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Jotter - Fayre price for patter?

The festive season is past but the stories are not. In one Inverclyde primary, the nativity rehearsals were under way. "Mary and Joseph were going to Bethle-hem to register and pay for their taxi . ".

Must have been reading a lot about MPs' expenses.

I'm a celebrity . get me up the food chain

This paper has previously flagged up the talents of Willie Allan, PE PT at Buck-haven High but also one of Scotland's top after-dinner speakers. Willie mixes in exalted company as a result - in cyberspace, at least.

You can find his details on the exclusive Gordon Poole agency website, alongside the CVs of hundreds of moonlighting celebrities, business gurus and has-beens. Willie's fee is listed as pound;1,000-pound;3,000, but that's at the lower end of the scale. He might be a bit upset at the credentials of some rivals higher up the after-dinner food chain.

Carol Thatcher, celebrity insect-eater and user of dubious racial terms, commands pound;3,000-pound;5,000, as do disgraced politicians Neil Hamilton and David Mellor, and Hamilton's wife, Christine. Most distressingly, Jim Davidson - essentially a slimmer Bernard Manning - is almost in the top bracket, raking in pound;15,000-pound;20,000.

CfE cover-up

A special school in Glasgow was recently broken into. Unusually, the burglars decided to cover the burglar alarms' infra-red sensor alarm with a "Building the Scottish Curriculum" poster. This is open to a number of interpretations and we wonder if their actions should be viewed through "skills for life" or "opportunities for personal achievement". They were clearly successful learners: the application of the poster would boost their confidence and assist them in their desire to be effective contributors to the project in hand. We're less sure about their responsibility as citizens.


Some years back, when New Labour was all the rage, we opened a book promising to track the number of times Blairite and not-so-Blairite ministers mentioned "partnership" in official speeches. We ran out of space.

Now, we feel it is time to keep a close eye on another trend - the frequent official references, whether by ministers and others or in publications and performances, to the mantra that "people are our most valuable resource". For people, read also young people.

We already have our first scalp. In his new year message promising Christmas school leavers more choices and more chances (now there's a thing), Schools Minister Keith Brown declared: "People are our most valuable resource."

Bring them on.

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