Where's the top?

18th September 1998 at 01:00
THE FEVERED speculation about the future prospects of The Man Who Inspects Schools For The Queen - can he really be getting a million quid over the next five years? - has reminded the Diary of a classic tale.

Back in the days when Tories ruled the land, local government supremo Graham Lane led a deputation to the education offices at Sanctuary Buildings to discuss business with education secretary Gillian Shephard and her sidekick Robin Squires.

The meeting was going so well that Mr Lane tried a particularly tricky question: "Who is Chris Woodhead responsible to?" A beaming Mr S replied: "That's a very good question," whilst Mrs Shephard added that her powers allowed her to ask him to inspect things on her behalf.

Feeling somewhat encouraged by this answer, Mr Lane persisted. Was it John Major? Was it Parliament? Was it the Queen? The grins on the other side of the table grew broader.

Eventually the Secretary of State brought the subject to a close in her most inimitable style.

"If you find out, Mr Lane," she purred, " Please do let us know."

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