Enter a Baker, stage far right;Jotter

20th August 1999 at 01:00
FROM Birnam Wood to Dunsinane and well beyond, our exclusive three weeks ago about Macbeth failing the test of Scottishness in the Higher Still curriculum spawned a fortnight of media follow-up and political intrigue.

Alas, the curriculum council's statement last week correcting misapprehensions about alleged bans on the play came too late for one distant observer. Lord Baker of Dorking, no less, sometimes known as Kenneth Baker, former Education Secretary in the Thatcher era, stirred the cauldron in a lead letter to the Times.

Arguing for an English parliament within the UK, Baker urged Tony Blair to keep an eye on the witches' brew from Scotland that allowed Macbeth to be dropped "on the ground that it was not relevant to Scottish experience".

Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble? Baker, responsible for the Education Reform Act in England, simply got his ingredients wrong. As one wag observed, the study of Hamlet is all very well but it told him absolutely nothing about Denmark.

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