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Disloyal toast

The nation's most respectable union has been riven by a test of loyalty, we can exclusively reveal.

It emerged in the unlikely setting of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association conference dinner and it's all down to the idiosyncracies of union president Bill Fitzpatrick, who stunned delegates and guests by slipping in a loyal toast. Balmoral ain't that far from Aviemore, was one conclusion.

Even the top table shuffled nervously, pretending to tie shoelaces and mumbling tributes. Some steadfastly reused to rise, including Highland's SNP education convener, Andy Anderson, obviously torn by Queen and country.

Ronnie Smith, Educational Institute of Scotland general secretary - present but not at the top table - did, however, confess gratitude to Mrs Windsor's great, great grandmother, Queen Victoria, who gave the EIS its royal charter.

Fitzpatrick seemed mighty pleased at the stunt as a loyal Ayrshire man, Burns fanatic and Kilmarnock football fan. No prizes for guessing the Killie colours.

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