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Betters buttere;Diary;News and opinion

LABOUR'S buttering up of city technology colleges and specialist schools - you'll recall David Blunkett's warm congratulations on their GCSE results a couple of weeks back - has finally been rewarded. Sort of.

Sir Cyril Taylor, CTC cheerleader-in-chief, has taken to describing himself as "an old former Tory and now a sort of neutral". Indeed, his gratitude towards Blunkett as he welcomed him as chair to the Technology Colleges Trust's annual conference dinner recently was fulsome.

"David," he gushed, "may I be so bold as to say that you are one of the greatest friends we have ... You took a very good Conservative policy and made it into a better Labour one."

Heady praise from a man who was knighted by Thatcher, deputy leader of the Tories on the GLC under Heath, and midwife to the whole CTC programme under Ken Baker.

The Education Secretary should know, however, that once he was safely back in his constituency, Cyril was reminding delegates that three-quarters of their sponsors were also Tory party donors.

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