Not so forthright

November 15, 1996

Michael Forsyth, Secretary of State for Scotland, is building up a reputation for his caring, listening approach which only a cynic would attribute to the slimness of his 703-strong electoral majority.

But in Twenty Five Glorious Years, a booklet celebrating the National Union of Students Scotland's quarter-century, Pauline McNeill, Scottish president of the students' union from 1986 to 1988, remembers him rather differently.

She was leading a 3,000-strong student demonstration to the Scottish Office to lobby Mr Forsyth, then Scottish education minister, against student loans when she discovered to her dismay that he was not actually in the building.

Just as she was wondering what to do next, Mr Forsyth fortunately came round the corner - and refused to meet the union.

"The only other occasion on which I met with him as minister for education was when myself and a group of students stopped his car outside the Scottish parliament building,'' she recalls.

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