Jack springs back in the box

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ONLY the most curmudgeonly would have denied Jack McConnell his moment of sheer relief at the outcome of this year's exam results.

There was some light relief, too, we hear, at the ministerial early warning group meeting on the day before the results were declared. Deputy Education Minister Nicol Stephen, who chairs the group, went round the table asking for introductions.

John Ward, chairman of the Scottish Qualifications Authority, introduced himself as "interim chair" of the SQA. Bill Morton introduced himself as "interim chief executive". McConnell commented: "If everything doesn't go well tomorrow, I'll be the interim minister."

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