Diary - Nightmare on West Street

5th March 2010 at 00:00

My speech on the Scottish Curriculum Express had obviously gone down well. I had apparently offended the Scottish Government, HMIE and Cosla in one fell swoop.

Still no phone call from Graham Donaldson. The only friends I have left in education are a few of my ADES colleagues, the nice man from The TESS, the canteen ladies and Judith Gillespie.

I hated this. All I wanted to do now was get on with my job, or whatever was left of it. We are in difficult times. Budget meeting number 43. Sweeney Todd in the chair. Slash, cut, and hack. If it moves, cut it. If it doesn't, cut it until it does.

The council has gone mad. The Lords of Misrule are laying waste to the entire service, despite the best professional advice. They sit under the guillotine knitting the names of the schools earmarked for closure. Don't interrupt me with facts, Mrs McElroy, I'm making a decision.

What about winter shutdowns? - great idea, councillor. Summer schools for all? - no heating necessary. Exam timetables, councillor? - didn't think of that one. School closures? - no, what about new schools for old, the Aladdin alternative to the Scottish Futures Trust. Scrap the directorate? - sorry, we already have, councillor. Raise the school entry age? - worth a thought, councillor. Scrap community education? - there isn't any left to scrap, councillor. Close libraries, swimming pools and leisure centres? - they're already "moth-balled", councillor.

The councillors are struggling to come up with more millions to cut. Sven blames the Scottish Government, which blames the Westminster Government, which blames the European Union, which blames Global Warning, which is all Simon Cowell's fault.

The budget meeting went on for hours and hours and hours. Many lost the will to live. Others were asleep. The younger ones, ie, those under 75, had their iPods on. Or maybe they were listening to simultaneous translations of the speeches?

Let's freeze all senior salaries over pound;18,000 per year. Let's increase class sizes in P1; never did us any harm to have 60 in the class. Anyone want to buy some isolated sand dunes and turn them into a golf development? - that's been done. Let's use candles in the council headquarters. Let's have sandwiches in the councillors' lounge. Let's scrap the convener's limo. No, let's scrap the convener.

Steady now. Someone might mention "allowances" or "responsibility payments". Quiet!

The poor souls were lost. The concordat was cracking. The new council motto should be "It Wisnae Me!"(in Latin of course). Eventually, the meeting adjourned at 11.47pm. Only pound;23.75m left to find tomorrow. That shouldn't be too difficult, should it?

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