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Secret recording released

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The transcript of a secret recording taken in John Swinney’s office has been leaked to the investigations team. Fergus McMaster, Emeritus Professor of Politics at Spitalfield University has authenticated the content saying that, “it is almost certainly without doubt, arguably, a probably genuine document, unless I am mistaken”. The meeting appears to have been between the Education Secretary and top civil servant, Roger Bland.


JS: So, what’s the next item on the agenda

RB: Just a minor matter. The closure of the New School, Butterstone

JS: What’s the problem?

RB: It’s just that staff and parents want to know why you issued an improvement notice which led to the closure of the school?

JS: Simple. It’s because there were serious child protection concerns

RB: Okay. That’s pretty easy. If you just let us know what this child protection concerns were, we can wrap this one up in an instant and go for an early lunch

JS: Errr. I’m not sure

RB: What do you mean?

JS: I mean I’m not sure what those concerns were or if there really were any

RB: But surely there must be some evidence that children were being harmed in some way or put at risk?

JS: Well… that is what the Care Inspectorate said

RB: Oh. You mean we have to rely on the Care Inspectorate? Jeepers! This could be more difficult than I thought.

So, do the Care Inspectorate have any evidence?

JS: No, I don’t think so

RB: Does anyone else have any evidence?

JS: Not that I’m aware of. But we got the Head of School suspended

RB: Had he done anything wrong?

JS: No, I don’t think so

RB: So, you suspended the Head and closed the school on the basis of no evidence whatsoever?

JS: It shouldn’t matter. Just say, “serious child protection concerns”, and everyone will back away.

RB: But were there any serious child protection concerns?

JS: I doubt it. The school seemed to be doing very well.

RB: Well, we can probably get around this so long as you have never endorsed the school for what it was doing for the children

JS: Ah.

RB: What you mean, “Ah”?

JS: Well, I did call the head recently and say that I have full confidence in him and the school, and that I thought it was a wonderful place and doing a great job with kids. And I also visited the school said the same thing to the Board of Governors

(long silence)

RB: That could make things difficult.

JS: I also said that I thought that local authorities and in particular Perth & Kinross Council were doing a pretty crap job making inclusion work.

RB: Oh dear. That could also make things tricky.

JS: Why?

RB: Well, you have just forced the school to close after stating that it was doing a superb job for all the children and young people who were being failed by the local authority

JS: I see what you mean. Can we not get around this by just making something up?

RB: We just tried that and it hasn’t worked. The parents are a lot brighter than the care inspectors and are smelling a very big rat.

JS: OK. We might have to do what we always do and blame someone else

RB: Theresa May? Westminster?

JS: No. Someone closer to home

RB: You mean the Care Inspectorate or Perth & Kinross Council?

JS: Yes ideally

RB: Right, so our angle now is to state that you had been misinformed by the Care Inspectorate and you didn’t know what the fuck you were doing?

JS: It might be the best way out of this

RB: Let me get this straight. You are saying as Education Secretary that you did not check the details or ensure that there were in fact serious child protection concerns before releasing all those statements to the press and to parents, or issuing an improvement notice that closed the school?

JS: Why not? We’re all human. There was a meme on Facebook today about “failure being one rung on the ladder to success”. It was really good. A bit like some of the stuff that Obama said, and…

RB: But this will mean that they can claim huge amount of compensation for your mistake

JS: Not my mistake, brother. Errors by the Care Inspectorate. No one believes what the Care Inspectorate says. They’re just social workers in suits

RB: But the school staff have got lawyers working on this right now. It could get a bit expensive.

JS: What do our guys say about it?

RB: Kevin in legal said that it was a bit of an Oscar.

JS: An Oscar?

RB: Oscar Pistorius. We haven’t got a leg to stand on

JS: I see.

RB: So, are we going to go with blaming the Care Inspectorate, because that could be difficult and would mean that one of your other ministers would have to take the blame for failure in her department?

JS: You are so naïve. That is what being in government is about.

RB: Could they not find someone low down to pin this on?

JS: I am sure that is the case. All the senior people will close ranks as per organisational policy.

RB: So, who is the fall guy?

JS: Well, there is this care inspector who has been described as not the sharpest tool in the box.

RB: That will be Sandra Jamieson then.

JS: You know her?

RB: Of course. She is pretty senior, and she is a marginally brighter than her colleague Alison Wright, but neither will ever trouble the Oxbridge entrance system.

JS: Cushy job being in the Care Inspectorate. You can just decide what you want to achieve and then make up the story to suit. No need for troublesome things like facts and evidence

RB: But we do the same, don’t we? Attainment figures, teacher numbers and so on.

Do you honestly think we can get away with this?

JS: Look, I’m busy with all this Brexit stuff and trying to organise an independence referendum and sort out all that shit with currency and EU membership that I screwed up last time, so I don’t have time for a poxy little school and just 24 families and their kids.

RB: But the school was in your constituency and just 15 minutes from your office, and some of these kids have nowhere to go

JS: That’s up to the local authority to sort out. Nothing to do with me

RB: You mean Cruella and the sociopaths at Perth & Kinross Council? Is that realistic. Will you not look stupid if we say that they can meet the needs of these kids when they clearly couldn’t before they went to Butterstone, and haven’t been able to since it closed?

JS: It’s up to them. They came up with this whole screwball idea. Why not put it back in their lap?

RB: But you issued the improvement notice which closed the school.

JS: That’s true. But I could plead diminished responsibility, couldn’t I?

RB: That’s not going to work if you are still planning to topple fish-face and become Supreme Leader of an independent Scotland

JS: Fair point. How are we going to get out of this?

(Long pause)

RB: I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we blame the governors and just state that it’s their fault and that they closed the school because they got a bit bored with the whole thing

JS: Brilliant! That will do the trick. No one will question us and our actions. We can palm it off as just a misunderstanding.

RB: Why not use the term “financial irregularities”? That will throw everyone off our scent.

JS: Good thinking, Baldrick. You are almost earning your salary

RB: But what are you going to do about the kids and the families who are clearly suffering badly, and the 51 staff who have lost their jobs and who have had their reputations unfairly damaged by the whole debacle.

JS: Not important. What’s the next item on the agenda?

Bill Colley