Most commentators know that Brian Monteith has been busy over the summer endeavouring to get Iain Duncan Smith elected as leader of a now unelectable Tory Party. His article last week shows that what he has not been doing is following the educational debate.
The SNP has brought forward a range of new ideas for education, chief among which has been the reduction in class sizes in the early primary years.
We have been in the forefront for arguing for a system that teaches young people to think rather than merely to jump through hoops.
We have been promoting ideas on empowering the school community rather than merely buttressing government or local authority power and we have been proposing sustainable public and private investment in infrastructure rather than the increasing unsustainable dash for private finance schemes.
We have also been firm in drawing attention to the poor performance in education of the Labour and Liberal coalition.
The increasingly strident and extreme Scottish Tories - led de facto if not de jure by Mr Monteith - have, fortunately, no prospect of governing Scotland in the foreseeable future.
Those who are in serious contention for government have a duty to put forward a clear vision of what education can and should be in a better Scotland and that is what I have been doing in my first year in my present post and what I shall continue to do.
I suspect Mr Monteith doesn't like it because, frankly, it upstages the empty ideological posturing which is Tory education policy in Scotland today.
Michael Russell MSP
Shadow Minister for Children and Education