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Following the script

It is all change at the Scottish Office, as we know, and we can only marvel at the ease with which the civil servants can change their tune. Professionalism, it's called.

There was a notable indication of the new mood when a press statement announced that "the bureaucratic nursery voucher scheme will be scrapped as soon as practicable". How time passes when one is enjoying oneself. The Scottish Office was assuring us only in February that "parents of 64,000 children in Scotland will be given real power of choice when education vouchers go live across Scotland".

We had a similar warm glow of amusement on reading that "Brian Wilson acts to make self-governing schools a thing of the past". Why, only last October a press herald was trumpeting the news that "Raymond Robertson announces new support for self-governing schools".

We trust that, in the light of last Friday's Higher Still announcement confirming a year's delay, the Scottish Office is now revisiting ancient verities such as that sent to West Lothian in February: "Any further delay would be a disservice to a further cohort of students."

Their masters' voice chimes wondrously.

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