How many teachers does it take to cast a vote?

18th April 1997 at 01:00
For Crawford Langley, director of legal and corporate services in Aberdeen, read Yes Minister's Sir Humphrey Appleby.

Langley is doubling for a few weeks as deputy returning officer and was perfectly placed to handle a question from the awkward squad at last week's education committee.

Labour's Jim Lamond, in the interests of unemployed constituents who could well staff the polling stations for a few bob, enquired about the number of teachers likely to be employed. "There are not as many as previously," Langley replied during a lengthy discourse.

Lamond tried again. "But how many?" Sir Crawford Appleby was off again into the deepest recesses of the English language, finally confessing the numbers were "at the margins". Labour's Bob Middleton, a veteran cynic, chipped: "Do you know now, Jim?" Jim Wyness, education convener, bailed Sir Crawford out of the Byzantine wrangle: "It's round about so many. That's the best you're going to get."

One-nil to the deputy returning officer. The issue, however, was not finished. The Liberal Democrats' Pamela MacDonald rose to the teachers' defence in rural areas where their contribution was particularly welcomed on polling day.

"They are the only ones that can read and write," quipped another Labour voice.

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


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