Stately groans;Diary

28th May 1999 at 01:00
BLAIR did it, Harriet did it, even left-winger Jeremy Corbyn reluctantly did it. Austin Mitchell didn't do it and, boy, does his wife now regret it.

The Labour MP and his wife Linda McDougall actually sent their kids to their local comprehensive, in Austin's Grimsby constituency. The rest sent the little darlings to schools in much nicer places where the other children weren't quite so rough. (In Jeremy's case it was his ex-wife's idea. He wasn't happy.) Now, 14 years after her children left school, Linda is still smarting. She told a Sunday paper that instead of moving to Grimsby she wishes she'd settled somewhere "with a good comprehensive". Some of the schools score worse than Islington, she points out.

Grimsby teachers are naturally unhappy - especially after the Grimsby Evening Telegraph plastered her comments across the front page. Linda's advice: "Get on and stop worrying what I might think," adding "I was not having a go at them."

She says she's still "a believer in comprehensives" - but obviously only if she's got the right to buy a posh house in a nice area. Somehow Linda, love, we think you've missed the point...

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