Cearr, cearr, cearr;Jotter

5th June 1998 at 01:00
Meanwhile Charles Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat MP, spotted a horrendous admission by the Education Minister. "I was wrong," Brian Wilson told the Grand Committee, recalling his past opposition to student loans, which had not, as he feared, put off low-income students.

Reminded by Kennedy of his other portfolio, the Minister for Gaelic repeated for good measure: "Bha mi cearr." Happily, the Minister for Education, Education, Education did not have to repeat himself thrice - in any language.

This gentle badinage, alas, did not mark his exchanges with the SNP. The minister hurled "hot air" and "humbug" (together with its close relation "total humbug") across the chamber. The Nats fell back on, to adapt a phrase, "betrayal, betrayal, betrayal".

The best insult the Lib Dems could muster came from Donald Gorrie, their spokesman on Scottish education, who called Wilson's presentation of student debt figures "a wee bit sneaky".

"That is a serious allegation," Wilson replied gravely.

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