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Unhitch that Stagecoach

THE FUTURE of Section 28 is not worth the controversy it has aroused, or even pennies from Brian Souter's millions. The Executive saw an opportunity to tidy up in Scotland an anomaly created in the Conservative years and not near the top of Tony Blair's priorities for reform. The offending (or inhibiting) section originated in Margaret Thatcher's campaign against London's loony left. It has led to no prosecutions. But interpreted by cautious teachers, it might embrace a ban on discussion of homosexuality as well as its promotion. The Communities Minister saw it as discriminatory in terms of social inclusion.

She reckoned without the churches, the Scottish School Board Association and Mr outer's decision to bankroll a populist campaign as if his Stagecoach was on a Wild West trail among cow-punchers and Bible-bashers. No wonder classroom teachers are bewildered. Promoting homosexuality would never be their concern whatever the law.

When a campaign owes more to emotion than reason, it is hard to control. The SSBA is in danger of seeing its concerns, never founded in reality, being overtaken by campaigners with a different agenda. The target for evangelical groups is society itself, mired in deviance and depravity.

In talking to and counselling teenagers, teachers do not need a sensitive subject to become politicised, or grown-ups to be seen behaving badly.

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