Slip of hindsight;Diary

5th March 1999 at 00:00
NEWS of a possibly unfortunate precedent being set by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers in their keenly-fought battle for general secretary.

This is the election which you'll recall got off to a rocky start when challenger Gill Sage suggested incumbent Peter Smith "liked a drink" and took an over-relaxed view to lunch. (He now, allegedly, takes a stopwatch to meals.) In a new twist, Gill demonstrates uncanny prescience by claiming in the biographical details sent out to voters that she taught GNVQs at Croydon College from 1982 to 1985 - a full seven years before the qualification was invented.

At least one member of the ATL rank-and-file has queried this baffling claim - presumably an error on Gill's part - only to be told by deputy gen sec Gerald Imison: "We are not permitted to make any changes to the information she gave, nor can we use any errors in that information as a reason for disqualifying her."

In other words, election candidates can claim what they like. Surely, as Harry Enfield might say, they didn't want to say that?

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