All change at the top

20th October 2000 at 01:00
IT was futile to hope that debate about who should succeed Donald Dewar would wait upon his funeral. The First Minister himself, well used to the ways of his party and the media, would not have expected such decorum. At least the provisions of the Scotland Act mean that a successor has to be chosen quickly. The protracted machinations built into Labour's own electoral procedures will surely mean little once the party's MSPs and its executive have made their choice this weekend.

Or perhaps that is to underestimate Labour's usual delight in making life difficult for itself.

Mr Dewar, a modest man, would have been more concerned by the much expressed view that there is no one of stature to take his place and that therefore the prospects of the Parliament are put in question. Of course, on the Labour benches only he had held a Brtish Cabinet post after nearly four decades of political experience. But the First Minister's post enhanced his prestige while also exposing his weakness in handling some of the Parliament's problems. His successor will grow into the job, just as Jim Wallace and David McLetchie have thrived in theirs and John Swinney will, too.

Whoever becomes First Minister the subsequent reshuffle will almost certainly mean changes in the education departments. Henry McLeish has handled the enterprise and lifelong learning portfolio with skill, not least in avoiding tarnish from the student fees row and the exams fiasco. He will either get the top job or move on. The time may have come, however, for Sam Galbraith, a friend of Mr Dewar's, to retire to the backbenches. In the junior ranks Peter Peacock has starred and is due promotion.


Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now