Jotter - Never did him no harm

22nd May 2009 at 01:00
It takes a good debate on school discipline to bring out the best in folk

Lothians SNP MSP Ian McKee displayed a commendable knowledge of thrashings at school (Fettes College in his case) when he spoke in the parliamentary debate on the subject recently.

He told members that a silk handkerchief tucked down the pants mitigated the effects of being attacked with a cane, and that "a magnificent extra- heavy-weight three-tailer" tawse could be bought for Pounds 250. Former GP McKee had, as he revealed, spent the previous night looking up details on the internet.

This prompted the Conservatives' Murdo Fraser to comment: "I am surely not the only member who is concerned that Dr McKee spends his evenings surfing the web checking the prices of various instruments of punishment."

Perhaps McKee's position on the Parliament's subordinate legislation committee has something to do with it.

Eton swan song

References to alma maters always get competitive juices going among politicians. McKee's reference in the self-same debate to the fondness for "hanging and flogging" among Tories of the Etonian and Fettesian variety stirred Tory deputy leader Murdo Fraser. "I should say that most Conservative members of the Scottish Parliament went, as I did, to comprehensives," he said. "We have no old Fettesians on our seats. Some might say this is a sad reflection on today's Conservative Party that we are down to our last old Etonian."

Surely not a reference to the dear leader - David, not Annabel.

No silence from the hams

Tommy Bradshaw, former head of Glasgow's St Thomas Aquinas Secondary, and stand-up at the Catholic heidies' annual shindig, hasn't lost his touch.

A cannibal's wife goes to the butcher's, he says in his after-dinner speech. Delicacies on display include missionary brains at 30p a pound and sailor brains at 40p a pound. But, she's taken aback at 90p a pound for HMIE brains. "Why so dear?" she enquires.

"You've no idea how many inspectors we had to kill to get a pound of their brains," replies the butcher.

When the chips are down

Alan Jones, star turn at secondary heads' conferences, tells us a bit about himself in their School Leader journal. Not for him the prosaic CV: "Following five years in the early 1970s teaching classics in the multiple deprivation of Hutchesons' Grammar, I moved to the Elysian Fields of Shettleston as principal teacher at Eastbank Academy, outpost of the classics and home of chips and curry sauce. After 33 years, I consider I have excellent east end credentials. Since August 2007, I have been acting head in Eastbank while Jim Dalziel is on secondment to the authority. (Jim occasionally rings me. I never knew you could reverse charges on a mobile)."

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today