worry). He revealed his aversion to anything technical, hence the absence of a PowerPoint presentation. A clear candidate for some high-level on-the-job training.

Anton Colella, the head honcho at the Scottish Qualifications Authority, also gave PowerPoint a body swerve - but on the rather different grounds that people did not pay attention to what he was saying if they were distracted by the technology being used. A perennial SQA problem.

Batho's confession did not seem to have any repercussions, as it turned out - indeed, the reverse. One member of the audience, with the splendid moniker of Elda Nikolou-Walker, from Queen's University Belfast, paid tribute to him as "the first senior civil servant I've heard who didn't treat us to platitudes".

So that's his career over.

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