LOCAL authorities can breathe a sigh of relief: James Tooley is out of the country.
But what's good for councillors in England could be bad for the Third World. The arch-privatiser, who believes the state has almost no place in education, has joined that church of global capitalism, the World Bank, to spread the creed among developing nations.
(Incidentally, Tooley alarmingly told a Local Government Association seminar on privatisation last week that "Graham Lane and I agree on almost everything". Not sure Lane welcomed the endorsement, however New Labour he has become.)
Professor Tooley, ho keeps his day job at Newcastle University, becomes a consultant for the International Finance Corporation, the private finance arm of the World Bank, a body heavily-criticised for linking loans to the pursuit of capitalist market policies. James should feel at home.
The work could see him out of the UK for up to three weeks a month until the summer, investigating the strength of the private sector in China, Botswana, Vietnam, Lebanon, the Ivory Coast and elsewhere. He's currently in Washington DC and plans to fly off to India next week. He reassures the Diary that he has had his jabs.