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Slings at the ready

Military analogies came immediately to mind following the Government's latest "new deal" - meaning, of course, the Higher Still settlement (sorry, truce).

It was a condition of Educational Institute of Scotland involvement in the national liaison group that the union must not pursue its boycott. But, as one observer noted, in the new climate "the minister does not now expect any handing in of weapons". So there will, to coin a phrase, be no decommissioning before the talks begin.

These peace talks will have to be even more clear-cut than their Irish equivalent, given the recipe for confusion caused by the presence of four Davids on the liaison group - Eaglesham of the secondary teachers, Henderson of the local authorities, Hutchison of the school board association and Stewart of the Scottish Office.

This is, naturally, typical of such a small and consensual country as Scotland. Plenty of Davids and nae Goliath.

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