Sunday, 14 September 2008

Much as it pains me ...

I was a wee bit amused by this bit in Iain Gray's "thanks for all the fish" speech:

While Alex Salmond was an official in the Scottish office, I was learning to be a teacher in a tough school
A tough school?

Iain's biography page on his campaign website says that he taught at Gracemount High. A tough school? Not really, it's actually a fairly decent school where decent people send their children. The people may not be well-off, but that doesn't make it a tough school. For Dundonians, think Craigiebarns, for Glaswegians and those who campaigned in the Glasgow East bye-election, think Barrachnie Road or Garrowhill Drive.

Perhaps, though, it's a tough school when you compare it to George Watson's College (current fees of £8,856 a year) where, I'm led to believe, Iain attended secondary school.

Nothing wrong with that, I hear you say, especially when that school is the alma mater of people like Iain's former cabinet colleague Colin Boyd as well as John Corrie, Malcolm Rifkind, Chris Smith and David Steel. Nothing wrong at all, so long as he's not ashamed of it.

Iain spent his early years in Edinburgh before his family moved to Inverness. He went to the Royal Academy straight from Primary 6 where he was awarded the school dux before returning to study Physics at Edinburgh University.
I don't think he's actually trying to claim that he won the school dux in Primary 6 - I think it's just poor sentence construction - but there's no reference there to a stint at a private school. Nor, indeed, was there any hint of it in his acceptance speech when he boasted about being born and about his tertiary education but missed out the bit in the middle:

I was born in the NHS labour created, a child of the health services first decade.
I was the first in my family to be able to go to a university, opened up to the likes of me by a Labour government.
For the avoidance of doubt, that preceding quote was Iain Gray's, it wasn't about me. I was born to loving parents, went to a local authority primary school and a local authority secondary school and wasn't the first in my family to be able to go to university.

I have sympathy for those, like Brian Taylor, who had to suffer the indignity of Dundee High School, but my education makes me no better nor worse than them, and I don't see the point in trying to persuade people any different by untruth or by omission.


McChatterer said...

It's a mystery.

Blair went to Fettes, Darling Loretto, and the 'Toffo Timpson' campaign in Crewe and Nantwich failed. Half the Conservative front bench are ex-Eton yet they are doing well in the polls. (Albeit artificially, as you can't vote SNP furth of Scotland.)

Punters don't seem to care about our public representative's school ties or social contacts - or lack of them. Just their conduct and integrity.

Anonymous said...

I take it that the school you went to was pretty tough? Bash Street, wasn't it?