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Galbraith packs uphis political scalpel

Sam Galbraith's decision to resign as Environment Minister, MP and MSP on health grounds brings to an end a colourful career, Neil Munro writes. It reached its nadir when as Education Minister he had to preside over the exams crisis and it is for this that he is likely to have the misfortune of being remembered.

The 55-year-old former neurosurgeon also had to weather storms over Section 28 and the abolition of statutory pay bargaining for teachers. But his decision to set up an independent inquiry may be seen in etrospect as a master stroke that paved the way for a settlement that has rebounded to the political credit of Jack McConnell, his successor.

Mr Galbraith was also in charge during the far-reaching Standards in Scotland's Schools Etc Act, although detailed committee work was left to Peter Peacock, his deputy.

The former minister had an abrasive and curmudgeonly style and, in his relations with teachers, never quite managed to shake off the consultant's traditional bedside manner of "I know best".

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