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SNP blues

The recent parliamentary debate on education initiated by the Tories provided the usual occasion for MSPs to promote their educational credentials - but it backfired slightly on at least one of their number.

Delivering the usual attempt to embarrass the Tories, the SNP's Stewart Stevenson noted that the party boasted three Etonians, two who went to George Watson's in Edinburgh and one from Millfield. "I do not think that a single Tory MSP went to a school other than a selective one," he triumphed.

Alas Stevenson's research was not up to the mark and he reckoned without Tory working-class hero, Brian Monteith, a product of Portobello High in Edinburgh, as fine an alternative to a fee-paying school as you could imagine.

Stevenson then spotted Monteith's junior Murdo Fraser rising to his feet and thought he would head him off at the pass. Fraser went to Inverness Royal Academy, "a selective school," Stevenson said mysteriously - and was then forced to admit his wife went there also.

As for Stevenson himself, the proudest boast that he could muster was that he attended "one of the largest schools in Scotland". Why couldn't he simply have announced "Bell Baxter High" and be done with it?

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